Some people call Davis, California “The People’s Republic of Davis” because of its atmosphere as a refuge for hippies and New Agers. And indeed, it’s one of those places, like Portland, Oregon and Berkeley, California, that I’ve always thought should be declared “Natural Cultural Preserves,” where in many ways life goes on as it did half a century ago. There are lots of things organic, and people in tie-dyed shirts and Birkenstocks. But don’t get me wrong—I love it here: it’s an oasis of liberalism in California’s Central Valley, and is full of greenery and pleasant people.
When I was a postdoc here in the early 80s, my parents came to visit me, and, thinking I’d give them a taste of the local atmosphere, took them for breakfast to a cafe (now long gone) called The Blue Mango, where all the food was organic, natural, and right-on. My father ordered coffee, and, as usual, wanted it with ample lashings of cream and sugar. When he asked for sugar, the server fixed him with a disapproving eye and said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t serve White Death here.” (“White Death” was, of course, the politically correct term for sugar.) But the server suggested that they might be able to dig up some honey in the back. My father of course refused, and for the first time in his life went without sweetener in his coffee.
Without a doubt, the Ground Zero of vestigial hippiness in Davis is the Food Coop, which has been here since the 1970s. There one can see ageing hippies living their lives must as they have decades ago. But, I have to admit, there’s a lot of good food there as well, though it’s overpriced. And, wandering the aisles last night with my friend Phil, who was purchasing noms for breakfast, I found a whole section on—yes—HOMEOPATHIC remedies. Phil took this photo with his camera phone (which he doesn’t know how to use). Homeopathic EMF (electromagnetic field) remedy! Detoxes you from your computers and cellphones!
It always amazes me (and I found this in Whole Foods in Chicago as well), that stores devoted to healthy eating and wholesome lifestyles carry what is in effect overpriced water: concoctions that are not only absolutely useless for health (unless you’re dying of thirst), but can actually harm your health if you take them in lieu of regular medicine.
The nostrum above seems to be of the relatively harmless variety, but I chose it for the photo up because of the “EMF” designation. Still, selling it is still scamming the customers. I looked it up, and it turns out to be. . . well, see the ad from Amazon below.
Here’s a close-up of the label, also from the Amazon ad. Note that it’s not only “homeopathic”, but “Scientifically Tested*”. I’d love to see what the asterisk led to, but I missed that in the store. And, it’s “Doctor Formulated” (I wonder what kind of doctor):
I see that it’s also 40 proof in “organic alcohol” (is there any other kind?), so I guess if you drank enough of it you’d experience some euphoric effects.
Note to Davis Food Coop: could you PLEASE stop scamming your customers by selling them things that purport to cure you or help you but really don’t? How can you hold your head up in organic pride yet ask your customers to fork out serious money for water with a fancy and misleading label? Do you also sell copper bracelets?