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Thank you for publishing Stephanie Mencimer’s insightful article on Fresh Fields (“You Aren’t What You Eat,” 1/21). I concur with her assessment of the manipulative marketing techniques of Fresh Fields and the status-seeking of its smug pseudo-liberal customers. True liberals shop at the Takoma Park Silver Spring Food Co-op, not at a hugely profitable chain store. Fresh Fields, however, taps successfully into rampant baby boomer paternalistic elitism and the nouveau riche (or wannabe riche) belief that expensive is better. Unfortunately, as I am not quite the right demographic, I don’t perceive the intangible benefits that would justify Fresh Fields’ high prices. For me, Fresh Fields is like a shoe that pinches—irksome, uncomfortable, and a waste of good money.
Fresh Fields is the epitome of today’s niche marketing. As niches become narrower, diversity will mean people will all have their own places to shop, where they will be safe in the knowledge that the other customers will be just like them, their expectations will not be challenged, and their preconceptions will be met. But what harm is there in that? By all means, spend the money! Just don’t be so pleased with yourself about it.
By the way, Trader Joe’s has wittier vignettes about its products, lower prices, and, best of all, tasty food! It’s a great alternative to Fresh Fields for those unwilling to pay snooty New Age prices.
Silver Spring, Md.