Food Front Felt Like a Disco Tonight

I’m just back from a quick shopping run to Food Front, the co-op grocery just west of NW 23rd and Thurman NW.

I love the progressive, alt.culture atmosphere. The food is fresh, some of the customers still embrace hippie and Earth Mother attire (granny glasses, peasant dresses, etc.). You walk through the parking lot and you will never, ever see a Bush-Cheney, National Rifle Association or even “Support Our Troops” sticker (not that we shouldn’t).

If one were to ascribe an appropriate musical patina to the scene: Phish, Grateful Dead, OK, maybe even Sleater-Kinney or the Indigo Girls. Lyle Lovett, sure.

Yes, but…

The two songs that were on the Food Front p.a. system while I was there tonight were two disco classics.

One was from the late sixties: “Twine Time,” by Alvin Cash and the Crawlers.

The other was from the early seventies: “Boogie Down,” by former Temptations member Eddie Kendricks.

I indeed was one of those “disco sucks” people, but I guess the times have changed me.

Wanna know how? In the 30 or so minutes since I’ve been home, “Boogie Down” has been playing in my head.

“Boogie..boogie down down.”

OK, you convinced me. I might like to boogie down. But in the aisles at Food Front?

14 Comments so far

  1. Ken (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

    It is suckers just like you that these stores are counting on — people who place more value on what music is playing and what t-shirts customers are wearing than what food prices are and what their quality is.

    How shallow are you? Quite, apparently. And that’s why pretentious food stores are proliferating in this city — because people like you are more concerned with image than with substance.

    In all things, not just in food.

    This is partly why I hate this fucking city. You never find this attitude in genuine places.

  2. The Guilty Carnivore (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

    Ken, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have my eye on Phoenix, Irvine, Ft. Worth, Orlando, and Las Vegas. The Promised Lands.

  3. chris (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 12:06 am

    ken/TGC: excuse me? food front has been in that location for the last *35* years. WTF does it take in your book to make it “genuine” ?? WTF where you 35 years ago? Food front has no attitude.. prices are average.. and they try to sell local product whenever possible. You’re obviously commenting on a business you have never visited and your snobbery makes you stink.

    As for music… hey… if it makes your booty shake, enjoy it. ^_^

  4. pdxrocket (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 12:21 am

    Well Ken, if you hate the city, I believe the major populace wouldn’t mind you stepping over a nearby state line and not come back. All in favor?

  5. Steve (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 3:00 am

    Russ, before I get into my rant… I loved your topic about Pamplin, the city is a bunch of arrogant idiots when it comes to dealing with private enterprise. I’m now going to vent my frustration with the commenters from your post about Ross Island and bring in a little here.


    The thing is everyone who actually gave a shit about business would leave if most of the people who claim to run this city would ask all of the non-hippies to leave. The major populace here that actually does shit for a living instead of living on a blog all day, using a crapload of electricity does things like make your morning coffee, cook your breakfast and rings up your purchase of electronics.

    Why aren’t we outraged that the noise pollution the store contributes is an environmental hazard? What about the light pollution they emit? We are truly classless people here in Portland for not going far enough. Seriously. Come the fuck on.

    And snobbery? Snobbery is shopping at Food Front because you can’t associate yourself with people who find their groceries at Safeway…

    Let’s define a snob:
    One who tends to patronize, rebuff, or ignore people regarded as social inferiors and imitate, admire, or seek association with people regarded as social superiors.

    So how is that not being a snob? Or wait are you going to tell me you feel closer to the common man by picking up a pack of gum one time a month at an Albertsons?

    Let’s read what Russ had to say:
    “I lover the progressive, alt.culture atmosphere. The food is fresh, some of the customers still embrace hippie and Earth Mother attire (granny glasses, peasant dresses, etc.). You walk through the parking lot and you will never, ever see a Bush-Cheney, National Rifle Association or even “Support Our Troops” sticker (not that we shouldn’t).”

