Monday, April 14, 2008

Hannaford, Shmannaford

It turns out the label on Hannaford's Butter Flavored Cooking Spray is full of lies. LIES, I tell you!

According to an article on, the spray claims to be “fat free,” but this is only because the serving size is so small that the caloric content per serving rounds to zero.

Most of us would agree that a ¼ second spray of imitation Pam is not sufficient to lubricate mosquito coitus, much less keep your french fries from sticking to the cookie sheet.

In truth, there are 148 grams of fat in this “fat free” cooking spray; it is “100% fat,” according to the article.

I'll stop there. Really, it's just a minor issue, nothing that would indicate any intentional deception. I'm sure company officials will correct it swiftly, if they haven't already.

I only felt the need to mention it because it's the only way to poke barbs at Hannaford without being too aggressive.

I can't, for example, write very much about the fact that Hannaford did not announce its recent credit/debit card security breach until two weeks after it was discovered.

You probably didn't notice or care about the delay, unless you were one of the unfortunate souls whose card was charged in the interim for 48 minutes on 1-900-GOAT-SEX.

The media didn't pay much attention, either, because they know how their bread gets buttered. Hannaford spends gazillions of dollars on TV and print ads in Maine.

One exception, Channel 13 in Portland, apparently kept pressing the company for some answers, apparently pursuing the insane notion that the chain should endure some level of accountability. The station is now paying the price.

According to the Associated Press, Hannaford has decided to stop advertising on Channel 13 in Portland because the station's news reporting of the recent credit/debit card security breach was “too aggressive.”

It would be one thing if Channel 13 got the facts wrong, or if they were biased, or if they said something maliciously untrue (i.e. “Hannaford CEO stomps baby squirrels for fun”).

But “too aggressive?” Come on.

Just to be clear, I'm not being “aggressive” here; I'm just pointing it out as a comparison to show that the whole cooking spray fiasco is not that big of a deal. You know, in case you were all wound up about it.

At any rate, Hannaford is free to spend it's advertising dollars wherever it wants, of course, just as I am free to spend my grocery money wherever I want.

When it comes to groceries, I am fortunate to have three options where I live.

I can go to Wal-Mart, which has lower prices because it is a retail juggernaut that subsists on absurdly-negotiated tax breaks and other forms of corporate welfare.

Or I can support the Hannaford, which is based in Maine and does not sell nearly as much random crap made or harvested by child slaves.

My third option is to forage for nuts and berries in the wilderness and occasionally gnaw bark off dying cedar trees. Or, even worse, go to the local Farmer's Market.

Until recently, I was happy to shop at Hannaford for everything, from dog food (pepperoni sticks and organic garlic) to personal hygiene items (pepperoni sticks and organic garlic).

I'll probably continue to do so, but I have a feeling some soup cans are going to get turned so the label no longer faces outward.

I hope that's not too “aggressive.”

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