Dept. of Joyless Living

Upon my return to work, I opened my e-mail to find that I was behind on my mandatory online workplace training about such things as ergonomic workspace organization and the disposal of hazardous wastes, which have to be repeated every bloody year despite never having anything new or different in them. So, perhaps I am not in the best mood to evaluate well-intentioned liberal interventionalism. However, sometimes it just goes too far, dammit!!

Every so often, while on a trip to Portland, we'll stop for something or another at Whole Foods. I miss the one in Manhattan near my old apartment, and we enjoy the selection of well-prepared foods, shiny and exotic produce, etc. etc. etc. What we don't necessarily enjoy is the healthy serving of sanctimony and self-congratulation that accompanies our shopping experience. (And I'm plenty sanctimonious myself, what with my preference for organic goods and local farm share.)

It looks like it will only be getting worse. From the Guardian (via HuffPo):
When Whole Foods arrived in the UK two years ago it was hailed as a mecca for those determined to follow a healthy diet. But today the struggling US store's chief executive will probably want to eat his words after admitting that, alongside the organic carrots and bags of granola, the shops "sell a bunch of junk".

The comments came in an interview in which John Mackey was attempting to outline plans for the store to put more emphasis on healthy eating – amid suggestions that it has recently indulged consumer cravings for more indulgent offerings.

He went on to say that Whole Foods was going to launch a healthy eating education initiative to encourage customers and employees to reduce obesity.

But Mackey told the Wall Street Journal: "Basically, we used to think it was enough just to sell healthy food, but we know it is not enough. We sell all kinds of candy. We sell a bunch of junk."

He said the store would now attempt to educate in the ways of healthy eating: "There will be someone in a kiosk to answer questions, they'll have cookbooks and health books, there will be some cooking classes. It will be about how to select food, because people don't know."

First of all, I don't think that Whole Foods' slipping market share has much to do with its selling candy. It probably has more to do with its high, high prices and the lousy economy.

But, moving along, can we please dispense with the idea that people who are shelling out the cash to shop at Whole Foods are just too dumb to know that chips and cookies and such are bad for them? Really? Because maybe they just want to have their freaking Kettle Crisps without being informed that the baked crackers would be a healthier option. I'm sure there are plenty of health nuts, America's New Puritans, who would be delighted to be informed about how to yank more vitamins out of their kale, but plenty of us live relatively healthy lives without being told that they could be healthier if we just sucked a little more joy out of them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to take an online test about how to deal with sexual harassment.

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