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.
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,