Always good for the bottom line

Bad Food and Remembrances…

In this compeNovel Newtitive consumer market with its abundance of outlets, and weekly delivery of a public sac of places all offering just about everything that one needs for the week, especially food. Invariably, there will be something of interest one will see as we leaf through the various flyers to see who has what for the best price.
What we never see, though, is the behind-the-scenes practice of people playing with what we are supposed to eat. Unacceptable, evil, wrong, dishonest, sickening… are just some of the reactions I hear whenever there’s another revelation concerning what some retailers in the food industry have been doing to expand their (corporate) bottom line. To say the least, that’s unpleasant, dishonest… but not surprising.
So several years ago I went to one of the big (NAME) supermarkets to pick up (buy) a few things…
Moving around, I ended up in the meat section. (I am a meat eater, but lately have been limiting my consumption.) My eyes locked in on a lovely cut of beef, nicely packaged, “red” and just waiting for the oven and Sunday dinner. I bought it.
At home, later that afternoon, I removed the beef from the fridge to prepare it for Sunday dinner, but as I unwrapped it the odour almost knocked me out, furthermore the red had faded to a grayish red. Needless to say I was “vexed.” [Actually, I was more than that.] I was wondering how something that smelled so bad could be put out for sale.
It was Saturday evening and that particular supermarket had probably closed so I vowed to make my way back there the following day to see the manager in the meat department about the stinking product that should never have been there (God only knows for how long) for sale.
When I got there I headed directly to see the manager and presented him with the “bad meat” along with the receipt to demand a refund. Something that smells so bad, I told him, should not be there. No discussion, no argument, just a check of the date (on the receipt) and the smell test for confirmation that this customer was right.
Another time, in fact more recently, I picked up what appeared to be a nicely packaged offering of chicken drumsticks (small ones; I can’t stand big chicken anything; too artificial) in a downtown supermarket.
Again, in the process of preparing (unpacking and washing them with lemon and vinegar) for next day consumption, I took a few off the top, nice; but as I got to the bottom I began to see drumsticks that looked more like they had been used to beat drums. Unsightly!
I promptly put them back in the package and brought them back to the supermarket, directly to the manager of the meat section and showed him the bad product they’re selling “for human consumption… My money is good,” I told him. He quickly made amends.
So as I listened to the CBC radio news the morning of Friday, November 6, about (a common bad practice in supermarkets…) managers essentially instructing workers to “freshen up certain baked products and meats” and re-label them, extend their life if you will, it was simply mind-blowing, but not surprising, to hear stories of how low retailers are going (compromising our food and health) simply to expand the bottom line.
And then on CBC TVs Marketplace last Saturday, we saw the visuals and got it all from the horses’ mouths (hope we’re not getting horse meat instead of beef) regarding what workers in the meat and bake sections have been instructed to do with certain products that have reached and then given dress-up for an extended BB date.
[To further illustrate the endemic practice of business putting profits ahead of human interest and concern, a St. Jerome restaurant was caught in deception, dishonesty and greed by serving (passing off) pork as veal to customers. Someone with a keen sense of taste, texture and smell was able to discern the difference. Wonder if the agriculture/health inspectors will pay a visit to those retailers playing with our food and levy heavy fines.]
All because the accent of greedy businesses is always on maximizing [their] profits, the hell with customers and our right to clean, fresh, edible products for our money.
So what’s the government (health department and inspectors) doing about such dubious “common” practices by retailers and the potential threat to our health?
As stated on Marketplace, “We rely on ‘Best Before’ dates to make sure food is fresh and we don’t get sick. But how reliable are they…?”
That’s the resounding question.
But when it comes to food, especially meat products, the retailer could consume as much of the “second life” meat, cakes, etc. as he, or she likes. If it’s good for them, then it’s good for us.
That said, when it comes to edible things, or me one life is enough. And I’m sure the majority of consumers feel the same way.
But lest we forget, when it comes to business it’s a perpetual no-holds barred war as the various consumer products conglomerates engage in a perennial for the bottom line.
It’s much like the many perpetual conflicts/war these days, big business, in so many parts of the world. The arms dealers, who tote different flags, are much like those supermarkets selling bad food that, according to one microbiologist, could kill consumers.
When “the war to end all wars” It’s mercifully came to an end in 1918, a 1998 BBC on-line article described it “as a war without parallel…all previous wars were eclipsed by its scale of destruction.”
Historians estimate that up to 10 million men lost their lives on the battlefield, and another 20 million were wounded.
“When the fighting was finally over, no-one could tell exactly how many had been killed…”
That war and the “scale of destruction” didn’t deter the warmongers; it was so successful that twenty-one years later there was a reprise.
So as Remembrance Days come and go, I wonder about the solemn ceremonies, and if, in a strange sort of way, they have morphed into a celebration of infinite war… Since the two great wars (World Wars 1 and 11) in the modern age, Vietnam, Korea, [all] those African conflicts, the Middle East and South Asian ones… this war business has become a veritable lucrative business. What war to end all wars!
War is good; it generates trillions of dollars for the manufacturers, arms merchants and profiteers whose raison d’etre is to foment and sustain war and conflicts by producing the necessary materiel. For them it’s just business, never mind the unprecedented destruction—especially lives.
And that’s the answer to the late Edwin Starr’s question in his seminal anti-war song: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
Which is why each time Remembrance Day comes around I have to wonder: whose out there trying to discourage, to end war and all forms of military conflict. Yes, the war industry generates thousands of jobs, but worse than that it results in thousands of human lives annually.
November 11, all those solemn moments in so many places around the world have done little to end war. So much for “[…] the freedoms we now enjoy…” As a September 2014 CBS NEWS on-line article, The War to End All Wars reads—there’s nothing idealistic or sardonic about that term—a reference to the First World War, “The lesson from this war still is that what we want to do is try and avoid war…”
But no one is listening. Wars, military conflicts—in specific places—are many and financially lucrative. Which is why there’s no end, and never will be.
War merchants will continue to sell their products; just like food merchants will continue to sell their old re-dated bad edible products to unsuspecting consumers.