It’s not hard to understand why an election is all screwed up when you stop to consider the state of business in the world. It’s not just politician who live in an ethical desert — at times one would think that all businessmen as well haven’t the foggiest idea about ethical behavior.
That unforgetable public hero, Dr. Jeffrey House M.D. (now being seen in re-runs) made the expression popular I believe: “Everybody lies.” Maybe it was someone else. Or it sounded something like that — but the point is that finding people who are straight forward and honest seems to get harder and harder.
Case in point the difficulty of finding real, true, Extra Virgin Olive Oil — in an industry which for at least half a decade has been foisting immitations on the buying public.
A comprehensive academic food fraud study spanning 30 years in the Journal of Food Science showed that olive oil was the single most commonly referenced adulterated food of any type in scholarly articles from 1980 to 2010. A highly publicized 2010 study by the University of California–Davis Olive Center tested supermarket samples and concluded that more than two-thirds of imported oils (69 percent) and 10 percent of California oils labeled “extra virgin” did not meet the legal standard (under law, the extra-virgin designation is determined by a combination of laboratory testing/chemical analysis and sensory testing by an expert taster panel). A follow-up Olive Center supermarket test in 2011 used a larger number of samples for more consistency and found that the five top-selling imported “extra virgin” olive oil brands in the United States failed to meet the basic legal standard 73 percent of the time. Some have suggested that the University favors the domestic olive oil business – which is almost exclusively in California – over imports, and industry trade group the North American Olive Oil Association, which does its own testing of members’ products, disputes the accuracy of UC Davis’ findings.
Then there was this article:
(ANSA) – Florence, September 29 –
Fraud in olive oil and other oils and
fats quadrupled in 2015, farmers’ group
Coldiretti said Thursday. There was a
record 278% increase in the number of
seizures of these products because they
were adulterated or falsified, it said.
As well, three out of four oil containers
in restaurants do not comply with
regulations, Coldiretti said.
In a world that abhors absolutes, that doesn’t want to be judged by arbitrary standard, and doesn’t want to be criticized for it’s own actions a consumer has to be ever more cautious. People will lie to you. Don’t be surprised when it happens.
I’ve pulled into a RV shop after having been told that they have the parts needed to do a job, only to find out after they’ve taken something apart that they, in fact, did not have the promised part and I’d have to wait 4 days for it be shipped in.
Then there is the whole area of customer satisfaction/expectations.
“Most oils sold in the United States are fake.”
— Mother Jones
To read that such a large percentage of oil sold as Extra Virgin is in fact not what it purports to be the question begs to be answered, why is it that consumers aren’t up in arms about it — except for the fact that evidentally a huge number of consumers can’t tell the difference between what they are tasting and what they think they are buying.
It seems we have become a nation of Faux people. We love faux finishes. We built Tuscan or Provencal estates in San Jose and South Beach. We’ll buy “Alfredo” sauces by the case, even though an alfredo dish isn’t about sauce at all; it’s an amalgamation of egg and cream and cheese that isn’t ooey or gooey, merely coating the noodles. We buy cinnamon that isn’t cinnamon. We buy Swarovsky crystals because they look like diamonds but aren’t. We love things that look like something else but aren’t! Right down to wanting to look like celebrities, go where they go, eat what they eat, smell like they smell, etc., etc., etc..
I’m not sure if the last olive oil I bought was really what it claimed to be. The brand I bought wasn’t on any of the lists of violating companies, but that’s ok — I’ll enjoy my meals just the same.
Peggy’s been telling me for a quarter century that I should bottle and sell my salad dressings. The thing is I don’t use a recipe, but I do use real herbes and spices. I don’t advertise what I’m using and you’re sure to get a different dressing any two times you eat with us — and I’m ok that it’s not the same. I’m ok because I like the final product. Which is good, I suppose…. A person ought to like their own cooking, right?
I think that as RV’ers we do well to be careful about what we buy — literally, or figuratively. We can buy into ideas, fads and trends just like we can buy fake olive oil, or just-as-good-as-the-name-brand products. If we know what the name brand product really offers we’ll usually find that just-as-good rarely is. But sometimes we’re willing to accept not-as-good. Everything’s a trade off, right. How much flavor, or how much glitz do I really want to pay for. And if I pay less, will I be just as happy?
Last winter when we faced replacing our slide toppers we had several choices. The dealer tried to sell us toppers they made in-house. They had three levels of quality and all we had to do was tell them good, better, or best and they’d take care of of in a day or two. The problem was that I wanted the coach to LOOK the same after we were done as before. So I agreed to wait until Carefree of Colorado could fabricate and ship matching toppers — at a slightly higher price. But that was what I wanted. And I made sure I got it.
A large part of RV’ing is about optimized decisions. We have to know what we want if we’re ever going to get it. Whether it’s where we want to go, what sites we’re going to stay in, or what time of the year we’re going to visit — the RV lifestyle is all about making personal choices. Sometimes we’ll get cheated. Other times we’ll get full value for our expectations. In the end, what matters is how we feel about the experience. A sort of “did it taste like I wanted it to taste” moment. Was I glad I drove cross country for that? Was I glad I exchanged X number of dollars in fuel in order to see, or experience this?
Learn to be critical — not in a complaining sort of way, but in a analytical way. Make sure you’re getting what you want from your RV lifestyle. And if you aren’t — change something. Buy a different oil. Keep tasting other brands until you find what you want. 🙂
Let’s talk again tomorrow