Stef (firecat) wrote,
Stef
firecat

Rant of the day



I use the http://planetorganics.com organic produce and grocery service. They deliver groceries once a week or once every other week, and you can either be surprised by the produce package they put together or order your own produce and groceries online. I like their produce. Their grocery selection leaves something to be desired, but they're trying. I support them because it's one of my ethical tenets to try to eat more organic food from small growers and humanely raised meat. I don't do it because I think it's healthier, because I am not aware of any firm evidence that organic food is really healthier than non-organic. If it is, that would be a nice bonus, but it's not particularly relevant to me.

The problem is that someone in their marketing department thinks that everyone who cares about organic produce is a fitness nut. Their weekly newsletter tends to include a column about fitness with an emphasis on training like an athlete, as if everybody thinks that's an important goal.

They just sent me a request to fill out a survey. It includes the following:
   Your opinion is important to us - so when you complete the survey by
   November 30, 2004, you'll be entered to win a FREE gift -- a terrific
   "Get Fit in the New Year" package including:
     * A one hour personal fitness consultation  from
       nationally-syndicated columnist, TV host and fitness guru Eric
       Harr
     * An autographed copy of the his New York Times Best Seller,
       Triathlon Training in Four Hours a Week
     * And the top of the line Polar M32 Heart Rate Monitor that
       calculates the calories and fat you burn during exercise

I don't even know where to begin in my objections to this. OK, let's start with "Get Fit in the New Year."

I hate "Get Fit," because it's missing something very important - fit for what? Of course "everybody knows" that "Fit" in this idiom means physical ability. But physical ability to do what? It's an empty container just waiting to swallow all sorts of unrelated notions of physical health and then spit them back out covered in moral righteousness. If you're not physically able, then you're not "fit," and if you're not "fit," that means you're not worthy as a human being.

"A one hour personal fitness consultation from nationally-syndicated columnist, TV host and fitness guru" - I can't begin to describe the disgust and dread this prospect inspires, or the lack of respect I have for people who derive their expert status from the fact that they write a column, host a TV show, and misuse the word for a Hindu or Tibetan Buddhist spiritual teacher.

"An autographed copy of the his New York Times Best Seller, Triathlon Training in Four Hours a Week" - Can you imagine how irrelevant a book with this title is to a fat over-40 geek whose idea of exercise is wrangling large dogs at the local animal shelter and taking Afro-Cuban dance classes at the local fat-friendly women's gym?

"top of the line Polar M32 Heart Rate Monitor that calculates the calories and fat you burn during exercise" - Because of course the only point of exercising is to keep track of how much weight and fat you are getting rid of.

It happens that I'm physically able enough to engage in the type of exercise that can be tracked on a heart rate monitor, but what about the people who aren't, because they have mobility limitations or pain or fatigue when they do traditional aerobic exercise?

I'm sorry that my produce service is sending the message that the opinions of such people don't matter in this survey. I'm especially sorry because it seems like it would have been so darn easy for them to offer a thank-you gift of something they knew their customers would like - for example, maybe a gift certificate for ORGANIC FOOD? Or at least they could have offered a choice between such a gift and the fitness-nut gift.

OK, having dispensed my rant, I'm going to walk to the new Trader Joe's that just opened up half a mile from my house. Without counting the calories and fat I'm burning.
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