(First, a brief note.)
Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about calling in sick? My guilty conscience is getting guiltier. I’m starting to think I’ve been busted by my co-workers, and they’re just not telling me. They’ve been quiet lately and one of them made a joke the other night when I said I couldn’t come hang out with them for an event because I’d be working. “Call out sick,” she said, laughing. But I kind of feel like it was a jab. And then, before I went to bed last night, I checked my site stats and found that the only post that had been read since midnight was the one about calling in sick. And there had been no keyword searches that led the reader to it.
I’m convinced my co-workers have figured out that I have a blog, and now they know I lied.
I had a hard time sleeping.
So, if you’re one of my co-workers and I’m right, please just tell me. I’m sorry. I really am. I can’t take this.
(And if you’re not one of my co-workers and you just try to mess with my head, I will hunt you down and seek vengeance for what you put me through. Just sayin’.)
(Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…)
I went to Starbucks today to grab a sandwich at 4pm because I hadn’t eaten anything yet and the intensifying nausea in my gut was threatening to overcome me. (I get nauseous when I’m really hungry sometimes. It’s weird.) I sat down at a table to eat my natural* turkey and Swiss cheese on whole grain bread so I wouldn’t pass out on my way to the door. Opening the little eco-conscious container, I found a packet of Hellmann’s light mayonnaise with a curious bit of art on it.
“Made with cage free eggs,” it said.
This is necessary?
We have to admit that all this eco-consciousness that sprang out of the Oughts (2000 through 2009) has gone a little too far. I mean I get not wanting your kid to gnaw on a lead-painted crib (though I did, and look how well I turned out), and I get wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but free-range mayo?
Frankly, if Hellmann’s hadn’t drawn my attention to it, I might never have realized that eggs could roam about on their own if only they were liberated from their cages.
I glopped my light, cage-free-egg-containing mayo onto my whole grain bread and chewed on a thought: While it was building its brand, Starbucks also built a reputation of being environmentally conscious. Coffee shops had always been bastions of beatnik music and customers so concerned about the world’s water supply that they often skipped showers in order to conserve, but Starbucks led a worldwide corporate charge to be both ubiquitous and minimally wasteful. And that’s admirable. This particular Starbucks lives in an old, converted warehouse. No new construction, made of existing materials. It’s got exposed brick walls and an old slate floor and charming decor that was once a grain storage bin and shaft. All the wood beams high above customers’ heads are raw and rustic. The industrial hanging lights feature energy-efficient bulbs. Starbucks may have been the first massive company to prove that going green doesn’t mean losing dough.
Of course, its overpriced coffee and $5.75 natural* turkey and Swiss cheese on whole grain
bread sandwiches helped with that.
Its coffee beans are all acquired through free trade with farmers. It sells give-clean-water-to-famished-children Ethos water, and since you can’t possibly be against giving clean water to famished children, you don’t grouse about the price of it. Almost all its food packaging is environmentally friendly. The little tray in which my sandwich came was imprinted with the words “compostable materials.”
It makes you feel good to be a Starbucks customer. Being a Starbucks customer helps counteract the fact that you’re an impulse-driven, spoiled, suburban or semi-suburban, caffeine-riddled SUV owner with disposable income.
But when we start getting into free-range mayo, it’s time to pump the brakes.
I don’t need my mayonnaise to be made from the eggs of free-range hens. Any old egg will do. It’s just mayonnaise. And besides, the eggs were snatched from the warmth of their mothers’ underbellies and deprived of their chance to maximize their potential as poultry, and now we’re eating them. So this Che Guevara-cum-John Lennon, I Am the Egg Man micro-activism doesn’t serve much purpose. I’m sure the pro-cage free egg people would argue that small amounts add up to a large amount and it’s cruel to keep hens in cages and force-feed them inappropriate diets, and I can understand that, but… we’re talking about a condiment, here.
Do we really take our condiments this seriously?
With my stomach settled and my body pleasantly surprised by such health-contributing fare, I headed out to finish my errands. My head full of green thoughts, I looked around for where I should throw my compostable food packaging. And you know what I realized?
There are zero recycling bins in Starbucks. Whoa.
What a slap in the face for those hens.
*minimally processed, contains no preservatives