Saturday, October 15, 2005


The other day, I visited a Meat Market in search of a choice steak for expected guests. I had several items on my shopping list and hoped to purchase them all and get home early.

The man behind the meat corner watched me make a selection, then when I pointed out which one I wanted, he shook his head.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I can't sell you that meat. I am an Animal Rights Activist and I don't believe in killing and selling the meat from animals."

"But this is a Meat Market!" I cried. "Why can't I purchase this roast?"

"Because it offends me, and my personal opinion is far more important than your needs, ma'am! As far as I am concerned, you have caused all of the extinction of animals in our universe, and now you are placing even more on the Endangered List!"

"But we eat meat! Cattle are raised for that purpose! I insist upon purchasing this roast. I have guests arriving and I thought this roast would be perfect."

"You should serve your guests a good vegetarian meal," he said, "instead of murdering cows!"

After a few more minutes of argument, I left the meat market and went over to the Fruit Market. I needed salad greens and they always offered fresh produce.

I selected just the right head of lettuce, then picked up some tomatoes and celery. Then, I took them to the counter, still angry over my confrontation at the Meat Market.

"I'm sorry," said the female clerk, a woman in her fifties. "I can't sell you this produce."

"Why not?"

"Don't you realize that even plant life has feelings? Look at the celery! Imagine how fast his little heart must be beating! Shame on you!"

"I don't think vegetables have feelings."

"Oh, yes, they do. They are living, breathing organisms. They feel fear and joy, the same as you and me, and you want to ruthlessly kill them!"

I left the Fruit Market, frustrated by my inability to buy the items on my list, and decided to forget the grocery items and try on a few new clothes. My spirits were uplifted by a red dress, which fit me perfectly and would be great for my party. Hurriedly, I took it to the counter.

"I'm sorry," said the Clerk, a young girl in her twenties. "I can't sell you that dress. Look at the label. It was made in China. It's slave labor over there. They are paid peanuts. And here you are, a rich American by comparison, trying to add to their woes!"

"But everything in this department store is Made in China," I said. "Listen, I would buy American if there were anything American to buy. But I like this dress and wish to buy it."

"My personal beliefs do not allow me to sell you that dress," the Clerk replied firmly. "I'm sorry, I just can't contribute to the misery and early deaths of all of those Chinese people!"

So I went home, gave my guests leftovers, and wore an old outfit I had bought years ago.

Are these stories true?

No. But they could happen in the United States today, where pharmacists are allowed to use their personal beliefs to forbid the filling of Birth Control prescriptions. Forget the fact that Birth Control is the largest factor in the fight against abortions. Forget the fact that women should have a choice when it comes to their bodies. Forget the fact that Birth Control helps alleviate the overpopulation of our world, that thousands, if not millions, of children go to bed hungry each night. Forget the fact that modern Science has supplied us with reasonably safe methods of avoiding unwanted births.

It boils down to the fact that no person need work for a place that offers services he or she does not agree with. However, once employment is begun, it is the worker's place to follow the wishes of the employer. If he cannot do this, he should find employment elsewhere!

How many newspapers have I written articles for, when the editorial policy was not really my own? But, as an employee, I felt it my duty to leave out my own personal opinions and just write the stories! For a pharmacist to inflict his personal opinions on the customer is exactly like the examples I have written about in my imaginary shopping session.

When I go to a Meat Market, I expect to buy meat. When I go to a Pharmacy, I don't want the personal opinion of the pharmacist on anything. I don't want a political rant. I don't want a religious lecture. I want my prescription filled. I want to pay for it and go on my way. It's as simple as that!