I was in the grocery store the other day buying groceries because that’s what I’m told adults do. Apparently, as you “mature” you stop eating out and you start cooking from home. I don’t know. That’s just what I’ve been told.
It’s ironic though because when you’re a kid all you want to do is eat out, ya know? And if you were like me you were always begging your mom to take you to McDonald’s. I distinctly remember how devastating it was when we didn't get to eat out, and I know what you’re thinking: "wow, I bet he and his mom had a terrible relationship." It wasn't because I didn’t like my mother’s cooking. I mean, I didn’t like my mother’s cooking, but that’s not why I always wanted to go to McDonald’s. I just thought McDonald’s was the greatest place on earth.
And now that I’m an adult, I know for a fact that McDonald’s is...the greatest place on earth.
So, when I was a kid I always told myself that when I grew up, I was going to eat out whenever I wanted. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I was going to eat at all the highest-end places there were: McDonald’s, Burger King, DQ, Racetrack. Ya know, the cream of the crop. So when I grew up, I did just that. And you know what? It was amazing. I was unimaginably happy.
And then I ran out of money.
Because what my parents didn’t tell me as a child is that it’s expensive to eat out. I now realize that as a family of nine, eating out was not in the best interest of our respective college funds. Poor Sam, he’s the youngest, is going to be homeschooled through college because of how much we forced our parents to eat out. But anyway, I’ve learned now that adults have budgets and we have to be responsible with our money blah blah blah eat healthy whatever.
So I started shopping at grocery stores. Whole Foods at first, until I realized it was actually cheaper to eat out for every meal than it was to shop at Whole Foods a.k.a The Ritz Carlton of grocery. Then I tried Trader Joe’s because I’m a millennial. Next, I went through a Target phase, because I’m poor but I appreciate cleanliness. Inevitably, I digressed to Wal-Mart because I’m still poor and my standards aren’t as high as they once were. I even had to abandon Wal Mart though because every time I went there I would spend 45 minutes looking through the $5 DVD bin for some reason. I don’t know what I was hoping to find. I don’t even have a DVD player because I had to sell it to pay for groceries back when I was shopping at Whole Foods.
And now I’m at Aldi’s because I’m poor and I have no standards. It’s fine. Everything is fine.
So anyway, I was in Aldi’s the other day shopping for groceries and I was in the lunch meat section because I’m a damn chef when I want to be. A chef that makes a mean turkey sandwich. I’ll even toast the bread if it’s a special occasion, but that’s really only for birthdays and holidays and black history month.
So I’m buying turkey meat and of course there’s 600 different options, all the exact same, all varying within ten cents of the same price. But I, like a normal human being, spend fifteen minutes evaluating the brands, looking for the best bargain. I’m counting the slices of turkey in each container, checking the prices, comparing. And after about a half hour I realize there isn’t that much of a difference between $2.19 and $2.35 for turkey and I would have been better off ya know working at my job for thirty minutes instead of standing here like a moron. But it’s too late now, so I grab the $2.19 turkey package and I read the label which says “Made from 100% turkey.”
And I think, "that’s great this is exactly what I’m looking for." I put the turkey in my cart and I begin to walk away. After taking two steps, I stop…….And I reach into my cart and pull out this package of turkey again and I look at it and it still says “made from 100% turkey.” And now I’m thinking, well what else would it be made of? Forgive me for coming to the turkey section of the lunch meats and expecting to buy 100% turkey.
Now, at this point, I think, "ya know that’s probably just a disclaimer that they all have to put on their labels, no big deal," and I start to walk away again. But I can’t. Because now I have to know. Are the other turkey packages 100% turkey? And you want to know what? They weren’t. Not. A Single. Clucking. One.
I couldn’t believe it. Here I am, thinking I’m comparing turkey meats when in reality, no one knows what type of meat I’m holding! And I try to justify it to myself, thinking "well maybe all of these are 99% turkey ya know," but that’s even worse! Because then you know for a fact that 1% of whatever it is you’re eating is NOT TURKEY. You bought turkey but you are eating an entirely different animal. How is that ok? I half expected the back label on some of these packages to read “99% turkey and 1% cat liver.” Like they’re expecting people to read that and go, “well, no one's perfect” and put it in their cart and walk away.
In fact, that would have been even better than just saying 99% turkey without specifying what the other 1% is. Even 1% baby monkey would be better than 1% undefined. Like, do they not know what it is? How do they not know???
I couldn’t believe it, but here’s where my mind takes me to places I don’t need to go because I began to think about how many of the items in a grocery store claim to be 100% of what they say they are. Like, this is some massive level of deception going on right in front of our faces. You don’t see labels on Oreos that say “made from 100% Oreos.” Or you know Honey Nut Cheerios, “made from 100% honey nuts.” Like, who can I believe anymore? Every single product in this grocery store is lying to me except for this one package of turkey. 100% turkey.
Now, I tell you this story as a warning. Go home and check the labels on your lunch meat because who knows what you've been eating all this time. And when you realize that only 99% of your lunch meats are what they say they are, don't panic. You know why? Because we still have McDonald’s. Made from 100% McDonald’s.