What’s Wrong With This Picture?

April 3, 2013   58 Comments

You know how you cruise through your day, bumping into things. And, then, something stops you in your tracks.

Unexpected food

All Snack Girl was trying to do was buy gas at her local Cumberland Farms when she saw this sign. Okay.....

I asked you, “What’s wrong with this picture?” when I should have asked you “What isn’t wrong with this picture?”.

Here is what I think is crazy about this advertisement:

  1. I am in a convenience store attached to a gas station. What are they doing selling breakfast sandwiches? This isn’t McDonald’s.
  2. Steak AND cheese? What are you trying to do to us?
  3. What kind of steak are they selling for $2.99? Clearly not a premium cut :)

You know, all I wanted to do was fill my car up with gas. I didn’t need anything to eat, nor would I buy a steak sandwich from a convenience store.

My problem is that everywhere I look, I am being offered food. Not just food, but crappy food. “Try Our Shamrock Shake” says the McDonald’s sign, "Try our new chocolate cake with a free sample" says a sweet lady at Stop & Shop, "Buy these cookies" says an adorable Girl Scout.

For someone who is working on eating healthier, there are so many places that offer you food when you are not expecting it. You have to go through your day with blinders on to stay away from food that is cheap and way too easy to eat.

Even Snack Girl, who writes and thinks about this all the time, finds herself munching on potato chip samples in the snack food aisle because she can't resist.

I think that some rules are helpful for dealing with the onslaught of food.

For example:

  1. Do not buy food where you buy gas.
  2. Avoid all free food samples.
  3. Never drive-thru a drive thru.
  4. Support the Girl Scout's with a direct donation.

Wouldn't it be great if the sign said, "steamed vegetables. it's what's for breakfast." or how about, "Try our new kale chips"?

I apologize for the rant, but I want us to get healthier.

How do you deal with the constant food offers?

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Preach it, Snack Girl!!!!! I 100% agree with you

I totally agree! I really wish people knew what they were realllllly putting in their bodies. They just look at it like a piece of chocolate cake or a milkshake...when it's more than that.

Hey, Snac Girl, with comments like that attacking us whenever we go out is it any wonder that so many people are obese? Where is ones self control? You keep up your good work!

I completely agree! Even if you personally can make good choices it is amazing what is offered to the kids; a cookie at the grocery store, 10 or more samples at the "big store" (SAMS/Costco), candy at the dry cleaners, etc. I am happy to share that Costco had wonderful fruit samples last week. My daughter and I enjoyed them!!

I try to avoid shopping on weekends (thankfully, I'm a stay at home mom and can go other times) to avoid the samples. If anyone is handing out samples, I try to avoid eye contact. And food sold in a gas station sort of creeps me out - except the Icees in the summer! Also, thanks for mentioning Girl Scouts! Most people don't realize that all Scouts will take donations instead of cookies. They use the money to buy boxes that they donate to food pantries, where it is a treat. You just pay for boxes of cookies without specify the type. Easy and the girls appreciate it!

Well said. I was a Girl Scout leader for 13 years + the girls really appreciate donations. You can also buy a box to be sent to our troops.

I did my weekly grocery shopping at Earth Fare over the weekend and was shocked when I was offered a free bag of chocolate Easter eggs. I expected something more healthy from Earth Fare.

You have every right to rant-we all should. Unhealthy foods/fats and sugar laden treats are everywhere, no wonder we are an obese country. I did get GS cookies this year but only 2 boxes instead of 5 or 6. Thankfully I'm a germaphobe so I am never tempted by sample food (esp if it's just on it's own-have you ever seen kids that double dip in those things? Gross!) And I haven't driven through a drive thru since I started WW a year ago (I'm very proud of that fact) Thanks for ranting and helping teach us good eating habits!

While I agree with you that there is way too many unhealthy foods out there I also want to say that each person has the ability to make the choice of eating or not eating them. I don't think that it is up to the businesses to police our choices ...we need to learn when to say no.

