Saturday, March 24, 2007

The "right" kind of ketchup

For a few months prior to the 2004 election, my daughter and her children lived with her inlaws. Her Navy husband had had to go on ahead, and Daughter and the kids followed once housing was available.

One day while she was still living here, Daughter and I were running errands. Among them was a trip to the commissary. In addition to the groceries she needed for herself and the kids, she had a little bit of cash from the inlaws and a short list of things they wanted her to pick up.

As we were driving, Daughter said, "Mom, FIL wants me to get ketchup."


"Mom," she said, "he said it has to be HUNT'S. Nothing but Hunt's. He said he wasn't giving any of his money to that liberal Kerry by buying Heinz ketchup. He was really mad about it."

We had a good laugh, and she bought the Hunt's; the Hunt's/Heinz thing has become something of a shorthand between us when we talk about her in-laws.

Last night Daughter and I had a long phone conversation. The in-laws had just finished a short visit at her house, and she was talking about something that had happened at dinner, but then she interrupted herself (as we often do -- I'll bet you do, too) to tell me about a special moment at the table. FIL picked up the ketchup -- the Heinz ketchup.

"He looked at it for a long time," Daughter said. "He didn't say anything but I could see he was thinking about it."

Because dinner with two little ones at the table is lively, she never really noticed whether FIL actually used the ketchup.

This conversation reminded me of the Buy Blue site. I hadn't been there in some time, but the last time I looked I was quite disheartened -- I concluded that to be politically and socially responsible I'd have to stop eating, drinking, and buying clothes, at the very least. However, the ketchup incident sent me back to look, and I was mostly pleasantly surprised. Many of the places I shop are either blue, neutral, or represented by rather small elephants. I can substitute "bluer" (or less red) businesses for some I currently use. (The directory can also be viewed according to category or ranking.) It pleased me to see that while Blockbuster is represented by a medium-sized red elephant (because it makes more donations to Rs than Ds), my new love Netflix has a small blue donkey, representing its contributions to mostly Ds. Amazon makes many more R donations than D, while Barnes & Noble's medium-sized blue donkey represents not only its Democratic donations, but also props for "employment equality" and "social responsibility." I love Amazon's site, but I can get books at B&N just fine, thank you, and thanks to Netflix I'll be buying very few movies anyway.

The funniest statistic, though, I've saved for last. While it might be true that the purchase of a bottle of Heinz ketchup puts a little change into the personal pocketbook of Teresa Heinz Kerry and her husband to do with as they will, the H. J. Heinz Corporation makes generous donations -- currently 71% of its donations -- to the REPUBLICAN party. (Con-Agra Foods, Inc., maker of Hunt's ketchup, isn't listed on the Buy Blue site at all.)

So FIL, keep on boycotting Heinz. It'll make you feel good, but it'll make me feel even better.


Red State Blues said...

I love the law of unintended consequences. If dear FIL can't be bothered to educate himself like you did, then shame on him. Feel free to smirk away.

Bitty said...

Tee-hee-hee! Right?

mapgirl said...

FIL is a freakin' idiot. As a Pennsylvanian born and bred, I can surely tell you that Teresa-foreign-born-Heinz herself stayed a Republican and only changed when her current husband ran for president.

Plus it's damned fine ketchup with specially made vinegar which sets it apart. Hunt's ketchup is nasty.

Follwed here from My Open Wallet. Interesting stuff. Thanks!

Bitty said...

Yes, indeed, FIL is an idiot. I never got around to discussing the obvious quality of Heinz compared to Hunt's. Heinz IS ketchup. Hunt's is something in a bottle made out of tomatoes.

I see we're going to be dancing together at Madame X's "wedding." I guess I need to go see a doctor about my foot problems pronto. Unless of course that interpretive dance can be done sitting, as in those old Mitsubishi car ads.