    Russ just made himself a snob because he made himself socially superior to anyone with a Bush-Cheney, NRA or Support our Troops sticker. You associated with him, therefore making yourself a snob as well Chris and Rocketman.

    Wake the hell up and see that this city lives in a bubble and should be isolated from the rest of America. You should all ride your bicycles to work and buy things from only organic places. Then when you have no computers, no airplanes, no electricity (only the rich would have access to wind power because it isn’t in sufficient supply), no appliances, nothing that harms the environment; you can feel good about yourselves.

    More than living in Portland, you live in AMERICA. This isn’t some bastion of sovereignty that omits what this country does. Walmart is here, Starbucks is all over, cars are on the road and people live. We are the industrial leader the world over and despite your organic ideals we live as a leader. YOU are the minority. YOU are the people who should be moving. So snobs, accept the inevitable and get your ass on the way to the South American Jungles.

    Hypocritical dickheads.


  6. Spine (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 8:00 am

    I find that it’s usually the case that anyone who thinks Portlanders can be neatly divided into categories of “hippies” and “non-hippies” has nothing worthwhile to say, and our friend Steve is no exception. His comment is an incoherent mess, with all the baseless accusations and false dichotomies (either submit to the Walmart-Starbucks lifestyle or stop using electricity altogether!) that one can expect from a feeble mind.

  7. TKrueg (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

    Spine pretty much nailed it, but I’d also add that no, Portland isn’t in the minority. America is in the minority. We don’t live like the rest of the world lives. You see Safeway and think, “God Bless America”, but the modern state of our food system is seen as a spreading threat to people of other countries. No other country has industrial meat and vegetable farming to the extent we do, or the amount of over-processed, prepackaged, food that didn’t even exist a few decades ago. Do you realize how much our food has changed in such a short period of time?? How fast our bodies have changed? The health care ramifications?

    Supposedly, we love capitalism in this country, and the power of free markets. The freedom of choice, the benefits of robust competition. Well Steve, how the hell are you supporting this by dropping your wad at Safeway or any other chain? They all offer the same brands! All those rows of perfectly branded products… a majority of those lines are owned by a handful of corporations. You’re a Brand Whore, Steve. Why do you want to buy Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancake-wrapped Sausages so bad?

    Steve, history or the facts are not on your side. You’re going to chide Portlanders for being ‘too different’, shopping from vendors rather than corporate mega-stores? At least people who do so have a little fucking perspective. Yes we live in America, but do you think the option of shopping at Safeway is the zenith of our freedoms and potential? Holy hell.

  8. Steve (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

    So Spine, offer me a coherent thought then. Instead of attacking me and what I have to say, spit something up. Oh wait, you didn’t. So I can only assume you had no logical reply.

    Oh, and you consider my accusation about you all being a snob baseless huh? How did my comments about what Russ said not establish a base. I gave you a simple definition of a snob and the group simply lived up to it. Some of it may exaggerate for effect (especially about the packs of gum), but the gist of the post still is there.

    To Tkrueg, you live in America. I fail to understand your point about myself being in the minority when more than half of America does something different than what Portlander’s do (Aside from Eugene, the rest of the state disagrees with you too). Until Oregon becomes its own nation you are in the minority, sorry to break it to you. Whether it comes to food choices, the right to bear arms, whatever. If AMERICA didn’t demand for Walmart to be in an area based on demographics then Walmart would never show. Same with the buck.

    My point about Safeway was simply made as a point that Russ felt he was above that crowd. If you draw the connections with me, he essentially states that everyone who does not shop at Food Front or a similar small business is nothing more than a neo-con who may or may not be in favor of having a gun. If you don’t feel it constitutes a slam on those with differing views then I simply state that I love Walmart because I don’t see a sticker for John Kerry. Honestly the point is ridiculous but it proves how much of a snob someone can be.

    I love to shop in small businesses and support anyone I can that isn’t a mega chain (In fact you can find me often at New Seasons and the Portland Farmers Market). You cannot however dumb someone down because they don’t shop at the same place you do. People have a lot of factors to consider including gas costs, food needs and others. People don’t choose Walmart because they love the corporate culture, they choose it because they can afford it.

