Thrown Out of the Store: Denial and Insanity In the Salmon Debate

by Mark McGlothlin on March 18, 2013

in Salmon

I’m not in denial, I’m just selective about the reality I choose to accept. – Calvin and Hobbes

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

I’m sitting in a coffee shop adjacent to the parking lot of the big box superstore I was just escorted out of.

Just for taking a picture.

At least the last time I was asked to leave a public establishment it was the result of a ruckus a small group of us raised over whether or not use of a ‘gob-o-worms’ fly violated some sacrosanct principle of fly fishing.

This time I was escorted out of the big box for taking a cell phone pic of a cooler packed to the brim with farmed salmon. My ‘offense’ consisted of simply walking by the endcap cooler and unceremoniously grabbing the pic; I wasn’t carry signs and didn’t stop to preach to the few other shoppers in the vicinity.

My cart hadn’t even cleared the pork aisle when I was stopped by the manager of the department and asked ‘what the hell are you doing taking pictures of my cooler?’

Somewhat surprised I simply said that I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing good about farmed salmon, going on to explain in a 2 minute diatribe the travesty of the farming process, the damage being inflicted on once pristine saltwater systems in BC, and most importantly the apparent infection of wild stocks with infectious diseases via farmed stock.

I was just gathering steam when the store manager arrived with a hulking, dreadlocked ‘security’ guy, demanded my phone and informed me I had to leave immediately. I played a card I hate to use (prior profession) and asked for three minutes to chat.

Using what I’ll forever think of as the Greg Thomas maneuver, I asked the guys if they had kids and if any of them fished; everyone in fact fly fished save for the dreads dude. Though I’m sure not as eloquently as GT did in Denver in January (my audience wasn’t very receptive today) I made the pitch that selling (and serving) farmed salmon offered not one advantage and in fact propagates a host of problems.

The manager cut me off as I tried to list the advantages of a sustainable wild salmon market; he said he understood the issues though his hands were tied; the meat manager simply said ‘f*ck it, you’re crazy’ and stormed off.

As we headed to the front of the store the manager dismissed the scowling dreads dude and stopped to say that as a store they’re receiving an increasing flow of complaints about farmed salmon which they ‘pass up the chain’.

He though a minute, said follow me and led me back to his office. He looked up a number and wrote it on the back of his card and said ‘here’s the number of the owner’s assistant, give her a call and see where it goes. Who knows, they’re just up the road, maybe you can get somebody’s attention there. Someday we have to stop doing the same stupid stuff over and over again to make a buck.’

And with a handshake and a smile I was told to leave and not come back for day.

I just made the call.

(We posted the Salmon Confidential vid when it broke last week and it was shortly thereafter secured – here’s the updated version of a very, very interesting video.)

Salmon Confidential from Twyla Roscovich on Vimeo.