52 CAN DOs Tip Week #8: Ask And You Shall Receive

52 CAN DOs Tip Week #8: Ask And You Shall Receive

don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own

Michelle Obama

It is important not to underestimate the power of a request. I experienced this first hand with my local supermarket. I was frustrated when I first moved to a small community in the Bronx, it appeared a local supermarket did not carry many of the healthier versions of products I could find at specialty markets in other local neighborhoods downtown. Over a year or so of polite, but persistent requests to the supermarket manager –whom by the way, was very supportive; a gradual shift occurred, with the market carrying items that I never thought in a million years they would ever offer!

Now, my average local supermarket is not so average; carrying a fairly large selection of products one might expect would be available at a health food store or large chain supermarket specializing in organic and whole foods. At my supermarket you will find organic produce, meat, eggs, a wide variety of gluten free products; a very large selection of non-dairy and organic dairy products and even specialty items like kimchi (traditional Korean fermented cabbage) that goes quite well with rice, pasta or meat and like sauerkraut or pickles, considered excellent for digestion.

True story, the store manager at the time communicated to me that if there was any particular product that I was looking for that the store did not carry, to take a photo of the product and price at another store where it’s offered; he’d do his best to order it or at least make the request. He was true to his word. Here’s a tip: ask a couple of your friends and family to do the same especially if they frequent the same market.

A good supermarket manager that respects his or her customers will take action – especially if you are pleasant and unfailingly persistent in your request. If the thought of initiating this action gives you the heebie jeebies, keep in mind, James 4:2, “We have not, because we ask not”.  My attitude is; supermarkets, grocery stores and restaurants exist to serve the community as well as to make a profit. I firmly believe that serving the community is the ultimate generator of profit for the long term and not the other way around.

I recommend my friends, family and fitness clients to shop at grocery stores/markets that offer healthier varieties of foods; I’ve conducted community grocery shopping tours to assist individuals and groups to shop healthy and deliciously on a budget –special thanks to the support of Foodtown (Foodtown of Parkchester) and Pioneer supermarket in Harlem, located on Lenox Avenue and West 129th Street (sponsored by Emblem Health Neighborhood Care).

This coming New Year, let’s resolve to never underestimate the power of a request to move mountains. If they ask “Why?” you ask “Why not? If they say “No!” you just say, “Not yet, but soon.”


Monifa Maat is a certified fitness expert, nutrition activist and author of Bed Aerobics Fitness Flow™. Her mission is to inspire people to adopt simple, sustainable healthy habits that reduce chronic lifestyle diseases associated with obesity, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.