Thursday, July 17, 2008

The wrong solution to a problem

There is a story about a man who has lost his keys. A man comes out of the office building late one night and finds his co-worker looking intently on the ground under a street light. He goes up and asks what is wrong. The co-worker says I lost my keys. They both look for awhile. Finally the first man asks where is the last place you had them. The co-worker says well I dropped them over there in the parking lot. The guy then asks why in the world are you looking here? The co-worker explains the lighting is so much better here.

Too often people try to use the wrong solution to a problem. Often a proposed solution may be flashy, sound good and even may seem like it should work, but it still will be dead wrong.

I thought of the above story while reading about a recent attempt by a L.A. city council member to solve the problem of obesity in South-Central Los Angeles. Her solution is to stop allowing new fast-food restaurants to open. In other parts of LA fast food restaurants are 16 percent while in South-Central LA it is a whopping 45 percent.

Think about that for a minute. In America today we have choices on where we eat. No one dictates or tells us where we have to eat. As consumers we are in the driver's seat. Restaurants which meet our demands are successful and stay in business. In South-Central Los Angeles many of the successful ones serve fast food, not because they want to, but because that is what the customer demands.

Trying to force healthier restaurants into South-Central LA to solve obesity is like looking for the keys under the street light. It won't solve the problem. People will continue to eat where they want to eat.

Technorati tags: parenting, children


Crimson Wife said...

Many low-income families eat poorly because they lack access to affordable healthy food. Many urban neighborhoods don't have a real grocery store so if a family doesn't have a car, it can be tricky to get things like fresh produce. Perhaps instead of trying to ban fast food joints, the councilmember should be trying to get a program like the "Veggie Mobile" recently featured on CNN.

christinemm said...

Regarding what crimson wife said then that is a good example of why it is a shame that the way our country has developed requires driving and stores at longer distances compared to the older way of having small shops and veggie stands right in the city neighborhods.

Henry Cate said...

When Janine and I were enaged we did some pre-marriage counciling. The therapist made a point that has stuck with me for sixteen years: "Most issues have 50 causes."

Low-income families who eat poorly may have less access to affordable healthy food, but I think there are also several other reasons. It has been my experience that some of them were never taught to appreciate heathy food. Others know that fast food is bad for their bodies, and they should eat heathy good, but they just don't care.

The "Veggie Mobile" sounds interesting.