When The Teenager was just a wee lass, she accompanied me everywhere. We were always learning on the go. For instance, if she wanted me to purchase crappy food at the grocery store she would have to read the label. Keep in mind she was five when we started this and she couldn’t read much at all. She could however pick out the word sugar with surprising quickness, and we won’t buy a product if sugar was in the top 5 ingredients. As “new and improved” sugar substitutes became available we learned that if it sounded like a crazy chemical it probably was and it was best not to consume it all, and always be skeptical of “natural ingredients” packaging. As the years went on and she had a firm, slightly jaded view on pre-packaged food we moved onto math and price illusion (as I like to call it.) Now she is 15.75 year old educated consumer, and we did a little vacation shopping. We paused and gave a nervous giggle, snapped a picture and entered into a bewildering, obviously recently re-branded grocery store chain.
“Who do they think they are fooling? There is no farm in there!”
We were instantly struck by the ridiculous lengths that this chain went through to make people think that their crap was any better than anybody else’s crap or fresher and local? The Teenager was horrified by the “Chicken Kitchen.” Stuck to the floor leading up to the counter where a man stood wearing a chicken hat butchering chickens and selling it in every configuration I could imagine were chicken feet decals. “MMMOOOOOOMMMMMM” “It looks like the chicken are walking to their death!!!!”
OY! no chicken today. We quickly turn and The Teenager’s disgust turns to laughter as she gawks at the single muffins. “Look mom they are single and ready to mingle, but that is a pricey date.”
Right next to the muffins were half loaves of bread. Not a small loaf, but a whole loaf that was broken up into two loaves and then sold for the same price as a whole. I mutter that “I can waste my own bread thank you very much” as The Teenager counts the slices and declares that “you can’t even make four whole sandwiches” we laugh the laugh of the confused, but begin to draw attention and step away without photographic proof. “This place gives me the creeps!” she whispers. We wind our way around to stop dead in front of yet another petrifying sign.
“MMMMMOOM?? do you see all the gears?
I begin to conjure images in my head of a boardroom full of executives howling with maniacal laughter as they try to scheme us out of our money. How gullible do they think we are? That windmill isn’t creating energy it just a vertical fan! Those are not greenhouses, they are filled with frozen food! That bakery smells like a cookie candle! Quickly we grab our absolute essentials (ice cream and coffee) and depart hastily.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately because of the recent ruling about GMO labeling voting nonsense. All of my meticulous training for nothing! My instinct tells me to teach my children not to eat anything genetically modified, but how will they ever know in order to make that choice? Maybe I need to teach The Associate a different method all together and we can start by never going back to that “store” again.