de·gen·er·ate | \ di-ˈje-nə-ˌrāt
to sink into a low intellectual or moral state
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There are many reasons to be careful about food safety – recalls and contamination with bacteria sure seem fairly common these days – but it turns out, there’s another menace lurking in grocery stores…
Yesterday as I was scanning the news, a headline caught my attention:
Woman Wanted For Urinating On Potatoes At Pennsylvania Walmart, Police Say
Police released surveillance images of the woman on their website.
Today, it was announced that the woman turned herself in:
According to police, the woman is accused of urinating on a bin of potatoes after entering the store. She left soon after.
Police identified that woman as Grace Brown. She is now being charged with criminal mischief, open lewdness, disorderly conduct, and public drunkness. She is awaiting a preliminary hearing. (source)
Thankfully, employees spotted the urine, cleaned and sanitized the area, and tossed out the potatoes.
This, unfortunately, is not the only recent case of someone tampering with food in a store.
People are recording themselves doing disgusting things in grocery stores.
Last month, a video of a young woman opening a half-gallon of Blue Bell Tin Roof ice cream, licking it, and putting it back in the freezer case went viral (it was viewed more than 13 MILLION times on Twitter). The incident occurred in a Walmart in Lufkin, Texas.
What kinda psychopathic behavior is this?! pic.twitter.com/T8AIdGpmuS— Optimus Primal (@BlindDensetsu) June 29, 2019
Police later identified the teenager and her boyfriend but did not release their names because they are juveniles. “We do not intend to pursue charges against her as an ‘adult’ and therefore what happens from here is at the discretion of the juvenile justice system,” Lufkin Police said in a statement.
Blue Bell isn’t too happy about the incident or the bad publicity it has brought to the company. Many are questioning why the ice cream doesn’t have a seal under the lid.
Blue Bell said in a statement that it was thankful that consumers had notified it about the video.
“We believe we may have recovered the half-gallon that was tampered with,” Blue Bell’s statement said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have also removed all Tin Roof half gallons from that location.”
“The safety of our ice cream is our highest priority, and we work hard to maintain the highest level of confidence of our customers,” the company said. “Food tampering is not a joke, and we will not tolerate tampering with our products.” (source)
Of course, because stupidity is contagious, another person had to tamper with ice cream.
And this time, it was an adult.
A 36-year-old man was arrested in Louisiana after he was allegedly recorded opening a carton of Blue Bell Ice Cream, licking it, and poking it with his finger before putting it back in the freezer case. Police say they found evidence that Lenise Martin III posted the video on Facebook, suggesting that he was seeking attention.
Martin was charged with criminal mischief and unlawful posting of criminal activity for notoriety and publicity and was jailed, according to online records from the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The Blue Bell ice cream company is not thrilled about these incidents.
The business where the incident happened also released a statement saying Blue Bell’s legal team is investigating the matter and all of the ice cream has been thrown out.
After the second (known) ice cream licking incident, Blue Bell changed its tune a bit. In a statement, the company said that food safety is their top priority and they are taking the tampering cases very seriously. The Texas company could even consider adding more protection to the carton, reports CBS Austin:
“We are always looking for ways to improve, including looking at methods within our manufacturing process to add additional protection to the carton,” said a Blue Bell spokesperson in a written statement.
Blue Bell says that during production half-gallon containers are flipped upside down and sent to a hardening room where the ice cream freezes to create a natural seal. Blue Bell says the lids are frozen so tightly to the carton that any attempt to take them off should be noticeable. But the company is not ruling out adding some type of wrapper around lids in the future. (source)
Two other incidents recently made the news and are equally disturbing.
Brace yourself, because the next two installments in “What the heck is wrong with people?” are truly vile.
It’s like people see others being gross and think, “Yeah, I can top that.”
We aren’t really sure what the details are on this one – it is likely that this perp was never caught (makes you wonder if the person who recorded it SAID SOMETHING TO THE GUY, or to a store employee – one can only hope)…
FAIR WARNING: This is scariest horror film since the Exorcist — turn back now pic.twitter.com/DaAexVuxGA— 🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄 (@Jason) October 29, 2018
According to The Takeout, it appears that this incident occurred in a Mariano’s store (a grocery chain in the Midwest).
The video went viral last October, the site explains:
This video, which made the rounds on Reddit and Twitter yesterday, shows a gray-haired man in sweatpants sipping soup from the grocery store’s soup bar directly from the ladle… [pausing to catch my breath]… which he then returns to the communal pot. I did spend a few minute trying to give this man the benefit of the doubt; I did. But there is no explanation. Need to take a taste of the soup? I’m sure there are plastic spoons right there. There is no circumstance under which a person should press their lips to a communal serving utensil, full stop. He’s really relishing it too, going in for multiple slurps. [dry heave] (source)
Some parents are encouraging their children to engage in degenerate behavior.
About a week ago, a Florida mom was arrested after her underage daughter was recorded licking a tongue depressor and placing it back with unused depressors at a Jacksonville doctor’s office, reports First Coast News:
Cori E. Ward, 30, was arrested on a felony charge of tampering with a consumer product without regard for possible death or bodily injury, according to jail records from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Ward, who posted the video of her daughter on social media Tuesday, responded to a storm of criticism Wednesday saying that it wasn’t a choreographed prank, let alone anything motivated by a social media fad.
