Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Bad Apples

Every day, out there in the modern world, human beings are undermining their own systems.

You go into the local grocery and look around. You don’t like the prices. Everything is far too expensive.

How can the price of a single apple be over a dollar?

You have made it so.

When you went into the same store sometime in the past to purchase a bag of apples you started this process of forcing the world to accommodate your unnatural expectations.  A few of the apples you purchased had spots on them. They were not as aesthetically pleasing as you wished them to be. You returned the bag of apples and requested a new bag. The new apples were beautiful and blemish free and this made you very happy.

What happened behind the scenes of the apple exchange is how you unwittingly elevated the price of apples for everyone.

The produce clerk had to throw out the returned apples. The grocery store had to record a loss on an entire bag since a new bag was also taken. Due to logistics and probably some short-sightedness on the business end of things, those “bad apples” had to be thrown out rather than possibly donated to a homeless shelter or shipped off to an impoverished nation.

Unwilling to take a loss as a company, the grocery store made sure that they charged enough for each and every apple that this loss wouldn’t harm their bottom line.

Additionally (further up the chain of things), it came to the attention of the apple growers that people are not willing to purchase unattractive apples. These big business farmers had to find ways of producing larger quantities of picture perfect products. Upon discovering that insects were to blame for a good portion of blemishes on their fruit, they found methods of dealing with them. They also discovered additives that could yield larger fruit and greater quantities of fruit.

After great research and expense, insecticides, pesticides and growth enhancers were manufactured and tested on food products so that the “quality” of those products could be improved upon.
The added expense of this research and equipment was of course tacked on to the cost of the product. The grocery stores now had to pay more for the incoming apples. They therefore had to further increase the retail price to offset this increased cost.

Somewhere during this time, you had been enjoying these now beautiful, crisp, delicious apples, all the while angry at the grocery store for their ridiculous prices.

With every beautiful apple you ate you also ingested the insecticides and pesticide and grown enhancers that were responsible for your beautiful fruit. When you found out that these products were harmful to your health you became outraged.

Perhaps going organic could solve everything.

But, when you went into the organic section you were shocked and appalled. These products were twice as expensive as the regular products! How can this be? Wasn’t it all of the additives and processing that made the regular fruit so expensive? Shouldn’t organic actually be cheaper? No. It clearly should not. Unless you are finally willing to purchase an ugly apple, with spots and deformities and everything that goes along with it.

Organic products don’t have chemicals to rely on to make them beautiful and perfect. Organic crop growers have to find alternate methods of dealing with pests and imperfections. They lose a lot more crops this way and the crops yield less fruit than those of their chemically altered counterparts.

They can’t afford to sell you their products for less and still produce the beauty and perfection that you demand.

If we didn’t demand perfection and could accept that nature has flaws, an apple wouldn’t cost a dollar-fifty and our children wouldn’t be getting poisoned by the very fruit that is intended to make them healthy.

If only we could  accept the occasional bad apple.