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When Harry Met Salad: Afrocity Encounters The Organic Police April 27, 2010

The flowering of the organic produce culture during the 1990’s never quite spread to my stomach or the dwindling funds available in my pocket book.  I have nothing against organic produce.  I just do not buy it on the regular basis.

I have great respect for our society’s heightened awareness concerning the dangers of pesticides and other toxins used in the farming industry. However, I don’t lose any sleep over eating a “conventional” non-organic anjou pear.

Do I care about my diet?

Am I concerned with what goes into my body?  Yes, of course I am. Truthfully,  I am more worried about my salt intake and sugary food consumption than I am about the pesticide levels in my ginger beer.

For the purposes of full disclosure, recently I have not been happy with my choice of diet.  I eat a lot of Kettle Brand Sea Salt and Vinegar potato chips.  Burgers and fries make my menu when I can’t afford the time to make a real meal. Pizza on Friday nights. Ice cream, cake, lots of carbs. I work and I get too lazy to cook. The microwave is my saving grace when I pop in a Stoufer’s Swedish Meatball frozen meal.

I should eat healthier meals, get more grains and fiber in my diet -drink more water.  There are times when I actually do decide to work on my eating habits.   This past Sunday was one of those times.

I had just made a stop to my local Blockbuster Video and rented Crazy Heart and The Lovely Bones.   The Whole Foods store was a hop skip and a jump around the corner from Blockbusters. I thought I would pick up something good for my body.  Yesm the Kettle chips were there but I would also get salad fixings, some fiber filled smoothie juices, maybe some smoked salmon.

Brevity marks my strategy to sane, calm, uneventful visits to Whole Foods Market.  Let’s face it.  Whole Foods is a liberal’s haven. Hemp muffins, organic cat food, Obama sweat pants, white guys with dreds…Peace, love and liberalism. Afrocity gets a rash when she is in the place for too long.  I hit the automatic door, breeze past the floral section, make a bee line for the Naked juice section.

Round the corner past the seafood counter and stock boy who smells like cumin and gluten free cookies, pick up a can of Wellness cat food just in case I am too busy to make it to my regular pet store.

As I near the counter, I grab an evil salt and grease bag of Kettle sea salt chips.  Then presto, I am out of there like a happy tea partier.

That is usually how it works. ..How it was supposed to work until Sunday April 25th. This one particular cold rainy Chicago day was full of monkey wrenches. My visit to Whole Foods was one of them.

Everything was proceeding as planned.  I got my Naked Juice it was on sale for $4.99.   I decided that I needed more fiber. Salads are fun and I could throw in some avocados. Hmmm think I will get some pre-packaged salad and this is where things went terribly wrong for me.

AFROCITY: [Stands looking at refrigerated salad selections.  Organic choices, arugula (ugh), Boston Lettuce. Notes that the same bag of Fresh Express pre-cut salad is a whole dollar cheaper at other Chicago markets.  Does not really want to pay $3.99 for a bag of salad…Maybe wants spinach but would like something with crunch like iceberg.  Sees a bag that costs $2.49 on high shelf .  Notices a Whole Foods employee with long dreds wearing a do-rag,  stocking bags of salad. Decides to ask him help her get bag of iceberg lettuce  salad because she is too short and his cart of boxes is in her way]  Excuse, me could you reach that for me? [Points to bag of salad]

PRODUCE GUY:   Sure. [He reaches for bag of salad, hands to Afrocity]

AFROCITY:   Thank you. [Takes bag of salad.  Notices that it is smaller than it appeared on the shelf.  Sees that it is organic and realizes why it was $2.49 for a smaller portion.   Stands there holding bag of organic salad. Feels like it is not a good bargain.  Could use some spinach anyway.  Hmmmmm…Sigh…Well Fresh Express is $3.99 but it is a bigger bag and has more varieties like 50/50 (half iceberg/half spinach)…Okay will go with the Fresh Express…Now what to do with this bag of salad that I won’t buy.  Leave it here on top of the bananas?  Will just ask nice produce guy to put salad back]

Can you put this back for me? I have decided that I do not want it. [hands bag of salad back to produce man]

PRODUCE GUY: [looking puzzled takes bag of salad and places it back on shelf]

AFROCITY: [Turns and grabs bag of Fresh Express 50/50 drops in basket turns to leave]

PRODUCE GUY: Oh, no. Wrong move. You put back the organic.

