Now, you're not walking to a counter at The Spice House, but rather, browsing through the store, and it is a delight for the senses. (It's still a bit old fashioned—someone else does do the scooping for you.) Buying from bulk, which is not to be confused with buying in bulk, makes sense. It may not seem like much to cut out the little glass jar that holds your spices, but think about the global impact of millions of small, relatively heavy glass jars used to transport minuscule amounts of spice. Or look in your kitchen cabinet and multiply that many spice jars by how many households there are in the US, and then imagine driving them all around. It's a small improvement, and not one that will save the world on its own, true, but it comes with other benefits.
Shopping for food this way—think peaches from the Farmer's Market instead of the plastic-encased four-pack at Trader Joe's—makes the shopping trip a much richer experience for all the senses, rather than the purely visual bombardment of a modern grocery store.
The Spice House has locations in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Berkeley a similar store, though not as pleasant of a shopping experience, is the Country Cheese Coffee Market. Is there a similar store in your neck of the woods? Let us know below.