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LuckyGuy's avatar

Do employees at Health / Natural / Organic food stores in your area look healthy?

Asked by LuckyGuy (34718points) January 20th, 2013

Because in my area, they sure don’t. Most of them look like emaciated cancer survivors.
Also it seems there is a general requirement that they must have multiple piercings in or around various appendages and orifices and be somewhat gender ambiguous. Is that consistent with a Health, Natural, Organic diet?
I am not a big guy, 70kg, 150 lb, but when I walk into our local store I am by far the manliest one there. Is that a side effect of a gluten free, vegan, fruitarian, macrobiotic, vegetarian, lacto-pescatarian diet?
Don’t get me wrong. I like these types of stores and I really like the employees. They are all extremely knowledgeable, competent and polite. It’s wonderful. But not at all what would be considered mainstream in this area.

Is this just the owner’s preference or are stores in your area staffed by similar individuals, alike in their “uniqueness”?

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13 Answers

AmWiser's avatar

The health / natural / organic food stores I visit the employees look healthy and well nourished (to me). But then I attribute that to them being fairly young. And honestly, I have yet to see any employees look sickly at any of the stores. (I’m gonna start looking closer, now that you mentioned!) As for the piercings and such, it seems most businesses are becoming very lenient when it comes to body art.

Coloma's avatar

Our local health food co-op is huge in this area and is staffed by many diverse types.
Younger, older, and a lot of middle aged bohemian types. Some do look like they live on one spinach leaf and a cup of tea a day and others are more well “rounded.” haha
I have never liked the emaciated look of some hardcore health nuts. Being extremely thin does not look any more healthy to me than being extremely overweight. The middle path is where it’s at.

I dated a health guru a few years ago and the guy drove me insane, he always had to have his little ice chest with all his various snacks and teas and juices on hand and he was also a hypocrite. Had Thanksgiving with me and he critiqued every item on the menu, all the while stuffing his face and when I went to send him home with some french bread he refused it because it wasn’t his health nut brand, after eating stuffing made with the exact same bread, gobbling up pies made with processed flour crusts and sipping Vodka martinis all afternoon.

Oh brother….OCD hypocrite be gone!

bossob's avatar

I volunteer for one day a week at my local organic/natural/local food co-op. Everyone except the general manager is ‘normal looking’; he’s a bag o’ bones.

What cracks me up about the store, is the amount of shelf space filled and volume sold… of potato chips and wine. But hey-they’re organic!

LuckyGuy's avatar

This is a pretty conservative area. I don’t even know where they find employees with that type if body art. It gets cold here – often well below freezing. Ouch.
The 20 something women are of the almost-Goth variety with the jet black, spiky hair and the obligatory nose and lip piercings, the 30 something guys have gauged ears and are so gay even Ellen wants their phone numbers. The 40 something (?) female manager is so thin she looks like she can be anywhere from 70 to 90 years old. There are others but you get the idea. The only “healthy” looking person in the place is a jovial, middle-aged Mexican guy who obviously does the heavy lifting and restocking of shelves.

Please understand, I love this place and think the employees are wonderful. I can get 20 different kinds of Japanese green tea or get organic rye flakes that I can mix into my bread or potato pancakes. It’s great.
I just wonder why the trend in staffing is so “stereotypical”. Is it the lifestyle, the diet, or the manager’s hiring preference?

Now that I think about it, I would not expect a big, burly, meat-eating football player to be interested in the products this place has to offer. That leaves the connection between all the body piercings and natural foods as an outstanding mystery.

Gabby101's avatar

They are probably trying to hire people that they think are really into their philosophy and just like anywhere else, people love a stereotype.

I work in retail (corporate) and you’d be surprised at how many companies want even their accountants to be into whatever they’re selling. It’s pretty creepy to see the CFO in cutoffs and trying to pretend that he’s in with the local surf culture – creepy and unnecessary.

josie's avatar

I have made the same observation.

pleiades's avatar

I don’t mean to come off as rude.

It sounds to me you are poking at the “differentials” as opposed to be genuinely asking this question in a non derogatory way.

Healthy doesn’t always have to mean trackstar, participating in a 9–5 style of job etc. Furthermore, what is more manly in your opinion? Hunting and gathering meat from a deer, or refraining from the tastiness of meat and choosing nuts and fruits.

My point is, all walks of life, any aspect, it’s all subjective.

But to answer your OP. Some look healthy, some look over weight etc. It varies. And I live in San Diego if that helps you. I’d say where I live, the Downtown region, Hillcrest, North Park, South Park, El Cajon Blvd, Golden Hill, Mission Hills all have the kinds of stores you mentioned. And the regions I mentioned in general I’d say tend to vote liberal and it’s a very progressive, cultural community.

I’m not going to lie though, this sort of questioning seems futile.

CWOTUS's avatar

To expand a bit on what @pleiades has said, it may be that what you’re seeing as “sickly” is a more healthful weight than we’re used to, especially in this country.

I often note when I go to Asia that I’m the tallest guy in the room, and at only 5’ 10”, I’m by no means especially tall in the USA. But I’m also the “biggest” guy in the room, too, and the people around me look way smaller, no only because of the shorter stature, but because they maintain a much better weight. When I see “fat” or even moderately overweight Asian (men, primarily) at construction sites, they really stand out. Not so much on US sites.

At your weight, I don’t think you’re at all “fat”, obviously, but I expect a human of your height who doesn’t work out or perform a lot of physical exercise… and who doesn’t overeat… would not weigh even that much.

Pachy's avatar

Not especially. They look pretty much like employees in regular grocery stores except sometimes they wear cooler t-shirts.

gailcalled's avatar

Yes, without exception. They are all on the thin side of what we consider normal. No obvious piercings or huge tattoos, no make-up, dyed hair or stiletto heels.

dabbler's avatar

I see some gorgeous-looking people working in the health food stores I patronize.
Sometimes I do see someone who looks like they’ve recovered from something – and maybe they have.

I think there is a phenomenon that I’ve seen occur in health food stores and yoga centers, there are two major classes of folks. One class are the consummate practitioners, they walk the walk. The other class have come to yoga or health food to solve the problems in their lives, and some do and some don’t.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@dabbler I know some cancer survivors. Understandably some will try anything when conventional medicine does not work. This store has a long aisle of all sort of herbs, vitamins, essential oils, etc. with signs like: “This herb is good for XYZ.” “This one is good for ABC” etc.
For all I know, the employees here are recovering cancer patients. I cannot ask. A thin, gaunt, sickly demeanor is still infinitely better than being under the snow. Even though nobody in the place has the bubbly glow, and smiling face of implied health, they are all nice, competent people.

wundayatta's avatar

Some of local staff seem to be young, thin, hairy, often pierced a bit more than average. Others are a bit older and not so thin and not really pierced all that much.

So my guess is that the look is a function of age and low wage work than it is of working at a natural foods store.

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