This weekend, I was at Eastern Market, I was approached while enjoying an orange with my son and uncle by a guy. This happens all the time in eastern market, there's always someone circulating a petition for one reason or another.
So anyway, this guy interrupts our orange related bliss to talk about linking liquor licenses to not having expired food on the shelves, if the liquor store also sells food.
I stated I thought liquor licenses were stupid anyway, and didn't like how complicated they already are, and how they shouldn't pass laws making them more complex, and frankly, I don't understand why we require a special license to sell alcohol at all.
He agreed (!) saying that he didn't like liquor licenses either. So I asked him why he was making an already generally absurd process even more complex, especially since selling expired food is already a health department violation, and this really adds nothing but complexity to a process I already didn't support.
He explains how it would just force people to carry fresh food. I asked how, since they already were in violation of the law and they did not care. And again, that I didn't like that a special permit is required to sell alcohol.
So he started getting agitated with me about it, and I broke it down for him:
"You want me to support making a license I think should be abolished specifically because the rules surrounding them are already onerous and often absurd MORE COMPLICATED, in order to stop people who are violating the law by creating an additional law that they'd be breaking.". Then I just stare at him.
He walks past me and screams "F*** you, man" in front of me and my kid. I yelled "stay classy" as he walked away.
Am I missing something, or was that guy just crazy?
7 thoughts on “"F* you, man"”
Funny you should say that it's illegal to sell expired food, since there is a wholesale grocery store south of Fremont (Newaygo mailing address) that sells almost nothing but expired food, at least as far as packaged goods go. I'm not talking about things like meat or milk, but for example they were selling gallon bottles of Apple Juice (the label said Apple Cider but it was really more like juice) that had a sell by date in January, yet I bought one a couple weeks ago. It tastes fine, by the way.
I asked about it and one of the employees told me that they will sell stuff that's no more than six months out of date, and they do sometimes pull stuff of the shelves and open it to taste test it, and throw it out if it's no good. I noted they also had a lot of stuff in damaged packaging, where for example an outer box had been partially crushed but the product inside was fine.
So either it's not really illegal to sell outdated product, or they get away with it because it's run by the Amish. All the employees seem to be young women and are obviously Amish (must be a more liberal order because their clothes are blue, not black). Obviously, this store did not carry anything alcoholic.
There's a few other things about the place that make you wonder, such as that there is a porta-potty across the parking lot from the entrance (no inside bathrooms that I could see) and the refrigerator/freezer section was kept cool by a diesel truck refrigeration unit. I didn't think to look at how they lighted the place; I wish I'd paid attention to that now. Oh, and there was the faint but unmistakable odor of horse sh-t out in the parking lot. Yet most of the customers were coming by car, not horse and buggy (though I did see a couple of those on the way there), and the place was doing a fairly brisk business considering it was literally in the middle of nowhere.
If there IS a law against selling expired food, I wonder if they look the other way when it's a religious group involved?
Jack: It's already a federal crime to deal in raw milk and there have been grand jury investigations even in Detroit). I'm sure it would be no different for Mennonites with expired apple juice, and depending on the product there are guidelines. You might be able for your small business to get approval if you're extremely wealthy.
I am thinking specifically of things regulated by this law:
Which yes, does forbid the sales of expired food, except under certain conditions.
Ah, I think I see the loophole:
(4) A retail food establishment shall not sell or offer for sale any of the following foods under the following circumstances:
(b) After the date, nonperishable food or prepackaged perishable food unless the food is wholesome and sound and is clearly identified as having passed the date.
The store has signs (well, at least one sign that I specifically remember seeing) noting that some of the food sold may be past the expiration date. I forget the exact language they used, but given that this was Newaygo County, that was probably sufficient to "clearly identify" the food as being past the date.
Virtually everything in the store seemed to fall into one of three categories:
1) What appeared to be repacked bulk food put into individual round see-through containers. I think it was supposed to be "organic" because it sure was priced that way. I avoided that stuff because it was too expensive and because I had no idea under what conditions it had been packaged or repackaged. I had visions of some kid coming in from milking the cows and then using his or her bare, unwashed hands to scoop ingredients into containers (remember that odor I mentioned in the parking lot?).
2) Prepackaged commercial food – basically the type of stuff you'd find in the grocery aisles at Meijer, except it was generally a few weeks to a few months out of date. I did buy a few of those items because nothing was really that far out, and I've been known to eat things that I've discovered on archaeological digs through cupboards (I think I once ate a box of crackers that was about five years beyond the sell-by date. They looked and tasted fine, and I didn't get sick).
3) Refrigerated and frozen food. They didn't really have much of anything that interested me but I did buy a couple packages of bagels and they were fresh, with an expiration date in May.
So I have a feeling that the sign in their store gets them a pass in Newaygo County. In Detroit they may have slightly different standards (perhaps requiring more signs, or even a label on every product) but as you probably know, the Amish tend to get away with things that the rest of us might not be able to because they cluster together in one area and characterize what they do as freedom of religion. I mean, YOU try building a home (never mind a store) with no indoor plumbing or electricity, and see if the building inspector doesn't shut you down!
He sound to me like someone who didn't think their petition through well enough to engage in an intellectually honest discussion about it, and doesn't even have their own position defined well enough in the first place to do so intelligently. So, instead of admitting that he should probably go back to the drawing board on this one, he attacked you personally, because he doesn't have the humility and backbone (and yes, the two go hand-in-hand in an emotionally healthy person) to admit that he needs to get his own shit straight before he goes asking other people to support it. I don't know if he's crazy, so much as misguided in his attempt to force stores in the food desert to carry fresh items – which will never happen via legislation.
Seems absurd when you can go to a free food pantry and see stuff that's generally past expiry date, so why should that be imposed on businesses that have to pay to exist? Unless it's being prepared for you, so long as you *have* an expiry date or other appropriate information to make a decision whether to eat it, it seems it's up to the consumer to make the rational decision. Not all food past expiry date is necessarily spoiled, nor is food before expiry date unspoiled.
Obviously, if a store gets a bad reputation for selling expired/spoiled food, most people won't continue to shop there once they get sick, and word would spread fast.