Over the past year or so, most of us have probably noticed that the grocery products we normally buy have been getting smaller and smaller, but the prices have remained the same, or even gone up. At first it was subtle – the bags of frozen vegetables were a little smaller, but close to the original size. Cereal boxes were smaller too, as were bags of candy, chips and snacks. Other things like canned goods that were more difficult to change remained the same, but prices went up. Lately, the bags of vegetables have gotten even smaller, to the point that they’re now the size of those little cardboard boxes they used to come in 30 years ago. In a country where most of us do not eat enough vegetables, I find this particularly daunting, but that’s a topic for another time.
So the food packaging downsizing has been going on for a while, and I’ve mostly gotten used to it. Until I opened a carton of LARGE eggs. What happened to my eggs? I’ve been buying large eggs for years and I know what large eggs look like. But these were clearly MEDIUM eggs. I dismissed it – it must have been a mistake, large eggs put into the medium eggs carton. Until it happened again and again.
So how do we get different sized eggs? Turns out I’m an expert on this; everything I know about chickens and eggs I learned in the chicken coop in my parent’s farm as a five-year-old. The chickens sat in their roosts, eggs magically appeared and I collected them. Our chickens were all about the same size, medium for a chicken I’d say, so we had medium-sized eggs. By extrapolation, one can surmise that egg size is related to chicken size. If you don’t believe that, consider the ostrich. They are huge birds and they lay huge eggs. So we used to get large eggs from large chickens, but now we are getting medium eggs from medium chickens but calling them large. So what’s happened to the large chickens? The only logical explanation is that they’ve essentially been laid off – downsized, outsourced, put on unemployment. I’ve seen them standing outside of Manpower waiting for it open, cooped up in the unemployment office filing their claims, trying to make their wings type in their social security numbers, holding their W2s in their little beaks, and standing in chicky lines at job fairs. It makes sense. Chicken farmers are trying to cut costs, just like everyone else. Large chickens eat more food, take up more space in the hen-house and leave larger chicky messes. Just like those experienced workers who’ve been laid off so less experienced and lower paid workers can take their place, the large chickens have been usurped by the medium ones. They’ve packed up their nests and flown the coop, carrying their boxes of chicky photos, coffee mugs, and staplers under their wings as they file out, heads down, wattles wattling, feathers drooping.
So what’s an unemployed chicken to do? Well, if nothing turns up, if no farmer decides to upsize to large eggs, there’s one place that still always needs chicken. Unfortunately, it’s…KFC
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