Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pound for pound

Hello and welcome to Consumers' Corner, where we will address marketplace issues that affect us all.

First up is this report from New York, New York - "the town so nice they named it New York." Their Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Julie Menin, says Whole Foods supermarkets have made a habit of cheating their customers by overstating the weight of prepackaged meat, dairy and baked goods.

Let's talk about these stores.  Since it's hard for me to distinguish among Whole Foods, Fresh Market, MOM'S Organic Market, and the dim aisle with wooden floors and track lighting in Wegmans, I just call them all "The Hippie Store."  They all have great heaping bins full of granola and bulgur wheat and brown rice and dried kale and seeds and nuts and flours and grains and split peas and lentils
and I don't know what-all else, and in those plastic tubs, one can find most anything they want to eat, as long as one doesn't want it to be especially tasty or easy to prepare.

"Mantequilla" is Spanish
for "butter"
I get so confused with the news about food anyway. One day bacon and coffee are bad for you and wine and chocolate are good for you, and the next day, they change places.  And then, you study Spanish and find out that butter is meant to kill ya.

Lentils, Peas and Rice: America's Snack!
But, whether it's the deli at Try 'N' Buy or the upscale slice-a-rama at the swanky stores, a pound of ground beef should weigh 16 ounces anywhere.  Even if it's not all beef.  Just saying.

In New York, the Consumer Affairs Department examined 80 pre-packaged WF products and found incorrect weights for each.  You'd have paid  - overpaid -  80 cents for a package of pecan panko. And that's assuming that you even meant to purchase pecan panko.  If you were buying coconut shrimp, you were really in for a hosing, to the tune of a $14.84 markup.

Check out the video before you check out at the grocery store! You'll be a-gassed, as they say.

Nathan Thurm, Attorney
By the way, you have to like the guy from Whole Foods whose advice to you is to challenge the store to be certain that 8-oz package of gluten-free organic Gluten you just picked up really weighs half a pound. Go weigh it yourself, if you don't trust us, he admonishes. Dear Whole Foods, you might want to get a public spokesperson who doesn't remind us all of Nathan Sturm, Martin Short's lawyer character on SNL...

And our next letter comes from Mr D. Sweat of Clinton State Prison in New York State.  Mr Sweat writes: "OK, me and my partner Rich bought a pound of ground beef to cook in our cell in our little toaster oven, but when we opened that package, inside the meat we found hacksaw blades and drill bits in it.  We think there was something wrong with that meat; every since we done ate it, we've been breaking out."

Answer to Mr Sweat:  Is there too much lead in your diet?

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