Conversations, even slight snippets of gab between two people, can be highly revealing and even thought-provoking in its content or lack thereof. Over the past two weeks, I have had the somewhat disturbing occasion to be quietly waiting in a store when a customer ordered something which, at first blush, was rather ordinary. Allow me to include you in this slightly altered verbal by-play.
“Yeah, yeah, we were watching the game and my wife wanted deli, so here I am to
get it. And, oh, by the way, a quarter-pound of sliced turkey, too. It’s for my dog, she loves it.” Sounds like a guy who not only wants to make his wife happy, enjoys sports but also loves his dog.
One week later in another ethnic specialty store of a different stripe and I’m standing in front of the rotisserie chickens which have just come off the spit. The neatly dressed and well coiffed woman leans toward the case to carefully inspect the roasted birds and then peers up at the man behind the case.
“Okay, give me that one and cut it in eights because I don’t want to have to worry about cutting it when I get home. My dog loves roasted chicken.”
Two customers, in different towns, in different types of stores and both were ordering roasted meats for their dogs. We know, of course, that there’s been enough stories and research about people viewing their dogs as the new “children” in people’s lives, but do you find this a bit disturbing? I do.
In the United States, according to Duke University Center for Sustainability & Commerce, “The average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day. This is
1.6 pounds more than most produced back in 1960.” Okay, we waste something each day and much of it is food that could have been used in some manner other than piling yet more into landfills.
I think about all the food that is still edible and for which many hungry adults and kids would be thankful should it come their way. I think of the empty food pantries where foods used to be donated and where more people in need have had to take out more food from these charitable endeavors than ever. Hunger in America continues to be a real and troubling problem, even though we constantly see the excesses of too many on TV and in the media. People in designer clothing sipping champagne or throwing glasses of expensive wine at each other should make you not only cringe, but sick to your stomach.
When I was a child, if I didn’t want some vegetable or other staple on my plate, I was admonished about the starving children in China. Well, China probably does still have its share of starving children and adults and
my cleaning my plate made not a bit of difference. I ate everything in some sense of guilt about having it at all because of the privation in China. Now, of course, that privation has spread, but it still has a stronghold on the US population where we’re still thought of as the “land of plenty.” Perhaps we are the “home of the brave” too because of all those brave souls who work hard and still have to barely make a meal, much less a nutritious one, for their kids.
Nutritionists tell us all the time that “fruits and fresh vegetables” should be in that daily balanced meal. But what do you do if you can’t afford $1 for an orange or
some other outrageous price for a fresh vegetable? I’ll tell you. You feed your kids macaroni and cheese from a box and hope to God that it will save them from brain damage due to poor nutrition. You give them water from the tap that you hope is not tainted with lead because you can’t buy bottled water.
What have we given to those in desperate need? Surplus government cheese, sometimes apples but little else that would tickle a pallet. Food has become something you consume, in some circles, because it is all you are going to get. Kids even go to school hungry because there is no breakfast for them and, if they receive breakfast in school, during summer recess, who takes care of them?
The word “food insecurity” has crept into our vocabulary and it’s not a pretty one. Take a look at some of the 2014 facts about this problem and give it some thought. Parents do without so their kids will have something to eat at night. How must this feel for both the parents and the kids? If you have a knot in your throat right about now, it should tell you.
So, I watched in disbelief when I heard the man and then the woman pay their bills for $4.34 cents for the turkey and $8 for the chicken FOR THEIR DOGS. I wonder what they give to the charities that help the poor — dog food?