The fact that the sign is right next to the candy bar display was also alarming... :-)

I know nobody really wants to spend more time in the kitchen, but seriously, when I see stuff like that breakfast sandwich, the food snob in me comes out and I think -"I could make something way yummier and healthier at home!" As I have learned to make more and more things from scratch, many good things have happened including:smaller grocery budget, kids whose tastes are quite mature and varied, and taste buds with higher standards!

the ultimate consumable is food product. All retailers want an easy sale and repeat sales if possible. The profit motive is king and we are all subjected to tempation of immediate gratification of a quick "meal". We are easy targets for quick profits.

woo hoo! I read snack girl's posts and am learning how to say NO !!! keep it up !

I never leave home without a healthy snack and I determine how long I will be gone to decide what snacks or meals I need to prepare so I try not to ever be tempted. I think it is very hard for people who don't know better not to be tempted by such bright glossy posters.

That is great info about being able to donate your Girl Scout cookies - anyone have info on how one would go about this? Do all troops do this or does one have to contact the org itself? Thanks!

I find it funny just how they present these products, always with a nice looking, well put together sandwich. By the time you actually get them, it's a smooched up, unrecognizable, hot mess that looks NOTHING like the sandwich you THOUGHT you were getting.

And you can forget about those free samples. Who wants to eat something where EVERYONE and ANYONE can just reach in and grab a piece of whatever it is they're giving away, God only knows what they were touching before they dived into that free cookie sample! YUCK!

Thanks for the daily shots of humor and info. I just found your site a few weeks ago, and I'm sure enjoying it. I like the idea of just contributing to the Girl Scouts, but whenever I've tried doing that, I get a vacant stare from the girls, and the "but.......we have these cookies....

As a girl scout mom, I can tell you that we are not allowed to ASK for donations instead of selling cookies. However, our troop only gets about 30 cents per box toward our troop but we get to keep 100% of the donations! That money goes towards troop badge workshops, camping, trips... So I'm always excited to hear people remind others that donations are possible in lieu of cookies!

No need for appologies SG! It takes someone who tells it eaxactly how it is to get the message across about being healthier. The only items I will get at a convenient store are bottled water,unsweetened tea,coffee,nuts or fruits & veggies(If available and that doesn't look like old shriveled tobacco leaves!)Personally I think most of the premade sandwiches and other items the convenient stores call food doesn't even taste good.

I think I'd be scared to try it! Gross!! Preach, dear, preach!!

I haven't been through a drive thru in over 2 years. I also have stopped eating samples. We count on you to preach Snack Girl!!

I totally agree with you. I also have a rant about TV shows -- Breaking Bad, for example, is one of my favourite shows, however they are ALWAYS eating and it's never healthy foods. Grr. It'd be nice to see Walt and Jessie have a conversation about meth over a plate of veggies for a change. LOL

Right on Snack Girl. To know means NO! It's hard to pass up

A freebie, but once you have the mindset to eat healthy, it

Does get easier. Thanks for promoting healthy eating!

I think it is ridiculous that we are offered food everywhere we go! No wonder our country is so overweight. And most of it isn't actually food-it's a bunch of chemicals. Yuck! Thank you Snack-Girl for all your efforts. I'm behind you 1000%!!

Absolutely agree!

My rant is with all the "food" people bring into the office for every occasion - it's at least once a week and its never a healthy choice! It's hard to participate when saboteurs point out those of us who don't want the darn cake!

The less junk you eat, the less junk you eat, if that makes sense.

When I first started on the path to real, traditional, whole foods, I got tempted like everyone else. Sometimes I gave in and sometimes I didn't. The longer you can go without it, the easier it will be. Now that it's been over 2 years, I almost NEVER give in. When I walk through the snack food aisle at the grocery store, I am not tempted by anything and in fact find it nauseating. There's no trick to this - and don't get me wrong, it can take months, even years for some people. You just have to keep pushing on!

No need for apologies. I know that everyone can choose what to put in their bodies, but think of the kids. If they do not have good role models or they don't have access to fresh fruits and veggies, this is what they are bombarded with every day, they don't know any better. I don't think anyone should "police" what we eat just make the choices out there better for us all!

You are singing my song! I was in Sears and they sell candy at the counter. The library I visited in Salem, MA had a coffee bar in it. I know who they're trying to compete with but shouldn't some places be food free zones?

I agree~ I cave in; especially when it's at work or family gatherings. Do you think about how many people bring a ton of food for holiday meals? It's a real turn off to me but it is everywhere. I eat even when I'm not hungry. I go on a diet and I'm hungry all the time. It's torture really.

