Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I stood in line at the buffet counter at the Ocean’s Fresh Food Market at 410/7 plaza on a Friday night, waiting to get some fried wings for my son. The service was pretty fast even though the line was long. I patiently waited and listened while some customer ahead of me commented on the Friday night crowd. I just smiled. 

When my turn came, I ordered the fried wings and some steamed rice with lemon chicken. While I was waiting for the person to hand me my bag of food, I glanced at some of the pre-packaged food on the counter. My eyes grew wide as I spied a huge cockroach crawling across the plastic wrapping of a package of spring rolls. I stepped back. The lady who had been in front of me was called to claim her bag of food and when she leaned in to grab her food, I put my arm out, “Watch out!” I almost screamed. 

She looked at me and I kind of just “pointed” my eyes in the direction of the cockroach and she gasped. That got the attention of the lady in front of her and she looked at me and I looked at her and I also gave her the “follow my eyes” look. Now, you would think that we would have just walked out of the store, but we didn’t. As a matter of fact, the lady who was in front of me told her daughter to pretend like she didn’t see that! She just took her bag and got in line to pay, so did the lady before her, and so did I.

Now, when I see a cockroach I want to heave. In my opinion, those things are the dirtiest, most disgusting bugs in the insect world. And I regularly spray my home and take preventative measures so that I don’t ever see one of those things climbing in my cupboards.

Everyone knows Chinese have their own way of handling food. I mean, have you seen the meat counter? They don’t care about cockroaches or bugs or bacteria. I have heard about people getting food poisoning after ingesting meat bought at Ocean’s. Also, the meat comes from downtown Toronto… no need to say more. 

But seeing cockroaches in food stores such as this one is not the issue here. The real issue is our incredible knack of looking the other way. In almost every facet of our lives, we have learned to look the other way. We see someone being mistreated, we mind our own business; we see someone litter, we ignore it; we see gross negligence and ignorance everywhere these days, but we have grown immune. We seem to think that if we pretend not to see something then it isn’t there; we are very selective, it’s part of our survival mechanism; we don’t find trouble and, we pray, trouble doesn’t find us.  

Okay, so we saw a cockroach, maybe we’ll eat one in our noodles; the world is not perfect; people are not perfect. I hear this kind of thing all the time and it just sounds like an excuse to me. Yes, I agree we are not perfect, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t strive for perfection, strive for better service, better quality of work, better products, and better quality of life. 

I thought about these things on the drive home and when I got home, I took the bag and threw it in the dumpster. I figure, I have to start somewhere, and after I told my son what happened, he was glad I did what I did.