Scarcity versus Abundance

One cool thing I learned from disability activism (and my friend Jesse the K) is the idea of scarcity vs. abundance. This concept is yet another one that helps me make sense of my daily life.

For instance, when I go to get groceries I often bring my own bags. The store gives 5 cents credit for each bag and it’s better for the planet; the bags are easier to carry than store bags; they are neat ones that my mom makes; etc. The problem is, the cashiers seem to shift from an abundance mentality (limitless plastic bags) to a scarcity mentality (only 3 bags that I brought). And even though I say to them, use plastic for whatever doesn’t fit, they seem to take pride in saying, “Oh, I think I can make it all fit into your bags!” So then they load up my tote bags and make them super heavy and difficult to carry. I haven’t yet figured out a solution to this, except bringing a huge amount of bags with my every time (even though I’m not sure how much I will buy), or teaching/training the baggers little by little not to over load my bags. This store is not designed in a way that would let me bag the groceries myself. I’m sure I look able bodied to them, like someone who would have no trouble lifting really heavy bags.

In terms of disability, abundance does us much better than scarcity: let’s believe that there can be enough elevators, enough pain medication, enough time to get where we need to go (and to rest), enough access to medical care, enough support from our friends and loved ones. More than enough.

I believe in abundance.