November is a tough time for vegans, as the push to connect the Thanksgiving holiday with the sacrifice of innocent turkeys is everywhere. It’s as though the presence of a dead bird on the table is essential to enjoying a feast and expressing our gratitude for food, friends, and family. It is particularly sad to hear the holiday referred to as “Turkey Day.”
Nowhere that I’ve found is the pressure to order someone to kill a turkey stronger than at my local Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage store. They put the dead turkey promo in customers’ faces not once or twice, but seven times at each visit. This began not just two or three weeks before Thanksgiving, but from the beginning of October! I wrote to their Corporate Customer Service about it over two weeks ago, asking them to tone it down, but never got a response. Here are the seven ways:
1) the sign on the front door urging me to order a turkey
2) another larger poster in the entryway telling me how many days I have left to order
3) a continuously replaying video extolling the purity of these “organic free-range” doomed birds–I first saw this on Oct. 3, seven weeks before Thanksgiving and I’ve had to hear it drone on by the entrance every time I’ve come in the store since
4) staff dressed in turkey costumes or visors. One was joking with a co-worker, clowning and saying “gobble, gobble”–as though victimizing these birds is a light-hearted matter
5) the cashier asking–again–if I’ve placed my order
6) large letters around the clock on the front wall spelling out “TURKEY TIME”
7)–this was really the last straw–just opposite the checkout area, a contest set up in which customers who order a turkey can enter their name for a gift card! Let me get this straight: the only people allowed to enter this contest are those willing to order an animal to be killed for them? This is clearly discriminatory; it should be that everyone who spends the same amount of dollars in the store could enter this contest.
Except at this time of year, I enjoy shopping at Natural Grocers, as they feature low prices, produce that is all organic, and friendly staff. Whole Foods is much more veg friendly at this time of year. They have a couple of prominent signs urging customers to order “Holiday Foods,” and there is a drawing of a dead turkey on the signs, but their holiday food menu includes vegan options as well.
In being so heavy-handed, Natural Grocers is alienating vegetarians and vegans, and perpetuating the cruel association of animal sacrifice with giving thanks. To express your opinion to them, go here.