According to Zillow.com, the residents of my neighborhood consist of low income, high melanin content Americans as well as “foreign-language-speaking urbanites”; most with a middle school education or lower. Within a two mile radius, we have, what I would consider, an unusually high concentration of sex offenders. The street I live on is commonly known for its late-night prostitution activity. I have my own personal homeless Concierge who sleeps near my car at night, whom I’m inclined to “tip,” in fear that he’ll start pissing on my tires. On several occasions I’ve had to wait in my car for a drug deal to finish before I could get out and go to my apartment. The complex itself is flanked by a used tire yard on one side and a vacant lot on the other.
Hi my name is Eric, and I live in a shitty neighborhood. It’s not even charming shitty. It’s shitty shitty. But just because the neighborhood and its inhabitants leave little to be desired, does that mean all the grocery stores in the area have to be shitty too?
If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a mega grocery chain in North Scottsdale, and compared it to the same chain’s more “inner-city” locations, it’s easy to recognize a disparaging correlation between socioeconomic status and the quality of goods and services in each respective community. This glaring imbalance begs the question, is the neglect of grocery stores in low income neighborhoods a result of lower quality employees and managers, or do consumers in poorer communities just ruin everything no matter how nice you try to make it for them? I have a hard time believing it’s a direct reflection of the revenue generated by each location. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the profit margins are higher in the crappy stores because they sell inferior quality products at the same prices. All I know is all the fruits and vegetables at my local Sprouts are consistently bruised, rotten, damaged, and discolored while the produce at the one in Paradise Valley looks like it could be used for print advertising. It’s seriously night and day, and I think it’s unfair and racist! Granted, I have done zero research, and my conclusions are based only on the premise that poor, dark people are always getting fucked, but still… c’mon!
Do the grungy, low-life inhabitants of my tiny little patch of Phoenix not deserve fresh produce, properly stocked shelves, or dry goods that have yet to expire? Must we remain complacent when we know, good and God-damned well, that ALL the strawberries in the container, underneath the top layer, are moldy? Can a brother get a gallon of milk without dirty fingerprints all over the jug, and with a “sell by date” longer than two days? And how is it possible that EVERY carton of eggs has at least one broken one?
It’s clear that at a corporate level, grocery stores set aside the B-grade products for the poor people. Yet, they charge the same amount. This may sound cynical, but I might go as far as to guess that they actually transfer the unfit-for-purchase produce from the nicer stores to the crappy ones. Either way you look at it, in my mind, that’s discrimination! Why should my bell peppers be wrinkled and soft while others enjoy firm, unblemished ones? Why should I have to throw out 75% of my cilantro bunch because it’s all slimy and brown, while someone just 10 miles away gets to have lush green cilantro that snaps when you bend it? Why?!?! WHY?!?!? And another thing… what the hell is that weird smell in Food City?
In a way I feel satisfyingly self-righteous to finally be part of an oppressed group. Don’t get me wrong, I always think “The Man” is sticking it to me, but I rarely get a platform to express my indignation without seeming like a bitter, angry white guy. This time, however, I think my outrage can not only be justified but supported by my fellow neighborhood cretins. I believe grocery inequality has gone ignored for way too long, and I am going to do something about it! Starting now, I will boycott all grocery stores!!! I will start an Urban Agriculture Initiative and begin planting my own fruits and vegetables in the vacant lot next to the homeless guy! Together, we will use our own bodily waste to fertilize the crops (and maybe use a little to smear on my neighbor’s door knob for disturbing me at night with their loud domestic violence). I will then hire said homeless guy to run our own community Farmer’s Market, and after we put the local grocery chain stores out of business, we’ll move to the next city and show them how to start their own homeless poop gardens! From there, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York! And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House! Yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaah!!!
Who’s with me?!?!?