Amen! I cannot understand the appeal of the large bowl of "Try one" (fill in the blank - potato chips, pita chips, cheese cuts, etc.) at stores. The last thing I want to do is stick my hand in that bowl. People, EAT AT HOME, not in the aisles of the grocery store or as you said, the gas station! We always give the GS and the Cub Scouts who come around selling tickets to the Pancake Breakfast a donation without buying the product. It's for a good cause.

Amen! I agree 100%. Our girl scouts have all offered the cookies for the troops, so that was a great way to support without buying too many boxes, but I never thought about a donation!

If we head to Sam's Club on a weekend, we go at or before lunch time (usually after church on Sunday), and enjoy the free samples because we're hungry already! It keeps the shopping trip interesting for the kids (ages 4 & 7)! Our Sam's does a very good job of keeping things clean and freshly made and most samples lately have been healthier options and are a great way for me to get my kids to TRY something that they won't try for me. They usually have fruit, some sort of new chicken sausage, new cheeses, etc.

As far as gas stations go, I have recently discovered how great the "QT" gas stations are in the area - they have the most wonderful freshly brewed black and green teas in a variety of flavors! I love them (and they come in both sweet and unsweet)! They have a nice selection of fresh fruit and chobani yogurts and fresh salads and sandwiches, too. They have even a $5 lunch deal of a fresh salad or sandwich, fruit or chips, and drink. Can you imagine that?? Of course, you still have to go inside where you have a plethora of pastries, candy, and other stuff to avoide, but hey, it's all about making smart choices and hunting down the best places to shop.

I'm in the Dallas area, so we do have some great options around here, and we're very lucky.

Eh, our whole freaking society is obsessed with food. You can't even socialize with folks without everyone wanting to eat together. I get that my food choices are my own and yours are yours so why can't we each eat in our own homes and then get together and go out to a movie or whatnot?

Why must breaking bread together be mandatory for every social occasion?

It has gotten to the point that I have to offend people to only eat what I choose to eat.

Yeah, I can open up my home and share my food and expand their culinary horizons, except I've seen quite enough of their wrinkled up noses while they furtively look around for a bowl of chips or something "good."

It's all made me a grouch, lol.

The real question should be, 'Do people buy the product because of the sign, or is the sign there because people will buy the product?' Unfortunately, it's the latter. McDonald's has even started listing calorie counts on it's menus and signs and people STILL buy the product! It is up to us to STOP eating this garbage. That is the only way these signs will go away.

In these types of cases I email the store's company headquarters and ask for more healthy foods.

In the case of free samples I ask to see the ingredients then tell the server why I will not eat what they are offering.

When Girl Scouts knock on my door I tell them we do not eat refined sugars or empty calories in this house, and write corporate headquarters stating the same.

How are things ever supposed to change if no one speaks up or "averts their eyes"?

TALK about what is important to you and why!

I agree that it's hard to go anywhere without being offered cheap food. The sad reality is that people get hungry and want a quick meal so these businesses profit on that. Education is the key here so the individual can make better choices. The Girl Scout cookie issue can speak volumes... I am so disappointed that the company, who profits way more than the individual troops do, has not improved their ingredients... I have sold many cookies myself and with my daughter...I will continue to support them in other ways.

I can always pass up food samples except at the cheese counter. It's oh so worth out for me!

Love the discussion today - and I do agree it is OUR responsibility to avoid the junk. It just blows my mind how much of it is there is.

Very well said. It really doesn't help the younger generation in making good food choices when they're constantly plastered with things like this at every stop.

Eew! Now, I enjoy a good filet steak every now and then, but I shudder to think what a convenience mart "steak" might actually consist of. I wish the Girl Scouts would offer a non-edible fundraiser. Perhaps a cookbook filled with healthy recipes - like Snack Girl's?

I buy gas with a credit card and NEVER go into the store - solves any problems I might have with what they sell in there!! Have to admit I tried the Shamrock shake and it was darn good.

I feel that the less I have of the bad stuff , the less I crave the bad stuff. Plus determination is a big key (in my case). Like you said..."put on your blinders"...also, think of the er or doctor bill you could possible get by eating that junk...hence not good for you... thanks for making my job easier because you are doing a great job for us!!!

