Today I took a detour home from the gym to pick up an organic whole chicken at Wild Oats, seduced by the sale price of about $.10 less per pound into thinking I was taking advantage of a real deal (did you ever hear about the experiment with a dime on the photocopier? People who found one said in interviews later that they had felt happy all day long, as opposed to people who had not “found” the dime).
The parking lot was full and I was leaving in frustration at poor planning on the part of developers when a spot opened up. Leaving with my chicken a few minutes later, I hit the traffic jam ACROSS THE STREET where a new Whole Foods was celebrating its first day of business. There were traffic guards and people in yellow jackets directing drivers to open parking spots as though the event was a U2 concert.
People, what is wrong with us?
We have more than twelve major grocery stories within seven miles of our house: two Safeways, Two Albertsons, Two Wizers, and one WinCo, Costco, Thriftway, New Seasons, Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Fred Meyer each. This list leaves out the Plaid Pantry type of mini-grocery stores, of which we have several. From May to October we have a Saturday Farmer’s Market as well. When will we have enough? And I wonder how much traffic and pollution is generated by going to and fro all these food temples.
Frankly, this overabundance makes me sick. How much waste is generated by this food obsession? And what is missing from our lives or souls that we have to feed our stomachs to this exaggerated extent? Certainly all of this is not leading to an overabundance of good health, as obesity, cancer, heart disease rates testify. Plus, what’s all this talk from Christians about values? Isn’t gluttony one of the seven deadly sins?
Now, caring about food is a good thing. In balance, and with food that is treated with integrity and in a simple manner, paying attention to what we eat is vital for health. And enjoying food is one of nature’s gifts. But take it too far and it’s just another form of substance abuse.
Plus, there is enough hunger in the-world’s-richest-country USA to make me ashamed when I even think about people indulging in $20 chickens and $3.00 avocados, knowing that so much gets tossed out long before it close to inedible. It’s almost enough to make me want to go on one of those low-calorie longevity diets as a protest.