AFROCITY: [startled] Excuse me?

PRODUCE GUY:   You just traded that bag of organic salad for a bag that is filled with toxins

AFROCITY:   …um…yes I know [and don’t care] I know.

PRODUCE GUY: Organic is better for your body that was a wrong move.

AFROCITY: [shugs shoulders]

Yeah, yeah [tries to walk away, realizes that produce guy has come to stand in front of her]

PRODUCE GUY:  [looking manic while pointing to bag of salad in Afrocity’s basket]  Do you know what they do to that salad…They wash it with chemicals-

AFROCITY [irritated] I KNOW okay. [brushes by produce guy]

PRODUCE GUY: That goes into your body and builds up over time-

AFROCITY:   [pissed off and feeling judged] Look, I am an adult. I do not drink or smoke. I have never taken drugs in my entire life if I want to eat-

PRODUCE GUY:   No! That does not matter. It is not about not smoking or drinking. The toxins build up in your body from eating inorganic and your not smoking is not doing you any good if you continue to poison your system with non-organic products-

AFROCITY:   [abruptly walks away knowing this guy obviously has control issues and is some sort of organic junkie freak-a-zoid. rolls eyes. Disperse immediately. Moonbat alert ]

Immediately after this rude encounter, there was little I could do to contain my disgust.   I stomped to the snack aisle and grabbed my Kettle chips, slammed them into my basket. Checked out in a huff.  How dare he lecture me? It is really not any of his business what I put into my body.  I bet he is a liberal and I bet he is pro-choice. How would he feel if a pro-lifer was outside of Planned Parenthood telling women “Don’t go in there. Do you know what that will do to your body?”

If I want to eat conventional, non-organic ginger root that is my damn business and I do not need employees of grocery stores looking down their noses at me. I mean WTF is happening to this country?   The entire exchange reminded me of the Sylvester Stalone movie Demolition Man (1993).  Stalone  plays a policeman that is cryogenically frozen in the year 1996 and reawakens to face crime and a new world in the year 2032.   One of my favorite scenes in the movie involves Stalone and Sandra Bullock who is his partner.   In this YouTube clip at about 4:46, Stalone is at a dinner and wants salt on his meal. Bullock explains to him that salt is not illegal.

In 1993 when I first saw this movie, I really did not believe that our society would ever come to this.  Now I am no longer so certain.  We have sin tax on everything from bottled water to candy bars. You get taxed for tanning.  New York wants to ban salt.  Whole Foods baggers look at you like you are Hitler’s hairstylist if you request a paper bag. Of course you are a total ugly wasteful American if you do not bring your own bags to the grocery store.  So what now?  You can’t pick up a harmless bag of conventional salad without a pap smear invasive lecture from some produce guy?

Liberals are all about choice when it comes to abortion but what about everything else? They tell us that we should not have guns.  We should not be allowed to pray in school, unless you are of course Middle Eastern or some other non-American then it is kewl to let you openly observe your religion.  You can’t be a Tea Partier without being a racist.  You must get government health care. You must pay taxes.

Where has the choice gone? To the dogs? Or should I say jackasses?

Compromised organic lifehood was my judgment.  Guilty as charged. Velcro some scarlet letter on my chest.  But I am Afrocity and Afrocity does not go down without a fight.  This morning I called Whole Foods and asked to speak with a manager. I explained the incident to her and she was quite thoughtful. She agreed that the produce man’s behavior was inappropriate.  I further pressed the issue by saying if Whole Foods feels that conventional produce is bad for its customers then they should not be selling it. The manager agreed and felt it was wrong for the employee to “bad mouth” a product that was sold in its store. She fully understood my humiliation and apologized.

I appreciated her response and felt satisfied with the outcome of my complaint.

The moral of this true incident is simple.  It is not the place of anyone to decide what we should and should not consume, especially the Federal Government.  Regulation of drugs, tobacco, and pesticides is one thing but when the government begins to micromanage our food choices, America loses that freedom and liberty luster that makes it shine. If I want salt on my chocolate cake and my blood pressure is as high as a kite that is my business.  Food, like sexual partners, is a lifestyle choice. Some eat healthier than others.  Some women like other women. It is your business what you do with your life as long as you are not hurting other people.  We do not need whistler blowers coming up with a blacklist of people who eat non-organic produce anymore than we need a list of women considering abortions.

Now let There Be Peas and Choice on Earth!!!