    Let’s consider the baseless fact you think I buy Chocolate Chip Jimmy Dean pancake wrapped sausages. As long as we are on the level of baseless accusations, you are at my level. We agree on that right?

    When you can tell me nothing in your house is a brand name, then I’d love to eat crow. I bet you can’t though. Maybe you can tell me you use a brand name free appliance, or buy brand name free food when you are in a hurry at the airport.

    I’m chiding you all for simply being douches about how you treat people who you view in a different light. Those of you who I see frequently post have an opinion and attempt to ram it down someone’s throat. You just attack instead of listen. It’s a classic case of discussion forum/blog penis envy, when someone has the balls to post something out of the norm, you simply attack.

    Maybe someone like Ken would be more apt to listen to some points if the people here would simply point out the facts instead of asking the group for him to move or saying WTF WTF WTF every third word. Being ignorant about a subject does not mean a person is susceptible to be attacked; you not only piss them off, but you discourage them from further learning about a subject.


  9. butch (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

    And what is wrong with industrial meat and vegetable farming if it delivers a safe, healthy product to our stores? No other country produces as much per capita and does more to feed the World than us either.

    What a wonderful country we live in where I can go to my local Freddy’s and buy delicious, lean, industrially farmed chicken….or if I choose, pay $2 more per pound and buy free-range organic. Same with vegetables….if I CHOOSE to do so, I can buy organic whenever I wish. I can CHOOSE to go to Ristretto, or the Starbuck’s drive-thru if I want the added convenience.

    Portland is a wonderful city because it offers something for everyone. We have one of the best local restaurant scenes in the country, and have every fast-food chain to hit those craving when they arise (except Fatburger…grrr).

    I’m for both worlds. What makes me mad is when people can’t be accepting of both – Hawthorne residents denying a McDonald’s because of made-up traffic issues for example. Another example is dismissing people who like organic produce as ‘hippies’. If I want to buy an eclectic housewarming gift, I shop at won of those ‘nick-knack’ stores on Hawthorne. If my DVD player breaks and I want a $60 replacement, I go to Walmart. More power to me.

  10. Spine (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 9:34 am

    “And what is wrong with industrial meat and vegetable farming if it delivers a safe, healthy product to our stores?”

    Well….that’s a big “if.” I don’t feel any obligation to respect people’s “choice” to buy cheap meat when that choice is linked to a whole host of problems, from erosion to polluted groundwater to inhumane treatment of animals.

  11. butch (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

    “baseless accusations and false dichotomies” – spine, practice what you preach.

  12. Spine (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

    “spine, practice what you preach.”

    Words to live by, Butch, no doubt. But what’s baseless or false about what I wrote?

  13. butch (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

    “…choice is linked to a whole host of problems, from erosion to polluted groundwater to inhumane treatment of animals.”

    Maybe not outrightly baseless or false, but a very broad generalization. Also, do you know for a fact that the organic produce and meat you champion is not also “linked” to such problems?

  14. Spine (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

    “Maybe not outrightly baseless or false, but a very broad generalization.”

    Yes: generally speaking, the commercial meat industry contributes heavily to the problems I mentioned, and many more besides. That’s not exactly a secret, nor is it mere speculation.

    “Also, do you know for a fact that the organic produce and meat you champion is not also ‘linked’ to such problems?”

    Nobody’s consumer choices are perfect, and in some ways the organic food business is losing the sustainable qualities that differentiated it from industrial food in the first place. That’s why buying regionally grown food has become so important and increasingly popular. But yes, the way I eat is vastly less harmful to the environment, to other people, and to animals than the way chosen by those who eat meat three meals a day and buy that meat at Safeway. This is just simple fact. I don’t think I’m a better person because of it; I’ve simply made a better choice. And I’m grateful that I was able to recognize that I had a choice, because I know that not everyone has the luxury to reflect on and make changes to how they live.

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