Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food Fights

When I was a kid I remember our small town gas stations engaging in price wars on petrol. Most of my youth the price was predictable 24 cents/gal as a cut rate station. Big name national brands might be a cent or two more. Every now and then someone would drop the price to attract customers. That set off a retaliatory response and the other stations who didn't want to lose business matched or outdid them. During these price wars the price of gas might drop to 18cents/gal. Customers were thrilled but station managers weren't making a profit and eventually quit undercutting each other.
We have a similar situation every year around the Thanksgiving at grocery chains. Knowing that if they can tempt you with a cheap turkey price you will also buy other treats, the price of turkeys bottoms out.
I missed the first wave of competitive pricing because I have just a small freezer and didn't want to go without ice cream and a spare loaf of bread for three weeks. This week when I shopped there were no giveaway prices until yesterday. Jon spotted a circular with the morning paper advertising 40cent/lb birds. Off I went. They didn't have 40cent turkeys. The price now was 37cents. Another store had advertised 37 cents and they matched it. I am not sure you can even transport a turkey from the grower for that price.
I would feel sorry for the farmer who raised the poultry but it was probably grown on a factory farm with a couple hundred thousand other birds. My conscience started to bother me yesterday when I read how turkeys are grown. It all starts with artificial insemination. Turkeys are even denied a natural start. Then they are genetically modified to produce large breasted birds who are too top heavy to maintain their balance and walk. They don't get proper exercise. They don't peck for bugs in the farmyard. They are forced to grow up too fast. Wait, doesn't this sound like the way we are raising our young women? Doesn't our culture expose them to influences that cause them to mature too quickly? Doesn't our culture favor big chests regardless of the impact? Aren't our kids discouraged from playing in the yard and being healthy?
We are a lot like those turkeys. It might be time to slow down and return to some of our old values. Get some sunshine. Play outside. To hell with artificially enlarged chests acquired because that is what someone else likes. We are missing out on the flavor of a natural life.

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