Archive for January, 2009

Whole Foods

Books make me laugh. And think. And eat.  Lately I’ve been reading a book about food we eat and food we should eat, which does all three, which is pretty fantastic for a book.  As good books probably should, it has at least momentarily altered the way I think about food, and reminded me of the common sense mantra of what healthy, organic, food/plant based diets we should have. Blah blah blah.

Flash forward to today when I needed to pick up some apples and figured that a) Whole Foods is closer than Jewel  and b) if I was going for fresh produce, that was probably the better store to choose, due to my brain being warped by said above literary installment’s arguments.

Whole Foods cracks me up.  Because, yes, the food is mostly organic/ natural/ made of hemp by cloistered Swiss nuns, but the products also are naturally more expensive  (Yes, I am aware of the social and political justice reasons for this THANK YOU JESUIT BRAINWASHING GEESH).  Therefore, I find walking into the Whole Foods in Lakeview an activity in an ironic hilarity. Case in point – behind me in the check-out line were (I kid you not): a bike messenger bag-wearing/bandanna-clad woman with braided red pigtails down to her bum, a stereotypically exhausted-looking Lincoln Park soccer mom with a his-and-hers children set, and a talldarkandhandsome man in a coal grey suit (Dude? It’s SATURDAY).  And everyone is naturally carrying their own reusable grocery bags.

I mean, really, how can you criticize Whole Foods?  It’s brought the Organic movement into the mainstream, popularized sustainability, banned plastic bags, pays its workers well, and now even runs on all renewable energy.

But it doesn’t require much from its consumers other than to continue to buy its products.  We have industrialized organic foods… and not in a good way.  We still don’t have a mass movement to create understanding that the availability of year-round produce probably isn’t necessarily ‘natural.’  We still don’t really understand or care why we buy food from countries suffering widespread famine.  We still don’t care that it drives local, independent grocery stores out (yes they still exist).  We just assuage our guilt.  But is it better than nothing?

As Stuff White People Like sardonically says:

Many white people consider shopping at Whole Foods to be a religious experience, allowing them feel good about their consumption. The use of paper bags, biodegradable packaging, and the numerous pamphlets outlining the company’s police on hormones, genetically modified food and energy savings. This is in spite of the fact that Whole Foods is a profit driven-publicly traded corporation that has wisely discovered that making white people feel good about buying stuff is outrageously profitable.

The natural hypocrisy of Whole Foods and its consumers (YES MYSELF INCLUDED) just makes me laugh.  We live in a world where we have to think about our choices and options a tad too little.  Things are available (although not necessarily affordable) just a little too conveniently.  Mass marketing and consumerism have stolen our brains and souls just a little too much.  Blah blah social conspiracy ranting blah blah.


ETA: I obviously have not read M. Pollan’s previous book, which further research informs me rants about the irony/hypocrisy of Whole Foods.  Indeed.

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Things that are awesome.

1) Having a ball chair at work.

2) Resurrecting an iPod that’s been dead for 2 years.

3) Putting #1 with #2 and adding Chemical Brothers and Disney music.

4) Add Photoshop time.

There is little that makes me happier today than being able to bounce through 8 hours of working at a computer.

WEEEEEEE!!!!

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I’m fairly certain Illinois hates Rod Blagojevich.

59-0 folks.  59-0 twice.

And yet I listened to a 80 hour 47 minute rant about how Blago never ‘knowingly’ violated a law, and how a legislation shouldn’t impeach their governor because it sets a bad precedent.

Yes.  Because holding your elected officials accountable for their actions is a bad thing.

Sigh.

ETA:  “Si se puede”???  OH DEAR LORD.

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I’m fairly certain Alaska Digitel hates me.

Alaska Digitel and I are in a fight. Not a smack-down, pudding-throwing, carnival-style tickle fight, but one where I would enjoy taking Alaska Digitel’s entire customer service department and personally rocketshipping them to Pluto, and stomping on their collective face while screaming, “EAT IT, FUCKTARDS!”

Or something slightly wittier. And eloquent. And pertinent.

I had this brilliant inspiration last March while I was in Juneau to sign up for a Lifeline $1-a-month cell phone. For a mere $1 a month, I would no longer be tethered to the weakling landline in our house, but could instead bring my partners in conversation with me on vast journeys.  Naturally, being Alaska, I’d still have to use a calling card to call long distance, but… well, at least I was freed from the confines of the dark indoors.

I know, it seems a shame to pay any money to have the ability to walk outside, but those who question my logic have never been to Juneau on a sunny day. The idea of being stuck inside while the world taunts you in one of its few moments of glory is sadistic.  Masochistic. It’s just cruel to have to choose between taking advantage of the few moments your schedule allots you with friends and loved ones or the few moments Mother Nature allots you with natural sunlight in a temporal rain forest.

Hence the choice to spend precious dollars of my $80/month towards a cell phone that doesn’t naturally dial long distance.

Anywhoodle.

Fast forward to January, where I’ve now been fighting with Alaska Digitel for 4 months, trying to cancel my service. I have spoken with Carmen – who I am convinced is 1 of only 2 people who work in Customer Service at AK Digitel – no less than 5 times. I have faxed a copy of my Chicago lease to prove that I no longer am eligible for this service 3 times. I have even sent THEM a copy of their! own! bill! which they sent to me. And yet, still, I receive a notice informing me that I not only have a balance due, but it is now more than 30 days overdue and will soon be sent to collections.

Ergo, as the non-saga drags on, I melodramatically call Carmen once more to inform her of the situation, and to actually beg her to disconnect my service (which doesn’t work Down South anyhow), and remove any traces of charges from my account. Naturally, when Carmen answers the CS Dept. phone this time, she puts me on hold to check out my story, so that I can enjoy the blissful music of elevators for a full 10 minutes.

And this is when I decide that:

a) AK Digitel hates me, and

b) AK Digitel has developed a brilliant plan.

Because not only does AK Digitel have elevator music on their Hold station, but they have it on a station which IS NOT PROPERLY TUNED. I don’t know what is wrong with this station, or if the AK Digitel headquarters is perhaps on some sort of moving van that goes in and out of radio service which makes the music on said elevator station not so much ‘discernible’ as it is actually ‘half-to-three-fourths ear-wrenching fuzz.’   Which is fun. Like Chinese water torture.

On the other hand, while sitting with the phone as far away from my ear as possible whilst still close enough that I would hear the sultry tones of Carmen’s voice, I realized the brilliance of this solution: If AK Digitel can keep people on Chinese-music-torture hold for an indefinite period of time, eventually customers will become so enraged or ill at the music-fuzz that they will break and hang up the phone, deciding that sacrificing a few dollars a month was worth it to maintain their sanity.

In this case though, I called their bluff, and like the patient who pesters the squeaky Insurance Company to approve their claim, I persevered in the end. Righteousness Triumphs!  Mwahahaandallthat.

Perhaps this is Sarah Palin’s way of torturing me for moving down south and removing my meager monetary value from Alaska.

In other news, perhaps I have been reading too much about Gitmo lately….

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