a story by Thomas Sullivan

I’m standing in line at the Puget Consumer Co-op, reading a newspaper article about a woman who is suing the Marriot hotel chain. Apparently, the woman wasn’t pleased after walking into her room and finding a male employee in a Marriot shirt wearing one of her dresses and parading around in her high-heeled shoes. That right there is the problem with large corporations. Too many of their
customers have no sense of humor.

But that’s not my main concern on the corporate front. Until recently I did my food shopping at one of the major grocery chains. I just loaded up my cart and didn’t think much about what I was buying. But then the massive recall of Write County Eggs struck, sickening hundreds of people whose only crime was being in Write County at the wrong time. According to news reports, the owner has a long history of fines and settlements for repeated health and safety violations. Yet, no one has shut him down and he keeps resurfacing, like a farm version of Freddy Kreuger.

After inspecting a number of Write County farms, the FDA described one of the hen houses as “bulging with manure.” That could be an apt description of the owner as well.

I’m not a worrier by nature. I don’t think people are out to get me and I’m not fooled by the likes of Terror Mosques or WMDs. I’m a trusting person by nature, but when genuine threatening patterns develop, I act. Like yesterday, when I finally moved my money out of a Zombie Bank.

So I’ve now got another unwanted and unnecessary fear to contend with. A fear spurred by the actions of yet another indifferent mega-corporation. Hence, my visit to PCC, where I find organic free-range eggs raised on a small farm that, to my knowledge, has never been described by a federal Secretary of Labor as “simply atrocious, as dangerous as any sweatshop.”

I pay up and head for the exit, wondering how many more people will bite the dust before small farms and organics become to food what seatbelts were to cars. I enter the outside seating area, which sits below the sidewalk level and is filled with people enjoying their sunny lunch hour. I’m lowering into a chair to finish reading the paper when a guy suddenly appears at the edge of the sidewalk clutching a guitar. His buttlength whitish hair flutters in the breeze as he stares down at the crowd and flashes a grin beneath his Brawny Man mustache.
“Thank you all for coming!” the street-musician barks, before breaking into a cover of “Brown Eyed Girl”. He strums in place for a bit before crouching down low and marching Chuck Berry style back and forth along the “stage.” Most of the diners ignore him, but I know better. I smile and watch the guy, enamored by his fearless performance.

Which is exactly what that woman at the Marriott should have done.

© 2011, Thomas Sullivan

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