Sunday, June 05, 2011
Please avoid amputating your digits
What's so upsetting at the grocery store, you ask? Well, this: A self-serve bread-cutting machine.
Now, I completely understand the modern-day need, nay, mania, to shave costs and identify efficiencies everywhere and anywhere possible. A slight reduction in non-value-added headcount can mean eight cents less on fresh asparagus. I get it.
But the question we face isn't whether we expect stores to watch their pennies - we do - but what they and we are willing to give up in the process. I'm going to vote against giving up fingers or thumbs just so the store can go without an employee trained in the fine art of retaining his or hers. Call me squeamish. I can deal with it.
For generations, we've handed loaves of bread over to these fine, indeed brave individuals, then watched with a curious mixture of fascination and horror at their ability to carve it all up with speed and safety. To the best of my recollection, no one was ever injured in the process, and the bread always tasted especially good when we got it home.
Now? I'm almost afraid to ask what's in store. I imagine hordes of the great unwashed, throwing their loaves willy nilly onto the machine, brazenly ignoring the well intentioned and laid out instructions. I also imagine particularly adventurous, if not entirely intelligent, shoppers experimenting with the machine, seeing what other non-yeast-based confections will survive the trip through the blades.
It's a recipe for disaster. And I have no interest in being around when it plays out. I think it may be time to find an alternative to bread. Or a store that still employs bread-slicers. I'll take the eight-cent hit on asparagus for now.
Your turn: Is this a cut too far?