Photo Credit: Luca Cinacchio
Late last week a story broke about a new study that shows that people that buy organic products are self righteous snobs. My initial reaction was to laugh out loud…literally. Then I got mad; like, really mad. Then I did some reflection over the weekend because I wanted to be honest with myself & you. Here are my thoughts.
The idea that people that buy organic items are jerks simply because of their shopping habits is laughable at best. Here’s a news flash: People are jerks because of their attitudes, not what they buy. I’ve met many people that are jerks that buy all overly refined, chemical laden items & I’ve met people that were jerks that buy hand crafted, artisanal products. It’s not what’s in their shopping carts that dictates their behavior, it’s what is in their hearts.
What also troubled me about this study, is that it’s insulting. The stereotype of organic foodies being rude & greedy is just as offensive as the stereotype that people that buy cheese in a can are lazy & uneducated. Could you find examples of both stereotypes on any given day? I’m sure you could. However I’ve met many people that are hard working, honest people that like cheese in a can & I’ve met lots of people that purchase organic products & they would give you the shirt off their backs.
Here is where my self reflection comes in to play: I’ll admit that in the past, I may have been a bit arrogant about my shopping habits. There, I said it. Not intentionally, but rather because I am very passionate about the idea that organic products are better for our environment. This does not mean that I looked down on others that didn’t agree with me, nor did I think I was better than them. If I’m being perfectly honest, I think my attitude at the time was that I thought I was better informed on the subject. This possibly made me a little big for my britches, so to speak.
Does that mean I refused to help others, volunteer, or hoard my money? Uh….no. I have volunteered at numerous organizations over the years, I have donated money to both charitable organizations & panhandlers on the street corner, & I take issue with some university telling me otherwise. There are lots of people with very little money that are committed to eating organic foods, either by saving in other areas or growing their own. Does this make them jerks? No, it makes them good stewards of our planet. To imply they are jerks because of their shopping habits is offensive. To imply that I would walk past a man on the street & turn my nose up at him because I have a bag full of organic produce is offensive. And if you know me at all, you know that my daughter & I often buy food or hand out money to the people on the street corners…because it’s the decent thing to do. Because I am teaching my child to take care of others, just like I am teaching her to care for our planet by buying organic products.
Lastly, I have shopped at major chain stores (Fred Meyer, QFC, Albertsons, etc) & specialty stores (PCC Natural Markets, Whole Foods Market, Central Market, etc) all over the Puget Sound & I have never, ever seen an employee berate a customer for what they buy or their lack of reusable shopping bags. Never. The idea that a store would stay in business while employing staff like this is insane. But hey, it makes for a good story, right?
So, shame on you Loyola & the media for making organic consumers look like rich, greedy jerks. And if you are a jerk…whether you buy organic or not…shame on you.