You see, when I shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, I want only the best, ripest, and freshest produce for my family. Because I only pick the best, freshest and ripest, the rest of the fruit gets left behind and is eventually thrown out by the store. I don’t want it, and I won’t pay for it, so they have to get rid of it.
Because this is how I shop, the store owners tell their suppliers not to give them any old, bruised, marked, or otherwise ‘unattractive’ product. The suppliers comply. It’s about me. I’m paying, so they have to do what I want.
Now, the supplier is going to go back to the farmer. He’s going to tell the farmer not to pick anything that has a mark on it, is bruised, or has signs of insects or other natural diseases. The farmer has to comply, since the supplier won’t buy it from him otherwise.
The farmer, faced with fields of growing crops, needs to yield as much perfect produce as he can, or he’ll go broke. I won’t buy anything sub-par for my family, so the grocery store won’t buy anything sub-par from the supplier, who won’t buy anything sub-par from the farmer….you get the idea.
Standing out in an open field, exposed to the elements, the farmer has few choices, since his crops are what feeds his family. He needs to ensure that everything he grows can be sold, otherwise he’s growing nothing but debt.
With few options, the farmer employs the help of chemical sprays to ensure his crops look perfect. It’s my fault. I’m the guy standing at the road-side stands, checking each cob of corn for worms. I’m not bringing those nasty bugs home to my family, so I guess I’m willing to have the corn sprayed, even if that’s not a conscious decision at the time.
McDonalds is my fault too. Sorry. Sometimes I’m in a hurry, or just too lazy to cook. I asked for quickly prepared food – so quick in fact, that I can drive up to a window and have it handed to me, hot and salty within a minute. I told McDonalds that this is how I want my food, so they complied. I know it’s not healthy, but sometimes I just need to scarf down some grub while I’m on the run – and if pushed I’d say that I sometimes really crave the taste of a Big Mac.
The big-box stores? You know it – me again. I needed variety, long hours and cheap prices for all those toaster ovens, back massagers and iPhones. Sure, there were little stores that had them, but what a pain in the butt, having to drive from store to store. And I didn’t know when they were open or if they had good prices.
I know, I should have supported the local business owner, but heck, who has time for that? When I need a left-handed spindle crank, I can’t risk going to a store that doesn’t have it in stock and in 3 colours. Nope – big box is the way to go. I don’t know why that strip mall near my house looks so deserted though. Must be the economy.
Although I’m not a photographer, I’m also responsible for the paparazzi attacks on celebrities. I just can’t get enough of those tabloid magazines while standing in line at the grocery store. A 3-headed baby that sings like Elvis? Are you kidding? Who’s got the latest ‘baby bump’, and who looks worse in a bathing suit? I crave this stuff. Because I do, the photographers will do almost anything to get the picture that will entice me buy their magazine.
I was probably the one responsible for Princess Diana’s tragic death. Can’t get enough of the Royals – I sent those photographers on motorcycles to capture an image of Lady Diana stepping out with her new beau.
See, the thing is, I would love to blame the farmers, or the fast-food places or the big box stores for how they’ve poisoned and cheapened our planet – they’re an easy target. In the end though, it was me, the consumer, who decided to exercise the greatest power I had. I gave them my business. My money. I told them, through my humble purchasing decisions what I wanted, and they complied.
So, I want to confess. It’s my fault these things are the way they are. I was the one making decisions that landed us where we are today. I hope you can all forgive me.
Anything you’d like to get off your chest?