Thursday, January 30, 2014
Trader Joes expired food store increases bureaucracy and class divide
In the past week there have been dozens of stories announcing that Doug Rauch, Trader Joe's Ex-President, is launching a Store Selling Expired Food including many reports on the nightly news. They declined to point out a few basic facts that many people seem to have forgotten which were widely known thirty years ago.
Over the past thirty years the agriculture and retail business has consolidated into a small number of corporations which they often tell us is much more efficient; Wal-Mart even spends an enormous amount of money buying ads to tell us this over and over again. They also spend a lot of money on ads telling us that they deal directly with suppliers and that their food is fresh.
Few if any of these ads stand up to a minimum amount of scrutiny whether they come from Wal-Mart or Trader Joes.
One of the simplest things that they routinely fail to mention is the fact that factory direct, or in the case of produce farm direct has been dramatically reduced if not completely eliminated. Another important fact is that they ship things much farther with globalization than they used to which means that they spend more of the money on subcontractors, shipping and other bureaucratic expenses involved in a complex system instead of the production of the food or other kinds of products.
They rarely if ever mention the fact that the mark ups from original production is much higher than it used to be so the people that do all the work to put value into it aren't the ones that are getting the vast majority of the money we give corporations. And how can anyone fail to see that if they only sell expired food that other stores won't sell then it means they're adding one more step to the process by shipping it one more time which makes it even less efficient. And it takes time to ship which means that it will be even farther past it's expiration date.
Any one that remembers the way they used to do things or shops at some good grocery stores that still do rotate their food properly might quickly recognize the problems with this. I vaguely remember one time where they briefly told me in school that grocery stores routinely rotated their food and that they had a standard operating procedure to minimize the amount of expired food, or at least the good ones did and still do.
That doesn't apply to some stores that have been cutting costs to increase profits as far as I can tell; I don't know how Trader Joes has been handling things but I know that Wal-Mart has been relentlessly cutting corners based on orders from the corporate office and that some of the stores have been caught selling expired food or even replacing the labels with later dates.
Other stores still remark some of their food, not to change the date but to reduce the price, when they come close to their expiration date and if you look closely at the labels they usually aren't that confusing and they say recommended sell by date and a reasonable person can judge, depending on the product, how much additional time is reasonable for use it or lose it time.
On top of that people used to understand that fresh produce was a seasonable thing and that when they were out of season they were either buying imports or canned food. Some things like potatoes kept longer and people didn't worry about them.
This simply wasn't that complicated thirty years ago.
The reason why simple things are routinely forgotten, if you rely on the commercial media for your information is that they have a totally different objective then the majority of us and the economy serves one purpose for them and another for us.
Most of us want to get the things that we need to improve the quality of life in the most effective way possible.
They want to increase their profits in the most effective way possible and since they have consolidated control of the commercial media they use it as a propaganda machine to convince those that don't pay attention that the most effective way possible is for us to trust their so-called experts on the economy and business.
Increasing bureaucracy by adding another step in the food chain without improving lives for most if not all workers and consumers isn't going to do anything to improve the effectiveness of the economy if the objective is to improve the quality of life; however if the objective is to find another way to increase profits without benefiting the consumer there is still a chance that it might work, although, in this case I doubt it.
For some strange reason the commercial media decided this was worth a lot of attention over the past week but they don't provide much coverage at all for alternatives like those that recommend a more local and truly efficient economic system that rolls back all the changes that have taken place over the last few decades that aren't really improvements at all.
Even though the traditional media does little or nothing to inform the public about the more effective improvements to the economic system that would benefit all, not just those that control large corporations, Bill McKibben, Susan Clark and Woden Teachout and several other lower profile researchers have reported on how a lot of small communities have been dramatically changing things at the local level and some additional things that could be done on a larger scale as well.
Unfortunately it is unlikely that you will find much if any coverage of them on the traditional media outlets. I haven't seen any coverage, unless you count Democracy Now, which is generally considered alternative media, although apparently they have all received a token amount of coverage; but without knowing where to look for it many people including myself miss this coverage, instead I found out about them from alternative outlets.
I don't like to be cynical about the bad coverage coming from the commercial media but finding one problem with their coverage after another has become routine. I occasionally try to find the exception but they are rare and they seem to be limited to things that don't impact profits for the relatively small number of people running the Six Conglomerates That Control 90% Of The Media In America. Many of the alternative media outlets are also plugs for corporate America too so they actually control more than 90% of the media. But with time and fact checking it is possible to find more credible sources with a much lower profile.
Ex Trader Joe's president to open store selling expired food
Slow Democracy.org based on book by Susan Clark and Woden Teachout, includes additional resources.
Bill McKibben's "Deep Economy" PDF copy.
Bill McKibben's "Deep Economy" at his home page
If any of you would like to support the cause in return for the free E-Book from Bill McKibben you can do so by either donating at his page or to 350.org which also provides additional information.
On another note I updated my recent post, North Dakota explosion forgotten already now Walpole, Omaha, Mississippi, and many others also quickly fading into memory hole, about the lack of coverage on the volume of gas explosions and other environmental disasters based on some additional news. The following has been added to the bottom or you can see the whole post at the previous link.
Edit: No more than a few days after I posted this another major explosion took place in Manitoba. When I first saw the coverage of it they only spent about twenty seconds reporting it and it quickly fell from the headlines of the traditional press as well. Earth First Journal also reported on a dramatic increase in these explosions as well. This was based on a traditional news story that doesn't seem to have been widely circulated by most of the traditional press. Without alternative outlets looking for many of these low profile stories many of us would surely miss them. Also I Googled a few more of the stories about explosions from Mississippi, as I said I might and added them below. these are still only a miniscule fraction of the explosions and other environmental disasters.
TransCanada Natural Gas Pipeline Explodes in Southern Manitoba
More Oil Spilled From Railcars in 2013 Than in Previous Four Decades Combined
Natural gas pipeline explodes near Otterburne, Man.
Tank barge explodes on Mississippi River at Sunshine 04/25/2010
Mississippi River Barge Crash: Barge Carrying 80,000 Gallons Of Oil Hits Railroad Bridge, Leaks 01/27/2013
Gas line explodes near Batesville, Mississippi 11/21/2011
One dead, seven injured after explosion at Donaldsonville Louisiana plant 06/15/2013
Cherokee Nitrogen plant explosion shakes multiple counties 11/13/2013
Nuclear Blasts in Mississippi 10/22/2964
1 dead, 8 injured in explosion that leveled part of Alabama apartment complex: video 12/17/2013