Claire-ification: Grocery Store Emotional Roller Coaster


Normally when I shop, I see labels- I’m just like you, and these labels wouldn’t be lies if they’d been placed on real healthy or even marginally unprocessed food, but yeah, you can tell, these are lies. You know the lies, and you know certain truths.

If it looks like someone broke up a table. It probably has whole grain in it.  Otherwise, there’s probably more fiber in a Slurpee. You know 50% less fat usually still means its half fat.  A serving size of ¼ cup?  Yeah. Right, if your 2.  That means it really has 2000 calories and six days of sodium.  I’m insulted. You should be insulted. It has the protein of licking a jar of peanut butter and the sugar of 12 Twinkies, at least you get to feel good knowing that the package is 100% recyclable when you toss it in the trash.

These are things you know.  But when you enter the grocery store all that goes out the window.  You’re a wide eyed impressionable baby, a clean slate.

I like to walk around in grocery stores whenever I’m feeling a lack of raw emotion as a human being. Forget sad movies and teary scenes. This is where I go. I’m happy when I walk in.  I like that artificial light glaring at me leeching the moisture out of my eyeballs.  It makes me feel like I’m in a sterile environment.  I start strolling up the aisles. I see a giant box with ripe pumpkins – for the fall- that’s nice.  I see milk with a happy kid printed on the front and a stamp that says not from cows treated with RBST. A faint smile crosses my lips. It’s nice to know they’re looking out for us. Walking on I see omega enhanced eggs and steroid free salmon. Kinda obvious lies. Clear marketing double talk.  I start thinking about it and realize what these labels are really saying is “Hey, buy our food, that other food will give you a rash.” I walk on, skeptically glaring. I have daggers in my eyes. How dare they. I view my grim outlook for a decent meal.

I see hermetically sealed and triple washed. My mood lifts a bit. Could it be that in this marketing melee there is a karma-cally righteous food maker out there? Prewashed, precooked, freeze dried double-wrapped and vacuum-packed. For your safety. I’m safe. Here is something I can surely feel good about feeding my family.

With a smile and a little spring in my step I walk on with pleasant appreciation for the strange and alien label language …

Maybe it’s for our own good?  Like the helmet law.  Maybe these lies are not to trick us into buying low quality, nutritionally, devoid products but are in fact necessary – after all they’re protecting us from the germs, bugs, bacteria, e. coli, listeria, salmonella, rat feces and fungal spores we’d be eating if it weren’t for all these crazy processes and gas treatments.

Maybe it was just the lights but I head to the check out with my well thought out purchases in tow, feeling immersed in a friendly world of scientific brotherhood and like minds, eager to see our kind move forward with health and honesty.

On the way up through the cereal aisle I anticipate a tasty morning fix- something good and good for me.  I see cartoons and good guys, smiling characters ensuring me that my kids will be as happy with my choice as I am.  I am confident in my state of consumer bliss that I will find the perfect breakfast cereal that defines me, that has just enough natural sweetener and slightly more nutrients than silly putty.  This lasts until I spy The Krave brand Chocolate filled chocolate pillows enhanced with real chocolate and a big bright label that says Good Source of Fiber and I think: “Maybe not.”  I head to the wine section..

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