Convenience is killing us.
I say that in regard, mostly, to how “convenience” food is anything but for ones health and well being, but what got me thinking about this was bank fraud.
I had to write a check on the joint account I have with my father to pay for his long term care facility so I went online to check the account. There’s virtually no activity in that account: his pension and SS come in and I write checks to the facility. So it was pretty noticeable when there were two checks written against the account for $1100 that should not be there. Two checks by a dude named “Richard Jones” in PA written to Kay Jewelers and, laughably, a bar (a bar that takes checks, apparently). The account numbers were the only legitimate part of the checks so “Richard Jones” in Bridgeport, PA gets to write checks on my father’s NJ account to buy cheap tequila and expensive earrings for his ladylove.
The fact that a check written by “Richard Jones” in PA would be cashed against an account in NJ for someone whose name is not anywhere close to “Richard Jones” evidences that nobody is reading anything. They had the right account number so they go through. No cross check for name against account info. The computer was satisfied, the system worked, millions of transactions, the money flows in and out of accounts all over the world and even NJ. The price paid for the lightning speed of finance is that it’s remarkably easy for “Richard Jones” to buy drinks and baubles with my father’s money. Convenience for him. Sudden inconvenience for me.
So long as people don’t take advantage of the system, it’s all good. But shit happens because there are shitty people who take advantage, and then what? Hours wasted trying to fix the situation. All in all even at the height of frustration dealing with the bank’s fraud department or the local cops (who demurred from even making a report because the crime took place in PA, so they’re relying on the bank’s fraud dept. to figure it out.), I guess I’ll take ATMs, online purchasing, instant credit and all the conveniences so long as the inconveniences are minimized.
This led me back to food. The key word that the food giants use in developing food products is “convenience”. All the processed food in the middle aisles of the supermarket are there for your convenience so you don’t actually have to consider raw materials and spend time cooking them. Mac and cheese, frozen pizza, chips, cookies, pastas, etc. all created, developed and formulated to be irresistibly easy to buy and eat. And in the eating hit that “bliss point” so the fat, sugar and salt take your brain to paradise so you buy and eat more… like narcotics.
Numbers of people have been revolting from this convenience system for years now, eschewing the foods modified by the words “fast” and “processed”. Another word for the slow food movement could be “inconvenience food.” You have to shop daily for freshness, you have to travel to farmer’s markets, and you have to cook it yourself, taking time, effort, thought. Thought. You have to think about things that some people, apparently, just don’t want to think about. They just want delicious to happen. They’re either taking it on faith that nutrition and health will follow, or, aware that it won’t, accept that it’s not a priority.
Every direction you turn your eyes in public you will see people who are conveniencing themselves to death. So the question is how convenient is it to be 55 years old, 70 pounds overweight, diabetic and missing part of your foot due to ever present “complications”?
The bank will put the money back in my dad’s account eventually, but your health is not as easy to “put back.” We need to be inconvenienced more.