Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Dilemmas of Shopping

I decided that I wanted to make fish for dinner. The closest, nicer fish can be found at Whole Foods and since it's usually an interesting store to walk around, that's where I went.

The store was actually pretty empty (because really, who can afford to shop there!) and there was one guy doing double duty behind the meat and fish counters. So before he could help me on the fish side of the counter, he had to finish weighing and packaging something on the meat side.

I told him I wanted salmon, and as he reached for the fillet, I asked if he had changed gloves. He looked at me a little strangely. I told him (politely) that I'd like him to change gloves, and then mentioned that it was good that I wasn't from the health department.

Since he did change gloves, I continued with my purchase.

And then I had to decide if I should say something to anyone else about my experience. I decided that I wouldn't mention it to the guy behind the customer service counter. I'm sure he would pretend to care, and maybe even would for a minute, but I wasn't confident that my concerns would be passed to anyone who could make sure that the guy behind the counter got some "safe meat and fish handling re-education".

I decided that I would write a comment on the comment card. Most of the comments that they post are of the "I love Whole Foods" variety. I was pretty sure that my comment wasn't going to be posted, so I didn't bother with the "I love Whole Foods" line. Plus, I enjoy looking around, but I don't actually love Whole Foods.

So I wrote up my experience, and then had two more decisions to make. Should I include the offender's name? And should I include my name and contact information. On the first question, I decided that since I was hopeful that this was an isolated incident, I would include the name of the counter guy and hope that someone would make him re-read the safety practices.

The second question took a little more thought (which is not a problem, since I have a lot of them). Their comment board asks you to leave their name and contact information if you want a reply to your comment. I certainly didn't need a reply, but I wasn't sure if it was okay to include his name and not mine. I decided that since two witnesses are required in Jewish law, and I had been alone at the counter, that it was not a question of being a witness. I wasn't sure that relaying an experience was actually accusing him of something, so it wasn't about him knowing his accuser. And I didn't require a personal call back. So I didn't leave my name.

Of course, I probably won't buy fish again at Whole Foods.... Next time I'll make the drive back out to Costco.


Anonymous said...

I seriously think a lot of people who are in glove-wearing occupations think the purpose of wearing gloves is to keep their own hands clean. I watched the sandwich lady at [insert name of university here] sneeze into her gloved hand, and then proceed to make me a sandwich. She really did not understand why I wanted her to change her gloves.

Anonymous said...

I haven't actually seen anyone sneeze into their gloves (ewhhh), but have witnessed sandwich makers go back and forth between making sandwiches and making change!(without changing gloves) As for the fish seller, I would have been more concerned about the kashrut issue than the sanitation. When I bought fish for supper tonight (ruby red trout), I asked the person behind the counter (as I usually do) to please go to the back room and get me fresh pieces from the supply in back (so they haven't been handled with untensils that might have touched other fish.) I know this isn't foolproof (kashrut-wise) but it does make me feel better.

lori said...

I agree that a lot of people who are in sandwich or food preparing glove-wearing occupations think that as long as they are not touching the food going from meat to tuna is no big deal. I have asked for a glove switch between sandwiches many times. In the medical setting where I work we actually wash our hands or use hand sanitizer when taking off or changing gloves.

Anonymous said...

Yeahhhh! for Lori. If everyone did that, we'd all be much safer.

Anonymous said...

A- I'm more than anything, impressed and somewhat amused at your thought process re: the requirement for two witnesses from the Jewish perspective and knowing one's accuser.... I love the way your mind works!!!! That being said, good for your for both calling the guy on not having changed gloves and for making a comment about it. Hopefully, he will go through re-education as will all their other employees...