Sunday, November 05, 2006

Behind the Counter

The other day, I was in the enemy territory of a for-profit retailer, and noticed the following in the decongestant aisle:

It pleased me to see that purchasing this product (which you should never do, as it only enriches the pharmaceutical corporatists) now requires three steps:

1. Go to the decongestant aisle

2. Bring this slip of paper to the pharmacy

3. Accept product

It brings back memories of the compassionate Soviet system, where you would

1. Find a product

2. Stand on line to exchange it for a voucher

3. Stand on another line to exchange the voucher and your payment for a receipt

4. Stand on a third line to exchange the receipt for the product

The main difference, of course, is that under socialism, you would not be enriching said corporatists.

But otherwise, it is a step in the right direction – and was endorsed in 513 beautifully-written words of prose by Senator Feinstein.

I laud any effort to move decisions from uninformed consumers to knowledgeable experts – and I envision a day when all purchases will need to be approved for the good of the consumer.

In fact, I even brought it up at a meeting of my food co-op board. I demanded that our open shelves be closed and that all requests for food must be submitted in quadruplicate to the co-op leaders, who would then carefully review each item for approval.

Of course, our Consumer’s Co-op Bill of Rights would require a response within ninety days. Or, failing that, a decision deferral would be returned within said ninety days.

Some decisions…no, all decisions are too important to be left to the common person.


Anonymous said...

Step 2 should read: Everyone would be given a monthly allocation of vouchers with the same amount allocated to each person.

Note that not all products were subject to this system. The voucher system worked for vodka, butter, meat, sausages, cheese and suger. Everything else could be bought without vouchers, if you could find it, which you couldn't. Having a voucher was no guarantee that the product would be in the shop either.

A nice touch was that vodka vouchers were allocated to each person, including babies. However party workers had special shops. The shops were special because not only they had goods, but the prices were from 1920s, not taking inflation into account.

You are making me feel so nostalgic!

Speaks Truth to Chimps said...

In my country (the glorious People's Republic of Washington State), we have additional steps after step 2.

3. Show photo ID.

4. Sign your name as a Registered Sudafed Offender, with the amount that you wish to purchase (witnessed by the teenage "pharmacist").

5. And lastly, you are told that they don't have it in stock. Ha, ha, ha! Funny joke eh?

They do sell an alternative product that doesn't work as well, and that lasts 4 hours (really 2 1/2) instead of 24, so it is much like drinking tepid water with a twist of lemon instead of the People's Vodka. Sure it doesn't get you drunk, but at least you're drinking something.

Professor Peter Kurgman, PhD, PhD, PhD said...

Photo ID! An excellent idea!

We'll need to implement that at the food co-op: Photo IDs and signatures for a chance to buy a cucumber.

We will also need to persuade the City Council to abolish all other supermarkets so that the food co-op can have a level playing field with itself.

Speaks Truth to Chimps said...

The "/* is not just the latest, coolest emoticon that all the dope fly kids are using these days, yo, it's also how an attempt to use html for italics around the word "something" was interpreted.

Some things are better left unexplained? For what is life without mystery.

Perhaps your co-op could adopt the Sudafed example. Government-approved bags of The People's Human Kibble could be obtained relatively painlessly, while other items would require photo ID, registration, humiliation, and lengthy waiting periods. Thus free choice is maintained, but a subtle push in the direction of what's best for you is ensured.

Red Tulips said...

Professor Kurgman:

All supermarkets can be elliminated, but not Whole Foods, because they sell many organic products, so they are totally fine!

And organic products are always the way to go, always!

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