“What I didn’t know was that there was a “licking challenge” as I don’t scroll social media like that,” the woman said in a Facebook post before apparently deleting her profile.
She also implied that the materials her kids were handling while waiting for medical appointments were all either cleaned or discarded.
“The video doesn’t show that the items were thrown away or anything else that happened,” her explanation continued. “I posted this on my personal Snapchat with my 20-something friends, where someone allowed another person to video it. I didn’t post it on Facebook or YouTube as a challenge or whatever.” (source)
This Tweet sums things up perfectly…
I miss the good old days when the doctor used a tongue depressor that someone didn't chew on, when I got ice cream that someone didn't lick, and that yellow puddle on my potatoes was butter...— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) July 30, 2019
Why do people do things like this?
It is obvious that some people participate in disgusting stunts and degenerative behavior like the examples above in order to gain attention.
Teenagers and young adults are prone to impulsive behavior and seeking attention on social media, experts told CNN:
“It’s just a plain old version of antisocial behavior,” said Susan Whitbourne, professor emerita in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “It is an antisocial act, and it’s outside the bounds of proper social behavior.”
“Generally speaking, adolescents are both more reckless and more sensitive to social evaluation than either children or adults. The act(s) you describe seem to me to achieve both,” Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University, wrote in an email. “Our research has shown that teenagers are more likely to take risks when they are being viewed, or believe they are being viewed, by same-age individuals.”
This sort of antisocial behavior happens frequently with people younger than 30, Whitbourne said. And throwing in social media only makes everything worse.
“Added to this rebellious component of the behavior is the anonymity provided by social media and the disinhibition it enables,” she said. “Once posted, these displays will generate a certain amount of social reinforcement (i.e. likes and thumbs ups), and so the behavior spreads.” (source)
In the article Product lickers symptom of sick, selfie-obsessed nation, Cheryl K. Chumley writes:
But the bigger question is — why? Why the licking nonsense in the first place?
And on that, here’s a thought: If there were no such thing as selfies, there probably wouldn’t be as many of these sick product lickers out there.
They feed off the video. They grab a thrill from the notoriety. They get a quick shot of social media fame — the likes, the shares, the smiley faces, the attention — and bam, there’s their fill of self-esteem for the week.
They don’t accomplish much in life. So they rely on the fake-ness of social media to create a stir they can point to as substitute accomplishment.
Fact is, if social media weren’t so targeted toward the lowest common denominator — the low achievers who think, say, 1,000 likes is akin to creation and achievement and production of something ingenious, or necessary, or even wanted and desired — then product licking wouldn’t be a thing.
It couldn’t be.
The low levels wouldn’t have any place to showcase their low-level deeds. The selfie-star seekers wouldn’t have an audience to cheer their moronic behaviors. (source)
Sure sounds like narcissism to me. I think Chumley is right on the money.
People already don’t trust each other, and incidents like the ones listed in this article are legitimate reasons for that.
The film tells the story of two people who take part in a top-secret military human hibernation experiment, only to awaken 500 years later in a dystopian society where anti-intellectualism and commercialism have run rampant, and which is devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights. (source)
Sure seems like Idiocracy is now a reality.
Here’s how to check food and other products for tampering.
I can’t believe I have to provide this information, but here we are.
Last year, the FDA posted an article titled Food Tampering, An Extra Ounce of Caution. “The deliberate tampering of food to cause major disease outbreaks is rare, particularly in the United States. However, recent news events have focused attention on the increasing possibility of such tampering,” the article states.
Follow these tips from the FDA to keep you and your family safe.
How to detect product tampering at the grocery store:
Carefully examine all food product packaging. Be aware of the normal appearance of food containers. That way you’ll be more likely to notice if an outer seal or wrapper is missing. Compare a suspect container with others on the shelf.
Check any anti-tampering devices on packaging. Make sure the plastic seal around the outside of a container is intact or that the safety button on the lid of a jar is down.
Don’t purchase products if the packaging is open, torn, or damaged. This includes products on the shelf or in the refrigerator or freezer sections of the grocery store.
Don’t buy products that are damaged or that look unusual. For example, never purchase canned goods that are leaking or that bulge at the ends. Likewise for products that appear to have been thawed and then refrozen.
Check the “sell-by” dates printed on some products, and only buy items within that time frame.
How to detect product tampering at home:
When opening a container, carefully inspect the product. Don’t use products that are discolored, moldy, have an off odor, or that spurt liquid or foam when the container is opened.
Never eat food from products that are damaged or that look unusual. For example, cans that are leaking or that bulge at the ends.
If you suspect an item has been tampered with, notify the store manager or report it to your local police department.
If the food contains meat or poultry, call the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555.
If the food does not contain meat or poultry (such as seafood, produce, or eggs), notify the Food and Drug Administration. For emergency questions, call the FDA’s 24-hour emergency number at 1-866-300-4374 or 301-796-8240. For non-emergency questions, call the FDA Food Information Line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.