Monday, August 31, 2009

More Blogs About Corn and Cord Wood

Dear Rich: You said: "if something is for sale in the U.S., it has a trademark." Nonsense. As to your ear of corn, I have never in my life seen a trademark sticker on an ear of corn. And I grew up in Central Illinois. I don't know what kind of fancy-shmantzy gourmet stores you shop in, but my local supermarket has no trademark stickers on the corn, the green beans, the peppers, the cord wood, etc. How about the farm stand along the road, where the ragged sign simply says "farm stand"? No question that most products sold (surely packaged products) bear a trademark. But to say that all products do is simply unnecessary hyperbole. Oh, and try shopping at the local supermarket along with the plebians. Thanks for all the comments on this issue -- who knew? -- and to avoid any more on this thread, let's throw in the towel and say, "Yes, there are things sold in the U.S. without trademarks." To our regular readers, we're sorry. The Dear Rich staff is here to provide practical answers to reader questions, and not to become involved in what might be perceived as academic discussions, policy issues, or food fights. In any case, allow us to respond to a few of the issues raised by this letter.
"Try Shopping at the Local Supermarket ... "
As our research video (see below) demonstrates, there's no question that the plebian-friendly Safeway, serves up its produce with a heady dose of trademarks (some of which they market to third parties.)  There are store brands, grower brands, and the ubiquitous PLU stickersThese stickers are intended to assist in tracking the produce, and often include a source trademark. (For those tired of peeling off stickers, get ready for tattooed pears.) 
"The Ragged Sign Simply Says 'Farm Stand' ... "
We like your description of the farm stand sign. We can almost see it on the sun-dappled two-lane, right there with the Burma shave signs, and junior's handmade lemonade sign. But is it real or nostalgia? And anyway, if agra-business and local ordinances have not decimated the U.S. farm stand, there's probably a "stealth" trademark traveling with that ear of yellow stuff anyway (considering that 70% of the corn grown in the U.S. is GMO -- please Monsanto, don't sue; we promise to eat our vegetables!).