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An organic lesson

An organic lessonA trip around the local Safeway supermarket sometimes leaves me amused and sometimes sad. It’s not downright fraud that they are perpetrating but ladies and gentlemen it is very close. Yes very close.

Now every US shopper has a loyalty club card to get the best prices. On most days these club prices can be further reduced, by picking up cereals, jams, bread etc carrying a “special price offer label”. 

Needless to say I don’t bother with anything that isn’t accompanied by a “special price offer.”  On the basis that if they are not on offer this week they definitely will be next.

When I first came to the States I must have been caught a few times but over the years I have learnt that it is essential to check very carefully the details quantity, type, name etc., on the special offer label against those actually printed on the product itself.

At the checkout desk a rather beautiful woman, who I thought must be suffering from a lack of height complex, was in the queue ahead of me. The matronly checkout lady was quick and was soon returning the shopper’s club card and the receipt for goods purchased. Mrs. Checkout then sent her latest customer on her way with the usual, “Have a good one.”  Little Miss Complex smiled in return and shuffled away on her six-inch platforms.

I got the usual “How you’ll doin’ today?” from Mrs. Checkout. 
“Fine I’m doing fine.” I replied.
Three items into my purchases Miss Complex reappeared and immediately challenged the check out lady.
“You’ve charged me wrong for those Honey Nut Cheerios. They’re on special at 4 for ten dollars. You’ve charged me four ninety seven per packet.”
Mrs. Checkout took one of the packets of Honey Nut and scanned the bar code.
“Well its says they are four ninety seven. I’ll get the supervisor across straight away.”
She pressed a button and the supervisor appeared immediately. The Supervisor got the gist of the problem and quickly disappeared, along with Miss Complex, into the aisles.

My checkout resumed. I had just finished paying when the pair, supervisor and Miss Complex returned. The supervisor carried four Honey Nut Cheerios under her arm.
“It’s not the 24 ounce that is on offer it is the 17.  The 17 ounce packets are just to the right of the special offer label on a lower shelf.   
I smiled that’s how to boost profits. They are still up to the same tricks after all these years. Special offer labels miles away from the actual produce on offer. How many poor folks had been caught already today?

I walked over to my car just as a yellow taxi bombed across my line of sight. Crazy nut, slow down I screamed to myself. The taxi carried a telephone number, seven threes, along its side. I thought of phoning the company but my mind was juggling with the special offer saga and its seemingly endless potential for hoodwinking customers.

Today throughout the store I had seen lots of promotions for Organic products.  So I began to wonder how the stores validated a particular product’s Organic heritage? Was there an accepted countrywide definition of what is Organic and what is not Organic?
And as for costs, well there has to be a statewide, country wide, army of Inspectors to verify that the only fertilizer being used is manure and nothing other than manure. Or is it all a sham to get a few extra cents per pound for sugar, corn, apples, oranges, etc?

I had read that scientists have not been able to determine whether Organic means a higher nutritional value than non Organic foodstuff.  And as we all know Organic produce is more pricey than the non Organic version. So how have they got the ball rolling and the sales of Organic climbing so fast here in California?
I reflected back to the many Organic offers that I had just seen in the store and if my daughter’s fridge was anything to go by Organic foodstuffs were the only version actually being purchased.
An hour later at home I asked her to answer the riddle.

“Dad, It’s a no brainer. Non organic food is grown using pesticides and insecticides.  Pesticides and Insecticides are poisonous.  So why would anyone want to poison themselves?
Besides people don’t really mind a few spots on their apples.“

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