Life As We Know It: August 19, 2013

     Should the government run health care? You can make an argument either way and just about everyone has an opinion. Perhaps the CEO of the “Whole Foods” market chain wishes he had kept his to himself. John P. Mackey offered as how it would be a big mistake for the feds to take over health care. I’m not saying he’s right or wrong, but his strong stance didn’t sit well with the folks who, after family, should matter the most: his customer base.

    Whole Foods has carved out a special niche in the grocery industry by going green -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, says their website. They cater to people who search out organic figs and Buddha’s hand and edamame and other exotic things you might not find at Wal-Mart. Many if not most of those folks fit, shall we say, a liberal stereotype, which means they might be more receptive to a government-administered program.

    After Mr. Mackey’s strong words in a Wall Street Journal column, they got upset. A “Boycott Whole Foods” group sprang to life on Facebook, and pickets showed up at selected market locations. You could almost hear the gnashing of teeth in the public relations department at Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, Texas.

    Mr. Mackey went on the company blog to say his views were his own, not his firm’s. But the Facebook group was quickly up to 22,000 members, many of whom vowed to shop somewhere else for their kiwi-mango juice and ginger roots.
This will pass, and Whole Foods will survive. But it should be a lesson learned, and it’s worth repeating: In retail, if the customers ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

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    It’s unlikely I’ll ever own a race horse, but if that day should come, I’ve got a name already picked out: Haulin’ Oats. If you get the word play there, your taste in music is about as old as mine.

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    I learned something new on a recent drive through Illinois. The northern Illinois community of Dixon is Ronald Reagan’s hometown. The town pays homage to its favorite son -- signs guide you to his old home, for example. But I thought outlawing left turns was a bit much.

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    I once knew a guy who was looking for something different for his bachelor party. He saw a billboard that said “Drink Canada Dry.” So he and his buddies went to Toronto and darned near did.

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    If you have a bunch of coins in your pocket, say three quarters, seven dimes, and four pennies, that’s $1.49. But if somebody asks you if you can make change for a dollar, you can’t. Three quarters, seven dimes, four pennies. Can’t do it.

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    Something I learned while looking up something else: The highest point in Pennsylvania is still lower than the lowest point in Colorado. It sounds just wacky enough to be true.

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    I saw a sign at a fast-food place in Bowling Green: “Drive-thru open ’til 3 a.m., Monday through Sunday.” I guess if you stop by any other night, you’re out of luck.

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    When I want to sound especially well-read at some social gathering, I just start quoting Kafka, even though I have no idea who he or she is.

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Finally, speaking of quotes, one of my all-time favorites, attributed to the late great comedian George Burns on the occasion of his 100th birthday: “Oh, to be 70 again.”


twalton@theblade.com

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