Junk food is everywhere and it is driving me crazy. I sign my kids up for sports so they can get some exercise and they can't leave without getting some sort of junky snack first. The other thing that is driving me crazy these days are these Dine - To- Donate fundraisers. Fast food places are offering a portion of their counter sales on certain nights that you invite everyone you know to attend. Now, I'm not a good fundraiser if I don't tell everyone I know to come eat junkfood. Ugggghhh.........

You go Snack Girl!! You say what I always think! (Even if I do have to drive thru occasionally!)

Keep up the great work!

Run, Run the other way! My mantra is 'my body is better without that crap'. But sometimes it is hard;) Let's name the big manufacturers so this comes up on their radar: General Mills, Kraft, ConAgra, Unilever, Nestle, PepsiCo, etc. YA'LL OWE IT TO THE PEOPLE TO MAKE HEALTHIER PRODUCTS!!

Thanks SG!!

This is all planned! The food industry knows exactly what they are doing! Just look at grocery stores and how the most expensive stuff is at eye level! They advertise fattening food and high sugar foods to entice! When is the last time you saw veggies or salads advertised! Frustrating! Money in their pocket over caring whether or not the product is good for you!

I couldn't agree more! Like you, I find it unsettling that gas stations offer food in the first place - yuck! But, one way I avoid eating any samples either offered personally in a store or those displayed out on a counter,is that I tell myself the food is covered in germs from being out there for all the world to breathe upon. It works!

I agree. It is a bit much with food pushing anymore. Even food shows I like to sometimes watch are bombarding me with shows about stuffing your face, competition eating and so on. It is GROSS. It also makes me uncomfortable when I have friends who struggle financially to put (good, let alone enough) food on the table and this glutton, superfluous, mentality is all around us. In fact, the saturation runs even deeper... school for instance. As of late I have noticed that the "rewards" for reading the most books or having the most parents in a grade having the largest amount of parents show up for a meeting, or any other activity challenge - Is food! Pizza, popcorn, cookies, donuts.... What is that about?! What happened to a homework pass, dress down day or being granted a special activity? Why must food be the reward? We are veering toward a dangerous mentality of living to eat not eating to live when we reward our children in this manner.

No long ago my husband and I one morning stopped to get coffee at a convenience store and he asked if I wanted a "sausage egg muffin". I ranted and raved about how bad they were for him for 10 minutes. Hopefully he will never buy one again (I know he won't with me with him). Great idea about the GS cookies, never thought of that, I just usually buy them and husband takes them into work. Now I will just give the money so they can keep all instead of a percentage. Thanks.

This is tasty food for thought!

I'm behind you 1,000,000 percent! Our society, in general, has become so unhealthy in eating habits and any help we can get as a reminder of this is GREAT! Thanks!!!

Thank you for the motivation!

Well, I know of a 34 yr old who recently had a heart attack and a friend of mine in his early 40s is having bypass surgery on Friday. I guarantee poor eating habits were a factor. We applaud you snack girl for getting us the information to make healthier decisions!

It ain't food if it comes thru the window!!!

People buy for the convinence, not for health reasons. And when something that looks that good is shoved in front of our faces for a very cheap price, it's hard to resist. Sad how alot of people aren't awake to the marketing of these companies and to their own health.

My kids and I were at Sheetz last week (another gas station/convenience food combo) and they had a sign saying you could get a free hash brown with the purchase of a Mt. Dew kickstart drink. I just about fell down laughing because that is really the most horrible breakfast you could start your day off with. I'm no food saint and I do buy snacks at gas stations, but that was really over the top to me.

I'm also a Girl Scout cookie mom and we LOVE donations! All that money goes straight into our troop account. We teach the girls to happily accept donations and to thank those who donate profusely.

Nice article... but don't you dare get on Shamrock Shakes. :) Those are an outstanding treat once per year.

Thanks for this, SG! It's totally made me rethink those Costco samples. It's the cake station with all that free cake. It gets me every time along with the sausage cart. The one downside is that it's hard not to feel guilty when I crack and spring for a bag of Doritos or a slurpee at 7-11, but it's good to know what I'm eating and why to say no to that tempting junk food. Thank you.

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