Thu 2022-Apr-14

Passover & Late-Stage Capitalism

Tagged: CorporateLifeAndItsDiscontents / Food / Politics / Religion / SomebodyAskedMe / ϜΤΦ

So, it’s Passover. What might late-stage capitalism have to say about that?

Exploiting Passover

Yes, it’s Passover. (Also Good Friday, and part of Ramadan, and probably a host of other religious observances. It’s a big weekend for monotheism! I just want to talk today about Passover in particular.)

Here in the land of late-stage capitalism and corporate oligarchies, no opportunity to extract profit may go unexploited. Of course, Christmas is the most glaring example, but other holidays get The Treatment as well.

Sometimes the intent is benign: if you’re a grocer and you know your customers will want to enjoy a traditional holiday meal, you might think of ways to sell it to them.

So far, so good. But sometimes it can go hilariously wrong, or even cause deep offense, if you don’t take the time and care to understand people’s traditions.

Toay’s example is from Whole Foods: they’re owned by Amazon these days, but otherwise they run a fine grocery store. Very high quality produce, products selected with some care for health, nutrition, and environment, and so on. A little on the spendy side, but we shop there a lot.

But… somebody really screwed up this advertisement:

Brandwin @ Twitter: Whole Foods confused about Passover

Ok, I’m a little leery of her cognomen “CIAspygirl”, but she has the right of it. There are more things in this picture that Jews can’t eat for Passover than they can:

  • I mean, ham? Really?
  • On Passover one eats matzoh, not bread! So the bread rolls and probably the pie crusts are out. (Can pie crusts even be made with matzoh?)
  • Then there’s macaroni & cheese: you can’t eat meat and milk in the same meal. So if the chicken is allowed, then the macaroni is not.

Pretty clearly, they don’t pay very well to hire competent people to put together their ads. Possibly an intern inadvertently swapped the Easter & Passover meal photos?

Now, as one who is personally religious:

  • If they had swapped into an Easter advert a meal of brisket, gefilte fish, bitter greens, and matzoh… I would not be offended. Amused, yes; but not offended. No doubt that’s because I feel secure in my society, seldom the victim of discrimination. It does not do to swap roles with people who have experienced discrimination.
  • It’s important to respect spiritual traditions beyond one’s own. Respect for others is just so basic that it’s painful to see this happen, without any visible apology after the fact. But apparently it doesn’t drive profits in late-stage capitalism.

Take it from the experts at Six13: they know how to make religion fun. It’s the perfect counterpoint, as a friend pointed out.

Notes & References

1: Nah. You want me to footnote the Passover story in Genesis, or something?

Published Thu 2022-Apr-14

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