Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Tao of Asparagus Prices

No doubt the headline German Woman Beaten Up Over Asparagus Prices at first made some people chuckle. And then dismiss this as an unfortunate, but freak occurrence. After all, if the man thought the seller’s price was too high, then the logical thing to do in the market economy is seek out a vendor offering the same delicacy at a lower price. And normally, of course, people who thought the goods were grossly overpriced would just move on.

It gives me no pleasure to say this — because I will be personally affected someday — but we are looking at the future here, my friends. The era of cheap food is ending, and this incident is a harbinger of what will happen on a large scale as more and more people are outraged at what they perceive to be “overpriced” food. I myself may be punched out by some “consumer” who thinks my rice is outrageously priced. And in time food theft will become endemic.

One more point to make: Cheap, industrially produced food has made us forget the real value of food. We live at the end of an age in which stuffing “consumers” with sugar, fat, and all kinds of processed foods is an industry, and eating is something that people do as a form of recreation or entertainment. But as “putting food on your family” (I love that phrase) gets to be increasingly difficult, and even desperate — as not a few people are already finding — our perception of eating and food will change dramatically, and “weight watching” will take on a whole new meaning.

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