The very liberal - and really smart - leadership in the city of Philadelphia has come up with a plan to make city dwellers there less fat. They are going to put "healthy" foods - "apples, oranges, chips, candy ..." - in 632 mom-and-pop grocery stores around town to provide an alternative to the normal fare.
Cost to the taxpayers? Something short of a million bucks.
A social engineer's dream, right? Put it on the counter and they'll buy it and everyone will be healthy.
The targeted audience won't cooperate. Unless people have a gun to their heads. Or unless everything else is wiped from the counter (google "light bulb ban") (google "Michael Bloomberg") (or unless the produce is subsidized and made dirt-cheap - google "Chevy Volt").
Do these really smart liberals think those 632 grocers - if there was a buck to be made - wouldn't have healthy foods in massive quantities on the counter already? My experience with retail businesspersons leads me to believe that they would put shit-in-a-boot on the shelf if shoppers chose to but it and they could make a profit from it. What, they think Manuel at the Michoacana Mexican Mercado has an aversion to lettuce and that's why he doesn't stock it?
It's not the presence - or lack thereof - of goods that influences one's buying habits. It's the choices the consumer chooses to make.
Or the gun-to-the-head thing.
That's why you can expect the city of Philadelphia to soon abandon this silly bit of whimsy and adopt Nanny Bloomberg's approach to healthy living - ban everything except leaves and twigs (and Starbucks) and the people will be made whole. Whether they like it or not.
Bottom line: The citizenry in Philadelphia is - by and large - fat by choice. Putting lettuce on the shelf next to their favorite candy bar isn't going to change a thing.
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* Philadelphia is the poorest city in America. And its citizens are fat. Historians will marvel a hundred years from now at that incongruity.