July 10, 2014

$70,618 for Potato Salad (& $5 for Organic Eggs is Too Much). ~ Jennifer Moore


I spend entirely too much time on Facebook.

I tell myself it is a necessary part of running my business and publishing online. I try to keep it mindful—but the inane distractions abound. I find myself drawn in, following links to articles and videos I never set out to see.

I leave my work behind and I become a cultural explorer.

Today I was struck by two posts. The image above was the first. I had this very conversation with a friend last week. Organic, humanely raised food is ridiculously overpriced but buying coffee at Starbucks is a reasonable price to pay for convenient stimulation.

I had another parallel conversation with a student this week, but instead of eggs it was the fee for my yoga classes. We deem $10 too expensive an investment in our self-care, yet we are comfortable spending $5/ day on coffee or $12 on a glass of wine to wind down after a tough day at work.

It’s time we become aware of what we value as evidenced by our spending habits.

I love Kickstarter. I used the site to fund a music video we made for my friend Buick a few years ago. So when I saw the Potato Salad link, I clicked it. And then I was stunned.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 12.44.52 PM

I had to read the incentives twice. What started out as a seemingly trite act has turned into quite a challenge for Zack Danger Brown. The production manager in me can’t wait to see how he pulls this off.

Based on the numbers listed at this moment on Kickstarter, Zack will need to ship (safely) a bite of potato salad to more than 2380 people. I am so grateful I am not charged with the task of solving this fulfillment challenge. I only hope nobody gets sick.

And then there is the filming of Zack making the potato salad. This I would like to see. Anyone who has worked in film and radio production will tell you, saying “thank you” to more than 4781 people on camera is no easy feat, further complicated by preparing potato salad at the same time. I estimate it will take no less then 2.65 hours of straight shooting to get all the names in at a rate of 2 seconds per name.

This prank turned social media case study is both entertaining and illuminating.

This is what we value—senseless, wasteful distraction and…potato salad.

The Potato Salad campaign has been likened to acts by the Futurists and Andy Warhol. It may be, although making potato salad is in a different category than driving full speed off the road and pissing on painted canvases. I will leave it to the art critics to debate (we know they will).

Instead, I suggest we take a serious look at how we spend our money and our time. With rising violence in our schools and the American Poverty Rate at 21.8% for children under age 18, our resources could be better utilized to address grander issues in our culture than whether or not Zack Danger Brown should put dill in his potato salad.

I will continue to buy the organic eggs and pass on the Starbucks coffee. And for relaxation… I choose yoga over wine (most of the time).



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Editor: Renée Picard

Photos: Rural Spin, Kickstarter screen shot

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Natasha Jul 11, 2014 4:01am

The sec gen of the UN released some info very similar to the idea in this article over a decade ago. Kofi listed the amount of money Americans spend on ice cream could provide clean water to the entire planet, as one example. What is spent on our small luxuries could change the world. But, no thanks. Americans can't even get it together enough to get the 99% to out vote the 1% in making our country better, not just for the ultra rich but for everybody. We all might as well admit we do not care. We say it with our actions. And that is not cynicism. It is merely an observation. We should be more honest about who we are and our humanity.

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Jennifer Moore

Jenn Moore Mehmke is driven to communicate through movement, words and images. She is a certified yoga teacher, communication consultant and writer. Jennifer’s young son is her inspiration and parenting him reminds her daily that beauty exists everywhere. Jennifer can be found on Facebook at Breathe Peace. Follow her blog Daily Breath.