This is a rant about health food shops

I'm a bit sick of health food shops at present. Recently I have had a spate of salespeople seemingly on a mission to put me off them for life. 

Exhibit A

I had some dry skin on my hand. By dry, I mean it was flaking away, rather painful, itching, red, had split open and was bleeding. But I don't like to be dramatic.

I went to the health shop, as you do, to look for a natural handwash, in case that was exacerbating the issue (I wash my hands a lot). I also thought it would be a good idea to try to heal the bleeding, painful digit.

After looking at my finger, the health shop lady 'diagnosed' eczema and suggested cutting out sugar and buying a cream by a company called Moo Goo. I thought eczema unlikely (and highly doubted the ability of a sugar-free diet to eradicate a condition that plagues millions) but the cream she suggested purported to cure me of almost all ills; I bought it, along with a foamy, natural-looking handwash.

(Incidentally, I pointed out a pawpaw ointment that is very popular for skin healing; the lady said she didn't know why they sold that stuff and was passionately, almost violently, opposed to it, without explaining her reasoning.)

Exhibit B

I wanted a shampoo with fewer chemicals, fewer synthetic ingredients etc, you know, just in case it was contributing to the dry skin problem (which the cream did not solve at all; it fact, it got worse and my scalp was now affected too). This lady (same shop as had advised putting the cream on it) said I shouldn't be putting anything on the cut, oh, except for this very natural oil she recommended.

And for my scalp? More Moo Goo stuff: the same brand that had let me down on the finger. I said I'd rather not go with that brand again as it didn't help me and she went off on a rant about having to try different things and maybe it wasn't eczema (her colleague seemed pretty sure) and blah blah blah. I bought the dumb scalp cream (it kind of worked, by the way) and left the shampoo (too expensive for something I didn't believe in).

Exhibit C (yes, yes, I'm always in these bloody health shops; in my defence, I have been going as my normal stuff has run out to replace it with more earth-friendly, skin-friendly alternatives - I'm not just crazily running into health shops every day for stuff)

I can't remember what I was even doing in this shop, but the subject of my finger came up again (I don't talk about it all the time - perhaps I was looking for another solution). Anyway, this time the woman (different shop) said that it looked like HEAT and asked if I eat gluten! Of course I do: I am not gluten-intolerant and do not cut out food groups willy-nilly. So I said yes, and she said gluten has a lot of heat in it and that is probably why my skin has reacted this way. I mentioned that it all cleared up when I was in the UK last year and only came back when I returned, but she wasn't interested in that and preferred her gluten theory.

Exhibit D

Running low on buckinis (organic, activated buckwheat that I add to my breakfast), I popped into a (third, different) health shop to restock. They didn't have them in, but I was told they would be coming in soon and I could put my name down for a pack. I agreed to this and ended up with my number in their 'order book' and a promise to let me know when they arrived.

No buckinis on day 1, day 3, day 5... It's all very well supporting local businesses, but this is no advert for them. I was at another health food place (a fourth! Can you believe how many health food shops surround me?) and the buckinis I wanted were right in front of me (and 5c cheaper). But I felt obliged to wait for my 'order' and the original shop was closer so more local so I should support it....the buckinis went back on the shelf. Sigh.


I finally get a call, saying that the bloody buckinis are in stock. Could I not have been told about the likely wait time before signing my name in organic blood across the order book? They are lucky I am so bloody committed to local businesses!

So there you go: conflicting advice within the same shop, lack of belief in stocked lines, arguing with customer (me) over effectiveness (or otherwise) of products, taking weeks to restock the most basic of health foods...need I go on?

I will.

I think if the skincare witches (possibly a little harsh) really believed what they were saying, they'd have told me to try their diet suggestions first to see if it made a difference before spending money on treatments. Instead, they pushed what I assume to be their own lifestyle choices along with a handful of products, leading me to have zero faith in either solution. Which is a shame, as I do believe in prevention over cure and would like to resolve the underlying problem rather than merely treating the symptoms. But I'm starting to think it's all a load of crap :(

PS For anyone interested, I ended up going old-school and putting a plaster on my cut. It helped, although when I spoke to health store lady #186 she said, aghast, "You covered it?". Apparently Band-Aids are the new gluten.