impulsereader: (Book Art 1)
[personal profile] impulsereader
I feel like I want to make this a weekly feature or something. There are things out there for sale that people have to be buying. If no one bought them, if there was zero demand, the market would correct itself by eventually pulling these objects from the shelves of stores, yes? I mean, I don't know much about economics but this is just common sense.

This has to be especially true of fresh food items because they have an actual shelf life. Even if you're not bothered by 'sell by' or 'use by' dates these items will eventually actually go bad and have to be disposed of because - even if I cannot understand why someone would buy it now - I'm pretty sure no one would purposely buy rotting food unless you needed it for a Sherlockian experiment of some kind.

What brought these thoughts into my head? Shrink-wrapped potatoes. Shrink-wrapped potatoes sitting next to and actually mixed in with the normal (dare I say naked?) potatoes.

I looked closely at one of the shrink-wrapped potatoes and determined that it had not been scrubbed clean before it had been dressed in its little plastic bag, sealed neatly, and slapped with a label identifying it as a potato. That eliminated the only possible reason I might be willing to pay more for this potato than the one right next to it.

Of course, the last time I asked this sort of question I learned that my entire grocery shopping strategy had evolved to account for the fact that I lived on the third floor for years and most people do in fact own enough canned goods at any one time to have to plan for moving them from house to house. So perhaps I'm just looking at it from an odd perspective and don't realize it.

Date: 2013-06-21 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
People that only eat one potato at a time?
People who don't want potato germs on the rest of their produce?
People who worry about buying potatoes that have been tampered with?
People who work for plastics companies?

Date: 2013-06-21 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh! People whose delicate sensibilities are offended by naked potatoes!

I can sort of buy the theory that you might notice the injection site more readily if someone tampered with a potato, but potato germs are eliminated by using the handy-dandy produce bags which are readily available.

I could understand it if they were wrapped in foil and ready to pop in the oven, or if they were seasoned somehow and then wrapped up ready to be cooked. But they aren't, the only difference is you don't have to pop them into a produce bag.

I just think this is so completely strange. Plastics company employees seems to be the frontrunner. I hope they're paying them more than the average joe so that they can afford their fancy potatoes.

Date: 2013-06-21 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hooray, you're back! I've missed seeing you around.

I guess some people are so used to buying packaged food that the idea of loose vegetables scares them off a bit. Maybe they're so accustomed to having food come wrapped in plastic that unpackaged vegetables don't even register with them. (Mind you, I'm not sure I want to know these people.)

By the way, we should hang out some time soon. I have a copy of Ballet Shoes for you.

Date: 2013-07-27 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This means your new volume arrived! I hope it contained the fabulous sisterly illustrations which were expected/hoped for - there was some possible doubt if I remember correctly...

In any case, hooray for the new volume. :-)

Date: 2013-07-27 01:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, the new volume has arrived, and it contains the promised illustrations. I am entirely pleased with it. So do you want the old one?

Date: 2013-06-21 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
People will pay money to not have to wash potatoes.

I would if I had money to waste on it. :-P

Date: 2013-06-22 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm tempted to buy one now to test my theory. It didn't look to me like these potatoes had been scrubbed before they were shrink-wrapped. As far as washing vegetables goes I consider potatoes pretty low on the hassle level. A quick, brisk scrub and you're good to pop them into the microwave or oven.

Interestingly, the grocery story by my apartment has shrink-wrapped sweet potatoes as well, so people have to be buying these things. :-)

Date: 2013-06-21 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I might buy a bag of potatoes, but shrink-wrapped? No.

Date: 2013-06-22 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I'm mystified. People are saying it's because you can just pop these fancy potatoes in the microwave. But you can pop the regular ones into the microwave too.

Date: 2013-06-23 03:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not tossing that kind of plastic into the microwave. I don't need the melted mess!

Date: 2013-06-24 05:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know! Just covering a bowl of something with plastic wrap, you have to be careful or it melts. A potato encased in plastic is not microwave friendly.

Date: 2013-06-22 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My understanding with shrink-wrapped potatoes is that you're meant to cook them in the microwave exactly as they are - but if it hadn't been washed first, then that sort of defeats the purpose, unless you're the type of person who likes to eat dirty potatoes. Blech.

Date: 2013-06-22 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is turning out to be a much more divisive topic than I had imagined it was. I'm tempted to buy one of these things and find out if there is dirt on it.

What I don't understand about the microwave aspect is that in my experience plastic wrap doesn't do well in the microwave. Plus, I was under the impression you were supposed to poke holes in the potato before microwaving it so if the plastic is supposed to be some sort of steaming device then there's that out the window.

And finally, why not just microwave one of the cheaper, naked potatoes? That's what I do.

Anywho...potato, potahto.

Date: 2013-06-22 07:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As mentioned, they're shrin-kwrapped to cook in the microwave. They're pretty useful, if you're willing to pay a bit more-- I never get through a bag of potatoes myself. And isn't there a Mitch Hedburg joke about putting a potato in the oven and by the time it's done you might actually want to eat it? So 5 minute baked potatoes aren't bad, even if they're silly.

Date: 2013-06-22 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hm. OK, that makes sense. I was thinking that the plastic wouldn't fare well in the microwave, especially for five minutes. In my experience plastic wrap melts a bit with the heat and develops holes. But if you're able to pop it into the microwave then that at least explains their existence.

I think I'd still just buy the cheaper potato and microwave it though. Oh, also, I always poke holes in my potatoes before I microwave them. Do you not do that with the plastic-wrapped ones?

Date: 2013-06-22 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, if they're not cleaned first, I would guess they're for people who are afraid that the naked potatoes had rolled across the floor, or that toddlers had handled them with snotty fingers while their mothers explained that this was what raw potatoes looked like, or that a carrier of some even-more-dreaded-than-usual virus had sneezed all over the potato bin.

Date: 2013-06-22 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Or perhaps they're for the comfort of passers-by who fear that GMO potatoes could attack, and feel safer with the potatoes behind plastic. Then again, they could be an art piece on the psychological and emotional separation of the modern city dweller from the root sources of the food they eat. (Couldn't resist the pun, but neither could Marcel Duchamp.) Or maybe they're for people who are so bad at actually eating the fresh produce they buy that they want protection from the potential goo when they eventually find the potato moldering at the back of the cupboard.

Date: 2013-07-24 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi. I've been engaged in running and hiding again. I can't guarantee it's over. I'm making an attempt to surface but we shall see...

Thank you, honestly and genuinely, for your response about the ridiculous potatoes. As usual you prove fabulous. Hm...perhaps potato goo might be relevant to one of the stories I'm attempting to write...I'll take it as a prompt... :-)

Date: 2013-07-26 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks — good to hear back from you! :-)

Date: 2013-06-23 04:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Maybe it's supposed to create the illusion of better quality? Those other potatoes are exposed to all and sundry and we all know that cooking has to be more complicated than just poking holes in it if you want the very best tasting baked potato. Also it's easy to fall into the trap of more expensive = better quality.


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