Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thank God I Work At Whole Foods

I just spent a little over an hour at Sam's Club, because I figure cheap tires is better than bald tires.

So, whilst rubber was being exchanged for rubber, I had an hour to wait around. So I walked around.

Some observations....
1) Sam's Club employees and managers seem to have a problem with someone walking around their store for an hour, without a cart, not buying anything. No one accosted me, but I got looks, as if no one had ever seen such a sight before.

2) Virginia was recently named one of the most overweight states in the Country. Now I see why. I swear, I saw numerous carts FULL of nothing but soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors.
3) Having twelve TVs pointed out you, with high tech sound systems included, all with the soothing voice of a woman in perfect synchronization, is downright Orwellian.

4) Being able to sell a thick, footlong hotdog AND a 32 oz. drink for $1.50 and still making a profit is downright frightening. Eating said products probably took about two weeks off of my life.

5) Conveniently located spill cleanup stations are a good thing, but does one have to be located DIRECTLY over a table in the cafe area, complete with used brush and clearly dirty dust pan? These kits are supposed to be used for everything from broken 40lb. bags of popcorn, to broken glass to hazardous materials. All two feet from my food. There goes another week.

6) The only other person I knew there that I saw looked clearly out of place, probably just as much as I did. Maybe I should get to know more people.

7) The people giving a way samples could show some enthusiasm, but, to be fair, they must have a soul-crushing job.

8) The ground beef looked less like cow and more like road kill.

9) I witnessed some new employees going through orientation, with a HUGE emphasis on eye wash stations. What exactly do they do there?

10) Despite my general disdain for the place, I'll be back on payday for a case of Sam Adams. Cranberry Lambic.... Mmmmmm!

I was looking for a citation for Virginia being among the most overweight. I think it actually IS the most overweight.

But in looking, I saw a definite correlation. Poverty and obesity. Mississippi, West Virginia and Michigan are all among the highest. These states are characterized by low standards of living and wholesale unemployment. Bottom line is, a lot of people in these states have no money.

So, there's the appeal of Sam's Club. Yes, it's cheap. You can feed your family of four, or six, or ten, for MUCH cheaper than you could at Whole Foods, Harris Teeter or even Food Lion. But there's the rub. The food is cheap. It's industrial food, made on an industrial scale with low quality ingredients and lots of chemicals. At best, its devoid of nutritional value, and has to be pumped full of supplemental nutrients, all synthetic of course. At worst, it's unhealthy. And not just in the trans fat, high calorie, heart disease and diabetes inducing way of being unhealthy. The food itself is literally unhealthy. Just look at most of our beef supply, which is pumped full of antibiotics because the cows are being forced to eat food their bodies aren't supposed to ingest. (In the human world, we usually refer to that as poison).

The scientists and institutions who study this kind of thing have found an unsurprising phenomenon. People with higher incomes, who don't HAVE to buy cheap, tend to be overweight less frequently.

We like to think we live freely. That's what our country is all about, right? But look at where we shop, especially if we're poor. Our choices tend be be beef vs. chicken for dinner, apples or oranges, Crispix or Corn Flakes. But those aren't really choices. All those foods are from the same chemically laced system. And because people are poor, they have no choice in the way they eat.

Up until recently, we thought we lived in a free country. The suspension of habeus corpus and warrantless wiretapping shattered that delusion, but it was a delusion. Even before then, we've only had as much choice as was made available to us. And for decades now, it has been a few companies, a few industries, who have been providing nothing but bad choices, all with complicity of the USDA.

God Bless America.


Anonymous peg said...

Good summation of the problem with the cheap food actually being cheap. Don't you think that there are still so many people who don't really know or realize how bad the food really is?

10/19/2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger Vivian J. Paige said...

Good post. I hope others read it and understand why poor people have so many health problems, many of which are connected to poor diet.

10/19/2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger Fletcher Reede said...

Actually, we're rocking the median.

10/19/2006 10:20 PM  
Blogger Dan Kachur said...

Thanks for the link.

What I heard was on NPR a couple of days... apparently 2/3 of Virginians are "overweight." Not necessarily obese, as your link indicates.

But good info nonetheless.

10/19/2006 10:23 PM  
Blogger StLmom said...

Poor people --> cheap food --> unhealthy diets with oversized portions --> health problems --> rising healthcare costs --> more poor people.

Truly, I saw more truly obese people in big, fat, Missouri than I have here. There's less aversion to exercise in Virginia and more people who are at least concious of what a healthy diet entails. Thanks for a great thought provoking post. See you at WH when I'm feeling full pocketed and hungry.

10/23/2006 8:39 PM  
Blogger David said...

I enjoyed reading this, searched "I work at Whole Foods" on Google to see what Whole Foods employees think of their stores.
I work at Chipotle and proudly serve non-factory food as well. :D

1/04/2009 1:34 AM  

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