Mike’s Take: The strange underbelly of a health food store

Mike Causey, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON – I popped into a very large health food store the other day in search of brewer’s yeast and sunflower seed butter. I didn’t know if Giant or Safeway carried either and Whole Foods was too far away.

Dr. Oz said they are both great (the yeast and the butter, not Giant or Safeway), although one does give you gas.

Anyway, the health food store is the kind of place with a large and loyal clientele. It’s a place where people talk about their favorite natural deodorant or the best way to brush cats teeth with pure, non-abrasive products.

One time at the market, I think I saw the beginning of a romance:

Two obvious strangers struck up a conversation while gushing over the quality of some freshly delivered organic yams. They looked into each other’s eyes as they discussed irregularity. He apparently had it and cured it by eating some kind of yogurt, which the store happened to carry. I think it was Greek … the yogurt, that is … neither one of them had an accent.

He said nothing about gas, and she didn’t bring it up.

Being in a health food store, the place has all kinds of bumper stickers advocating world peace, as opposed to nuclear war. Tolerance over bigotry, etc. Some of the signs advocate the quick release of someone who has apparently been unjustly found guilty of a crime.

The checkout clerk said he didn’t know any of the details, except that the guy was framed by the establishment. There were also signs for various services (from tutoring to neutering), neighborhood notes and, as always, a lost-and-found section.

On the way out of the store, one of the posters caught my eye. It was for a lost dog. The poster asked that if anyone spotted the dog, they shouldn’t chase or choke it!

Having rescued two dogs myself, I know that you don’t chase them to save them. First, they can outrun you. Second, they are lonely and probably scared. You get them to come to you.

Charm, not chase. That I get.

But choke, I don’t get. Had this dog run off before and been captured and then choked??

People who go out of their way to rescue or attempt to rescue a stray don’t seem like the choking type. Other people, maybe. But not a helpless, lost pooch.

I mentioned this to a friend. He said maybe it was a reference to a chock collar. Perhaps the dog was wearing one, or — if someone found the dog — for them not to use the choke collar. Makes sense.

I went back two days later and the poster was gone. I hope they found their pup. I’ve never lost one, but I am sure it’s traumatic.

I assume all is well.

As for the other issue, Dr. Oz was right. See, I have this friend, and he said to be careful with brewer’s yeast. Good to know. If I happen to see the couple, the guy and gal who met over the organic yams, should I tell them?

Probably not.


Mike has spent the majority of his life inside the Beltway and has an interesting and humorous perspective that he will share every Wednesday. Mike has spent his career covering the federal government for the Washington Post and now for Federal News Radio.

Mike also writes a daily column for Federal News Radio.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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