Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Foodmaster Food Pyramid

The Foodmaster has a pretty high-tech receipt printing system, for such an overall low-tech (and some might say low-brow) grocery store. In addition to printing out an itemized list of everything you just bought, the Foodmaster receipt printing system separates them all by category. This is sort of like how some credit card statements break down what you bought into handy groups. At the Foodmaster, this means that as you're leaving the store, you can reflect on the weight of your alcohol purchases compared to everything else.

Of course, the Foodmaster's high-tech system doesn't make things too complicated. At first, I thought there were actually only four categories in place: meat, grocery, produce, and beer. If that isn't an advertisement for America then I don't know what is. Whoever came up with these categories obviously thought that wine was just a glorified, purple beer. "BEER - Napa Ridge Cab" and "BEER - R.R. Chardonnay" mark recent receipts.

As a vegetarian, I'm fortunate that my white-trash neighborhood supermarket is hip enough to stock at least a few veggie-boy feel-good necessities. Walking out the market door one evening I glanced down at my receipt. "I bought meat?" Sure enough, there it was on my receipt, "MEAT - Smart Dogs" and "MEAT - LOL Swiss Cheese." The LOL stands for "Land-O-Lakes," but in this context, it sounds like the store is having a fun internet chat with me ... "MEAT - Laugh Out Loud! Haha I'm fucking with you, I'm going to put swiss cheese in the meat section!"

I imagined some poor stock boy laboriously deciding which of these four food groups to classify newly stocked products in. I imagined him staring deeply at the tofu dogs for a minute or two before finally deciding that anything shaped like a hot dog is more meat than grocery. And cheese, it comes from an animal. Meat comes from an animal. Case closed.

Then I noticed that there are more categories than just the "Big 4" outlined above. There are actually tons of categories. I don't know if I've even exhausted them all, because they're so random and pointless. There's the "DELI" category, into which a package of ordinary water crackers falls (even though it was boxed and cellophane-wrapped just like any other "grocery" product). Then there's the DAIRY ... why didn't the fucking cheese end up in dairy? Dairy is apparently reserved for liquid dairy. Solid dairy is meat, and frozen dairy has its own category as well: "FROZEN FOOD." Well this little beauty of a category is helpful. I'm glad to know that frozen peas, ice cream, and a frozen side of ribs all belong to the same organization.

That's all for now, I'm off to enjoy a nice glass of room-temperature purple beer, some swiss cheese meat, and crackers fresh from the factory, via the deli, but shelved on the other side of the store from the deli.

Thanks for making life interesting, Foodmaster.


Anonymous said...

That's hilarious! I wonder if candy has a category. What does water classify as? How about canned foods like refried beans?

Daniel Jalkut said...

The problem is, I have to buy it to find out! I guess I better find some candy I like :) I think all canned food is "Grocery," but I wouldn't bet my life on it!