Everything today is fast. People think fast, speak fast, walk fast, write fast and eat fast. “Fast food has become such an integral part of the busy American lifestyle that there are more than 300,000 restaurants offering it throughout the United States today” (Dorfman, 2001). Since everything is becoming “fast” in the world, the slow food movement if gradually being taken over by the fast food movement and significant factors of the slow food movement are changing because of this. Major supermarket chains and restaurants are replacing the many local stores people always shopped at, changing the prices of food, quality of service and products, as well as availability of food.
The prices of foods show a significant difference between the local market prices and major supermarket chains. As Allison states, “At a local market in my town, I bought a half -gallon of grape juice for $5.00 that would normally cost $2.50 at a supermarket” (2002). Supermarkets and restaurants have chains so they can afford to lower their prices due to global popularity. Sales often happen at supermarkets and fast food chains as another way to keep their businesses popular and well known. These sales keep customers in their establishments and promotes the buying of other products that may not be on sale. Acquiring products in mass quantities aids in keeping prices down on the products that consumers buy. Also, with more variability in supermarkets compared to local markets, customers can choose from a variety of items, which attracts them to the bigger and well known stores. Sometimes restaurants will have promotions to attract people into their establishments such as the current “winning game” at Mcdonalds. Ensuring customers keep coming back to their restaurants, ensures stability and allows food prices to stay low.
The quality of service of employees and the products in a grocery store or restaurant are changing due to the increased awareness of the fast food movement. At fast food restaurants for instance, everything is quick paced and so informal that the employees think very little about taking the extra step in being polite. Dorfman states, “Their involvement is at a minimum, especially since their salaries are, but manners should be a part of everyone’s daily routine, no matter how little they are being paid. These workers seem to be looking for something lost on the floor whenever I place my order” (2001). However, the complete opposite occurs at sit-down and very formal restaurants, including the McDonalds in Beijing. Even though McDonalds is a fast food chain, the one in Beijing is a very elegant and formal place where customers go and stay for hours. The hostesses here and at other formal restaurants are very polite and well manned. “The quality of service seems to increase as salaries increase” (Dorfman 2001).
However, local markets tend to always be nice and friendly because they know the customers and are both producing and selling the products they have. Also, local markets tend to have less chemicals in their food compared to those at supermarkets. “Everything is made fresh at our farm. No preservatives are added to our pies or breads, and our produce is thoroughly washed before it sets the stand”(Allison 2002). Although less chemicals seem to be added to local markets, supermarkets have a variety of items and a lot of availability when it comes to getting certain kinds of foods. At a local market, you can pick from a couple different kinds of the same item, or you can pick from several different kinds of foods, as well as getting fruit or vegetables that may be out of season at a supermarket. Also, many major supermarkets and fast food chains are open over 12 hours a day compared to local markets that usually sell their products for 8 hours.