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Wal-Mart: Rotten Ethics, 'Organic' Food

You've got to love Wal-Mart.  Those guys won't rest until they're sitting in a castle filled with expensive air and water while all the rest of us burn in a hell they created

When Jerry Seinfeld complained about the miseries of visiting a bank in a classic piece of stand-up, he wondered where the term "laughing all the way to the bank" came from exactly. Unable to imagine a person who could enjoy such a tedious errand, he asked, who could this satisfied customer possibly be? Seinfeld obviously hadn't taken the time to consider rich corporations and their many, many schemes.

Wal-Mart's main prerogative has and always will be ripping you off. But their products are oh-so-cheap, you say?

"Aha, screw you world!" says Wal-Mart*. "We will make sure our workers are at poverty level with such bad benefits they have to go to federal aid [sinister laugh]. Your tax dollars can go to barely support our workers, and you'll like it, too."

This May, everybody's favorite corporation has found yet another way to stick it to us. "You were enjoying organic food, were you?" says Wal-Mart.

"We'll take care of that! We are going to undermine the entire organic movement!" Thanks, guys.

After the ingenious realization that it has been letting a fad slip through its fingertips without cashing in, Wal-Mart is back on track. The company released a line of organic foods last month. The organic foods will cost 10 percent more than other foods.

Gosh, that sounds scrumpchie.

First, lets just take a moment to consider what the term Oorganic' means to you, oh gentle slug. For assistance, we'll turn to a staple of all our lives, our dear friend Joe (You may know him as Trader). The grocery store's website has a definition of organic that even those of you sans the uniform rainbow flip-flop (and just to clarify, when we say sans we mean barefoot not Prada-clad) can get down with.

"Organic farmers strive to conserve soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations," says Trader Joe's website.

Ronnie Cummins, the national director of the Organic Consumers Association, expressed his concerns with Wal-Mart's venture to organic and how it will shift the entire movement of organic, in an interview with the New York Times on May 12.

"They're going to end up outsourcing from overseas and places like China, where you've got very dubious organic standards and labor conditions that are contrary to what any organic consumer would consider equitable," Cummins said.

In an interview with Business Week Online, he expresses further concerns. Cummins worries about the general decrease in standards an obscenely wealthy corporation like Wal-Mart will inflict on organic food in general. He explains that the Organic Trade Association "lobbied for a rider, which is a clause appended to the 2006 Agricultural Appropriations Bill to weaken organic standards. The rider will allow some synthetic food substances in the preparation of organic foods.

It's no secret Wal-Mart has been working to redeem its image by trying to appear Omore green.' But who could fathom that genuine concern for the Oquality of future generations,' is the motive behind any of Wal-Mart's actions.

Oh no, Wal-Mart is just using the "entitlement generation" and all our cool trends to make a couple of extra bucks (and when we say a couple, we mean more than your liberal arts degree is ever going to make you). Lets just be honest. Wal-Mart is not hoping to assist the working-class by providing them healthier options of food at a more reasonable price. The actual goal is to get poor people to spend 10 percent more than they otherwise would on an item that is most likely going to be essentially the same as its cheaper predecessor. It's no Prada, but this is still a pretty expensive label and Wal-Mart is managing to over-charge while simultaneously improving its image. That's pretty crafty.

More than anything else, organic is about sustainability. It is a frequent misconception that organic equals healthy. This is not a steadfast rule. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has never claimed that organic food is healthier or more nutritious than any non-organic product. Instead, the USDA explains the distinction between organic versus conventionally produced food as a difference in the way organic food is grown, handled and processed. Organic foods are raised or processed without using most conventional pesticles, herbicides or commercial fertilizers. The reason why many people choose to buy organic is to support local farmers, not infamously large corporations.

Wal-Mart heads are not interested in anyone making money other than their corporation though. Instead, it is probably just going to keep throwing money around until all organic foods are at a standard Wal-Mart is happy with.

Did we say standard? We meant no standards.

And Wal-Mart, well they'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

*Wal-Mart could not actually be reached for comment. However, had it been available the writer of this editorial is fairly certain that this is how its quotes would read.