Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“Can you super-size that please?”

At the risk of sounding un-PC and reinforcing a stereotype, it struck me as funny when a largish person (I think obese is a term with some stigma, although I’m confident she would fit the technical definition) who’s visiting the office for a week asks her nearest cube-mate whether there’s anyplace that will deliver lunch.

In San Francisco, most people who work in downtown office buildings go out for lunch to one of the many, many restaurants, delis, etc. that are squeezed into nearly every crevice that isn’t occupied by a Starbucks or office space. There are probably three or four dozen eateries within easy walking distance (a block or three) of our office, offering everything from cheap soup and sandwiches to exquisite dining.

All I could think when I heard this person ask about delivery was, “Perhaps if you walked a little more each day you would be in better shape. After all, you’re visiting one of the most walkable cities in the country, a city with more restaurants per capita than almost anywhere else, and it’s not even bloody raining or anything.

Since I’m already probably offending people, I might as well just go ahead and add that this woman was a Southerner. Now, before you cry foul and nail me to a piece of wood for my wanton sterotyping, let’s just reflect that nine of the ten states with the most obese Americans are Southern states, and yes, she was from one of those states.

In fact, I’m always struck by the astonishing difference when we travel to Missouri (#12 most obese state) and suddenly notice that we’re the thinnest people nearly everywhere we go, sometimes the only thin people!

I wonder if people who live in the South experience a similar wonder when they travel to the coasts and see more thin people.

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