20 August 2009

The Fresh Market : Food Store Anomaly


My wife and I were in the Kennett Square area yesterday after visiting Longwood Gardens' beautiful sights in the humid August air and had become pretty hungry. We were making our our way to Philadelphia when we passed one of those behemoth shopping plazas with chain stores and noticed a place called The Fresh Market which I remembered hearing about at work. I expected something like an independent Whole Foods type, based on the size of the store front, but their intentional appearances, inside and out, were deceiving.

Inside there was a very large produce department with beautifully done displays but very little organic or obviously local produce. The store's dim lighting, too dim if you ask Megan, was provided by small spots and police interrogation room styled hanging lamps. The effect was like Whole Foods but more mysterious and gourmet like "open European style markets" (as their website touts, as if you'd found something secret in the aisles. Don't be deceived, you didn't!

Sure, there was a good helping of natural and organic packaged foods throughout the store right along side items containing high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils (trans-fat), and the vivid hues of artificial food dyes. In neither the bakery nor the prepared food displays was there even a single vegan friendly food that a youngish couple from Lancaster could enjoy. That isn't even true at the huge grocery stores we have around here.

We didn't expect to find The Fresh Market to be a vegan mecca but we didn't expect to be this disappointed. The store offered very little, if anything, more than the natural sections do at most supermarkets while giving the appearance that the place was unique, up-scale, and superior in one way or another. Seemingly, some are being duped into this place over a truly natural or gourmet store. Maybe in the Carolinas this sort of place is the best you can get but not anywhere near Philadelphia. Good luck, The Fresh Market. The rest of you, steer clear.

After writing this I stumbled onto this like minded review.

16 August 2009

WHERE I STAND [2]: Universal Publicly Funded vs For-Profit Health Care

As things stand now with private/corporate/for-profit health care, the health care provider makes the ultimate call for or against payment for any procedure, suture, or even an office visit. Neither the person nor the doctor controls that. They can appeal and often decisions fall in their favor but sometimes not. Sure, a wealthy person could just pay for any of it out of pocket but we aren't all so well funded.

Those opposing universal/public health care often argue that they don't want the government getting in the way of what one's doctor thinks is best let alone telling the doctor what to do. As I described earlier, those in charge now ARE doing this.

The difference between the government being the one deciding vs a for-profit company is that the government is explicitly tasked, and held accountable, to uphold the public interest. In other words, it is for the common good of all its citizens whereas the for-profit company's is ultimately to serve shareholders by making money.

It would be ludicrous to suggest that the companies can sustain themselves by often NOT providing somewhat good care but they can and do make decisions based on the suit's bottom lines (shareholder pressure) and bonuses instead of the patient's well being. They are doing their jobs to serve the bottom line can we fault them for doing their job's well? Not completely at least. It is the system that is flawed.
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