On my first day back on the job with my former employer, I sat through my second Customer Service presentation. Which means I sat through my second viewing of Bob Farrell’s video and presentation titled “Give Them the Pickle.”
Among other business ventures, Bob has launched several different restaurant chains. Back when Bob was just starting out, he got a letter from a disgruntled customer who explained that on his most recent visit to Bob’s restaurant, the waitress informed him that she’d be happy to bring him his requested pickle . . . for 75 cents. Pay for the pickle? That was a first. And consequently the customer informed Bob that he would never return to Bob’s restaurant again. Ouch!
Obviously a smart man, Bob recognized that he gained far more than he lost when his employees gave out pickles as requested. He told his employees, “Give them the pickle.” That line became his mantra and the basis for his successful career as well as his “Give ’em the pickle” presentations.
The first time I watched Bob’s presentation some nine years ago, I considered its meaning in relationship to the people I serve at work. Although I had similar thoughts this time around, in as much as my son and I recently finished our transcontinental Run For a GMO Free USA, I couldn’t help but also apply Bob’s solid customer service principles to the GMO industry—an industry that includes the White House, Congress, regulatory agencies, universities, The Grocery Manufacturers Association, chemical companies such as Monsanto, Dow, and Dupont Pioneer, the junk food and soda industry such as Mars, Pepsico, and Coca Cola, grocery stores, farmers, and consumers.
Bob Farrell is one of many good spokespersons for the customer service industry. The Grocery Manufactures Association is one of many giant organizations representing the customer servitude industry, an industry that is so large and so powerful that it has, thus far, successfully controlled government policy at the top while snubbing consumer preference on the bottom. In contrast to Mr. Farrell’s Give-‘Em-The-Pickle business model, the GMA makes its money by routinely giving consumers the finger.
In Bob’s world, the customer is king and boss. The customer pays Bob’s mortgage, his kids’ educations, vacations, etc. In the GMA’s world, the industry itself is boss, king, and lord over mindless hordes of hungry consumers. It maintains sufficient control of the food supply that it leaves Americans with little if any choice at all at the grocery store.
The GMA represents, protects, and promotes some of the biggest players in the GMO industry including of course Monsanto, one of the most hated companies in the history of the world. The successful introduction of GMOs into the food supply provides proof of the monopolistic power of the GMA over America’s food policies. Consider this: No one has ever gone to the grocery store to intentionally buy genetically modified organisms or products containing GMOs. In other words, there is no consumer market for GMOs. None. Zip. Nada. Not only is there no consumer market, millions of Americans want GMOs banned, and if not banned, they want them at least labeled so they can readily and easily avoid buying them.
Bob Farrell recognizes the wisdom in giving people a pickle, but he wouldn’t dream of forcing his customers to buy and eat pickles filled with unnatural ingredients they neither need nor want. He wouldn’t dream of overrunning D.C. with lobbyist to get those unnatural ingredients labeled as natural.
Not so with the Omnipotent GMA. The GMA insists on selling people GMO-contaminated products they neither need nor want, while also insisting that those unwanted and unneeded products remain unlabeled. And when millions of people rise up and declare that they don’t want to eat those products, or at the very least, they want those products labeled, the GMA responds with multi million-dollar misinformation campaigns to scare people into voting against labeling. And when Vermont passed the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling bill, the GMA filed suit against the state of Vermont. There is something seriously wrong with an organization that wields sufficient power to thwart what little remains of American democracy!
The GMA claims it’s committed to promoting the health of American consumers. Such claims would be laughable if they weren’t also deadly. Regardless, it can claim to be interested in the health of American consumers until the genetically modified cows come home, but Americans are seeing through the lies. Ultimately, the hubris of an organization that profits by giving people what they don’t want while refusing to give people what they do want, not to mention its obscene level of political influence, will some day prove to be its downfall.
We’re tired of being lied to. We’re tired of being told to shut up and eat our unlabeled, poison-saturated GMOs. We’re tired of being told that we’re not smart enough to understand the meaning of GMO labels. In spite of the GMA’s money, influence, and lies, millions of people from California to New Jersey are standing together, demanding GMO labeling and in some cases demanding GMO Free zones. (We had the privilege of meeting hundreds of these people in our run across the USA.)
The GMA doesn’t know it quite yet, but Bob Farrell is right. We customers are king. And it’s long past time for us to banish the likes of the GMA and reclaim American democracy. A crucial first step to doing so is to label GMOs.
So when GMO labeling hits the ballot in your state, be prepared for the GMA to roll in with its propaganda and its lies. And remember that the GMA has only shown up to get you to shut up, fork over, and chow down. Don’t do it. Raise your voice and cast your vote.
And when you ask for a pickle at one of Mr. Farrell’s establishments, make sure it’s free—GMA and GMO free.