Autographed Letter Signed,



24 Responses to “When Harry Met Salad: Afrocity Encounters The Organic Police”

  1. liontooth Says:

    “If I want salt on my chocolate cake and my blood pressure is as high as a kite that is my business.”

    With national healthcare, now it’s everyone’s business. Your high blood pressure and the cost of treating it, will affect what medical resources are available to others.

    • Which is exactly the problem with liberal nanny-statism. What I do or don’t do becomes everyone’s business. How far are we really from mandating morning calisthenics a la Maoist China? There seems to be a desire to control control control and an unwillingness to let each man or woman rise or fall on his own choices, abilities, and opportunities.

  2. Janelle Humbert Says:

    This post is both screamingly funny and a bit unnerving at the same time.

  3. The funny thing about the kid complaining about chemicals in the salad is that everything has chemicals in it. purely organic broccoli has thousands of different chemicals in it. The thing is no one tests most organic chemicals to see how safe they are. Industrial chemicals all get tested. Any man made chemical gets tested to see how safe it is, yes some are much safer than others but they have to get tested and if they aren’t safe enough they get banned or highly regulated. Natural chemicals do not and there are thousands of them in all of your food.

    He is lucky I’m not his boss because I would have fired him on the spot and to make sure that wouldn’t happen again I would make sure everyone else that works there knew exactly why I did it.

    • afrocity Says:

      I said to the manager that I did not want to cause him any real trouble. On some level he meant well but it was not his job to lecture a customer or down a product sold in the store. His advice was unsolicited. I am sure Whole Foods educates them at Hemp University or wherever they go for training to push organic products but if I did not ask for the advice…

      On the way out of the store they had a bowl of candy for free labeled ORGANIC LOLLIPOPS. Give me a break.

      The only time I really buy organic is if I go to an outdoor Farmers Market. Even then it is not a conscious choice. It is just that it is there and cheap.

  4. Janelle Humbert Says:

    Priceless……..what the sam hill is in organic lollipops?

  5. afrocity Says:

    I don’t know. Tasted the same to me.

  6. loudmouthjewishbabe Says:

    Just popped into read. Unbelieveable!

    Never mind the store employee, aren’t the customers (even at a mild mannered Trader Joes), a hoot too?

    Any time a mother with children scolds me for not bringing a multitude of specially designed canvas bags, I kindly remind her that I have no children which are exhaling those nasty C02 emissions, or excreting in millions of plastic diapers.

    • afrocity Says:

      Good point Jewish babe. I am also without kids. I avoid Trader Joes altogether. We only have two in Chicago. Whole Foods is the only place that sells my favorite juices, everything else I get from the mainstream store for a lot cheaper.

      • gs Says:

        It’s a pretty good drive to either TJ’s or Whole Foods from my place in semirural MA, but I do like TJ’s poultry sausage with basil pesto. Unfortunately TJ’s has a way of discontinuing my favorite items. Otoh, the staff tend to be adults who treat me as an adult instead of high school kids who view me as an intrusion on their social lives.

        Whole Foods’ prices are too expensive for my wallet and their attitude is too smug for my tastes. I may go there more often if and when my wallet recovers, but hopefully I will never buy into their attitude.

  7. manbearpig68 Says:

    Great post! So many are so ridiculous! I have an issue with a new “regular” grocery store. Across the whole front of the store are parking spots for environmentally friendly cars.. About 20 prime spots allocated for green conscientious people. What a fucking joke! I park my 15 year old van in there every time hoping somebody will say something.. The guy next me parking the Prius can kiss my ass because he’s probably had 3 new cars in the time I have had mine and my van will pass the same emmissions test. How many raw materials has he used up compared to me.

    Jewishbabe brings up another great point about kids. Whole foods and such love those hipster families that come in with four kids and yet the population is what is going to kill us. On top of that, they get the tax breaks. It should be the other way around where the adults that don’t have kids get the tax breaks because we are actually doing more for the environment than they ever could after having a kid.

  8. Love this post.

    I am well known for not buying products just because they are organic. I grew up on a farm and drank well water. Organic doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it does the ‘healthy’ set.

    Just like when a friend told me people would not eat meat if they had to process the meat themselves. Some type of emotional response or something I suppose. I didn’t point out the thousands of people every year who hunt, kill, and process their own meat. I did relate how my family would not only raise the cute little calves, bunnies, and piggies ourselves we processed the meat and marked the containers by the animals name most of the time.

