Oranges, Peeled and Packaged

business_ethics_highlights_2The world went crazy when this picture of peeled-but-packaged oranges surfaced on the internet this week. See the criticism below. >>>

oranges_packaged

LINK: Whole Foods’ Pre-Peeled Oranges Are the Ultimate in Bourgeois Laziness (by Daniela Galarza for Eater.com)

The short version: many many people on Twitter said something along the lines of, ‘this is ridiculous… oranges are naturally gifted with amazing packaging (i.e., their peel) and THIS packaging is stupid and environmentally evil.’

But then, a disabilities rights activist tweeted a series of comments in rebutal, on Twitter, and summarized here:  >>>

LINK: Disability Access and Pre-Peeled Oranges (by Ana Mardoll for Storify.com)

The short version: Not everyone is physically able to easily peel an orange. People with certain disabilities may find peeling an orange well nigh impossible, and so peeled-and-packaged oranges can be amazing and liberating.

So, here’s the hard question: does the value of such packaging for people living with disabilities justify selling oranges packaged this way to thousands of non-disabled individuals? You can imagine the disabilities activist’s point taken to the extreme: make every product easier to access, and to hell with environmental impact. Of course, no one is saying that. But we should probably differentiate between a) a company that is legitimately trying to do something great for people living with disabilities, and b) a company that is doing something bone-headed that just accidentally happens to be good for people living with disabilities.

What do you think?


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