Open Letter to Walmart on the Occasion of My Recent Bowel Trauma

Dear Walmart,

I recently contracted an intense case of food poisoning from a package of Starkist Low-Sodium Chunk Light Tuna purchased at your store.

The reason I am writing to you and not to Starkist, the company that saw fit to package rotted fish meat after it had been left sitting for a week or more in some corner of a fishing boat piloted by a relative of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive linesman Troy Polamalu in American Somoa, is because I did not want to purchase this abhorrent product in the first place. It was only due to a lack of other, far better choices that I was forced to select the tainted low-sodium tuna version and not the sufficiently preserved, full-sodium one.

Several observations come to mind in light of the catastrophic bowel trauma that ensued from this purchase.

As an occasional frequenter of your stores, I have never been under the impression that yours are targeted toward the health-conscious consumer, which is to say that your shelves are stocked with the sort of food one would expect to find spilling out of the fever dreams of a diabetic nine-year-old asleep in the backseat of a discarded ’87 Buick in some rural Kentucky junkyard.

The average girth of your typical Walmart shopper makes the suggestion of rice cakes, much less fresh produce and reduced-calorie margarine, likely to incite a riot of goiter-wielding behemoths demanding to know why precious shelf space was wasted on such atrocities in place of the Chips Ahoy, Double Stuffed Oreos, and Cool Ranch-flavor Doritos.

Suffice to say, the concept of moderation, regular exercise, vitamins, and the food pyramid are as unfamiliar to your shoppers as birth control is to Utah, and healthy options like tuna fish in general, much less its low sodium option, appear nowhere on the radar screens of their foggy consciousness.

Thus I was thoroughly vexed to find that of your choices of packaged tuna tucked quietly in the bottom corner of a forgotten shelf, your store chose only to stock the low-sodium and not the fully-salted variety that, apart from covering up the taste of low-grade seafood, also better preserves its contents against the desiccating ravages of decomposing flesh.

A quick study of the history of salt will yield a wealth of information regarding its use as a preservative throughout the course of mankind’s existence, especially with regard to the preservation of meats. And while the American diet today is admittedly over-saturated with salt, to say nothing of sugar, fat, and calories in general, one might find recourse to food choices other than seafood as a better place to begin a campaign of parsimonious sodium reduction.

Because seafood is somewhat notorious for its tendency to spoil and induce a crippling sickness that makes the dysentery that afflicts the poorest third world countries look like a mere inconvenience by comparison.

It should be noted that salt plays an all-too-important a role in limiting the sort of bowel upheaval that attends the ingestion of spoiled meat, and while it is understood that a portion of your shopping public could benefit from the wholesale intestinal evacuation and period of fasting that follows the ingestion of improperly preserved fish meat, I couldn’t help but notice that the shoppers around me elected to ignore the low-sodium tuna I was purchasing in favor of Crisco, pre-made frozen pork dinners, and bags of Barbecue Ruffles potato chips.

This is why my complaint lies with your organization rather than with Starkist and its inability to consistently package fish meat that hasn’t spawned its own colony of maggots and diarrhea-inducing bacteria capable of decimating a grown man’s bowel tract for 72 hours.

You need never have been under the impression that you should stock your shelves with improperly cured meats that even coastal villagers of 1300 years ago, in a time long before anything amounting to oral hygiene and a heliocentric universe, would have regarded with proper dismay for its lack of preservative salt.

In sum: fuck you Walmart, you owe me $1.09 for the cost of the package of tuna and $37 in damages in order to replace the inflatable mattress I sleep on in my mom’s basement, as I inadvertently shat onto it in the throes of my sickness.



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