    As far as ‘healthy’ goes, I believe most soft drinks have far more production regulations and stricter chemical testing that bottled waters, spring or otherwise.

    • By the way, I love all the vintage product logos!

    • afrocity Says:

      Greening Skull,

      I am curious, could you just tell me what organic is to a farmer?

      • There’s no such thing to most farmers unless you’re trying to sell your crops to the ‘health’ crowd.

        If you’ve ever raised animals for meat you will never eat ‘organic’ meat you didn’t raise yourself. Or at least personally know the person who did raise it.

  9. yttik Says:

    LOL, great post Afrocity! You cracked me up.

    Stick to your guns because “organic” means a lot of different things. It’s not consistently regulated, there’s no set list of definitions, and the rules vary from region to region. I once saw a bag of “organic” frozen vegies at a health food store, imported from China. Yeah, I trust them to be organic, you betcha.

    You’ve nailed it again, as usual. What is my problem with the Left today? They seem to want to force people to behave, eat, consume, subscribe, to a set of beliefs. Forget choice, forget thinking for yourself. And if you dissent or even consider questioning the ideology, prepare to be put back in your place.

    I tell people, I didn’t leave the Dem party, I fled in terror and considered getting a restraining order.

  10. OhLukkyMan Says:

    Ah, yes. The “think globally” crowd is always good for a chuckle. Maybe you’ve had this experience. Our local food co-op stocks mostly organic items but some “traditionally” produced goods, too. I got into a discussion w/ a furball of a fellow and his family at the place. I believe it started with a discussion of my unique MN Twins ball cap: it’s GREEN, man! Of coures, they sell ’em on St. Patrick’s Day during Sring Training in Fort Myers. No other significance to the color that I’m aware of.

    So, then we got onto organic foods. The furball stated that he’ll be happy when everything is REQUIRED to be organic; everybody will HAVE to eat better. I pointed out how lukky I felt to be able to afford the organic goods that my family prefers. But they’re more expensive for real reasons. One of them is that organic produce yields are much lower than those of traditional and of “factory” farms. With 7 or 8 BILLION(or more?) hungry mouths on the planet resources already are stretched thin to feed them all. Who, I asked, did he propose should starve to death so the rest of us wealthy survivors can eat better?

    Our “discussion” ended right there. Moral: you can’t just think globally when it’s convenient or ideologically comfortable. We should all be careful with what we want because we might just get it – in the neck.

  11. loudmouthjewishbabe Says:

    On a related note concerning California gvt. involvment in our food “choices”….

    I am not advocating that fast food is wonderful for the kiddies, but it would be nice if the gvt didn’t make the decision for us.

  12. lasciel Says:

    Yep, smoke and drink all you like, as long as you buy over-priced unregulated organic foods.
    Think of the good things people could do for the world with the money they spend on that crap. Still, I’m not so rude that I’d harass someone buying organic, like they feel obligated to do to non-organic buyers.

    This post cracked me up though ^-^

  13. There goes Afrocity, sounding more and more Libertarian every day! 🙂

    Try Vitamin Cottage hon, they do have an online store, and the spices are great! The people are all pretty cool too.

    Organic to me is like my home brew, or the meat from the Elk that I harvested.

    Great post filled with insight as usual. Have a good one!

  14. Leah Says:

    I am getting so upset with these leftie do good policemen. I wonder if I would have had the guts to go to the manager and tell him that he needs to reeducate his employees.
    Of course the last time I was in a whole foods (and the closest market to me is that exact store) was over 2 years ago.

    I go to an immigrants market, owned by Persians, caters to many different groups with different ethnic food. Produce not beautiful, but tastes just fine.

    Also, the guy is an idiot, it is proven that even frozen is as good as fresh, only problem with canned is the added salt.

  15. Holly Says:

    I will say, although some of the employees at Whole Foods can be ardent salespersons for organic products, of which I am not interested in, the owner of the company is a passionate free market, free enterprise, and strong capitalist individual. So long as he retains control of the company and I can avoid hippies (is that possible in Portland, OR?), I will continue shopping there for some of their specialty items that are uncommon at a general grocery store.

    You know, some of my classmates brought in organic milk to class. I laughed out loud! It all comes from a cow; the only difference is that I saved like 3 dollars by buying milk from a cow without the organic label! It wouldn’t have mattered if it was organic or not, they bought 2% milk…gross.

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