04 August 2008

Fast Food

The other night I was listening to The Tim Conway Jr. radio show on 97.1 Free FM. Arsenio Hall was his guest. They were discussing the recent ruling that bans further development of fast food chains in South Central LA. Tim was preaching that any restaurant should have the right to build where they choose, especially if the demand is there. He also thinks it is unfair to gentrify an area that is currently low-income and put a Whole Foods there, for example. He believes that it is forcing people to pay more money for food. He doesn’t think they “want” any other food, except that which is already available and believes that this whole issue is about race.

I think it is astounding. People have a demand for is something that is cheap and easy. They don’t want to drive 10 miles to get to a Whole Foods if they aren’t committed to it, but they just might if there is one around the corner. Also, to say that people demand fast food is ridiculous. Our appetites and food preferences are mostly nurtured from a young age and you need to condition yourself differently if you want to change that. It’s not necessarily about education or how you were brought up, but more about what you get used to. I don’t mean to get up on a soap box right now, but I think it is unfair to say that low-income residents choose fast food because they like it so much more than well-prepared home cooked meals. They choose fast food because they can walk across the street and in less than 5 minutes get fried chicken in a bucket for $5. Arsenio Hall actually disagreed with Tim Conway, but did not voice his opposition that loud. I am glad there is a ban on further development because it gives a chance for the people in that area to explore other options. Of course the language of the ban is also up for discussion because apparently 7-eleven isn’t considered fast food, but Subway is. I’ve blogged about fast food in the past and it's hard for both me and Donny to give up In-N-Out, but people just need options. We're getting excited about the new Whole Foods coming to Rose & Lincoln and I'm guessing every type of person in Venice will shop there, not just the rich white folk.

Take a listen for yourself.

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