Sometimes I feel very New York. Or maybe I just mean impatient. Thursday, for no reason whatsoever I was getting steamed while steamrolling pedestrians on my walk from subway to office thinking about how Portlanders wait for the light to change before crossing the street even when there is no car in sight and that I probably did the same thing for years even though I can't remember it because I didn't know better. Does it make you a rube to follow the rules? I mean, you can and will get ticketed for jaywalking in Portland.
And then when I get all ruffled over Whole Foods giving employee discounts based on BMIs, I realize I still have some Portland Libertarian in me. I don't even shop at Whole Foods so who gives a shit. But I do. With the exception of feminist and non-fat-apologist blogs, the reaction has been more, "fuck you, fatties, lose weight and shut up,” which surprised me because weight is not really the issue.
Whether you're morbidly obese with perfect blood pressure and cholesterol (I'm always surprised on You Are What You Eat that the subjects almost never have health problems—they're just fat and eat crappy food) or a chain smoker on Lipitor who weighs 110 pounds, it's not your employer's business.
I would qualify for a silver-level discount, though I smoked a cigarette last night (who would ever know?) and keep my blood pressure in check with medication (again, who would know?) A 25-pound weight loss and regular exercise has had zero effect on my blood pressure. My doctor says that even if I lost another 20 pounds, it’s likely that I would still need to take medication. Genetics, they are real. I know a slim vegetarian with high cholesterol and another (my gynecologist) with high blood pressure. It does happen.
Of course, it would be Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that has taken a serious interest in this supposed feel-good employee incentive. And also being Portland, a nut has to chime in the comments about how vegans should get a discount. It's only a matter of time before bike-riding brigade starts demanding their health discount too.
Then again, this program isn’t mandatory. If you voluntarily waive your right to privacy for an extra 10% off a bag of Pirate's Booty, then you get what you deserve. Cheaper tasty faux-healthy popcorn, I guess?