Health Tips Via Eavesdropping

I overheard an interesting conversation the other day as I was standing in line at America’s shrine to cheap materialism (a.k.a. Walmart). (Disclaimer: I understand eavesdropping is rude. Don’t send me Emily Post’s latest advice on nosiness. But you hear interesting things at Walmart. And don’t send me hate mail for shopping at Walmart. I’m poor.)

Anyhoo. Two ladies were behind me, discussing the items they were about to purchase. One woman said, “Did you notice, I bought Cool Ranch Doritos instead of the regular kind? I’ve heard they’re better for you."
The second woman replied, “Yeah, I heard that, too. All that fake cheese on original Doritos is supposed to be terrible.”

Were they joking? Did they seriously think Doritos might have any kind of nutritional value? Could they possibly believe that the tangy spices on Cool Ranch Doritos contained a health benefit? I’ll admit I’ve humored myself, insisting a handful (or bagful) of potato chips wouldn’t kill me. But could they possibly be healthy?

Could I eat an entire bushel of Cheetos and claim they were equivalent to a serving of vegetables? They kind of look like carrots—if carrots were smaller, crunchier and basted with a cheese-like powder.

Maybe Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and other cream-filled delicacies could be considered dairy servings. Wash them down with a quart of chocolate milk and you’d have your calcium for the day.

Perhaps we could change the Atkins diet to the Hostess diet. Instead of the bad breath associated with Atkins, we would smell like frosted donuts and our skin could be covered with a fine glaze of sugar. Ummm. . . .sugar. . . .
I casually glanced over my shoulder to get a glimpse of the ladies and their shopping carts. The carts were filled with cookies, chips, crackers, Healthy Choice entrees, and the ever-present Diet Coke. (This Diet Coke had lime in it though, so I guess it counts as a fruit.)

The ladies were filled with the same. Only in larger quantities.

They were also perusing Prevention Magazine’s Guide to Weight Loss. I wanted to say, “Here’s a weight loss tip. Take everything out of your cart—and start over.” But in our easily offended society, things like that just can’t be said. So I went back to reading magazine covers and willing the line to move faster, which it never does.

I had resolved to do no further eavesdropping, when a young man came up to join the women behind me. His arms were loaded with bags of cookies and another bag of Doritos—and it wasn’t the healthy Cool Ranch kind. (He obviously hadn’t read the latest dietary review.)

“Look,” he said, “these cookies are low-fat. So I got three bags of them.”
I sighed and pondered the craziness of the universe. All right, I really pondered the gullibility of American society.

We believe that if we eat tons (literally) of low-fat food, we’ll lose weight. We think taking a magical pill will melt the cellulite off our thighs. We’ve resorted to stapling our stomachs closed in an effort to control our eating habits.

Maybe the staples should go on our mouths.

Health Tips Via Eavesdropping


Kearns, United States

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Listening to customers in line at Walmart provided interesting insight into the mind of the American consumer.

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