Crudités or veggie trays? Mehmet Oz’s grocery store video is roasted.
What does a veggie tray really cost in Pennsylvania?
Most folks who have hosted a party have been on either the buying or receiving end of a veggie tray. It’s an almost obligatory hors d’oeuvre and often goes untouched. This week, however, it’s having a moment.
On Monday, an April video of Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Mehmet Oz food-shopping went viral on Twitter. Oz was ostensibly running an errand for his wife, who had requested “some vegetables for crudités.”
He gathered items in his hands as he cruised a produce aisle, tabulating the cost as he went: a stalk of broccoli, a bunch of asparagus, a 5-pound bag of carrots, a container of guacamole, and a tub of fresh salsa. Arms nearly overflowing, Oz concluded the video: “Guys, that’s $20 for crudités, and this doesn’t include the tequila. I mean, that’s outrageous. And we got Joe Biden to thank for this.”
Just a man of the people shopping for cru·di·tés. https://t.co/1fLV0PK8mF— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) August 15, 2022
Besides forgoing a shopping cart, Oz misidentified the store he was in as Wegner’s, presumably a portmanteau of Wegmans and Redner’s, a central Pennsylvania chain of supermarkets concentrated in Reading.
Now, Wegner’s has its own Twitter profile, which has led to some confusion for those late to the party.
Oz’s opponent, John Fetterman, seized the moment, reportedly generating $500,000 of donations in the wake of the video going viral. The Fetterman campaign is thanking donors with stickers that read “Wegners: Let them eat crudité.”
Fetterman also used Oz’s word choice as a moment to underscore the fact that the TV personality and retired doctor only recently moved to the state, something that has dogged Oz’s campaign. (Others pointed out that Oz would need to head to the State Store to buy that tequila.)
In PA we call this a... veggie tray https://t.co/nDp0Uw27zd— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) August 15, 2022
Other Democrats joined in on the jokes, as did Four Seasons Total Landscaping, the Philadelphia business that rocketed to fame during the 2020 election cycle.
I feel like not enough was made of the fact that he didn’t have a basket for his groceries. Maybe he’s honest to goodness never done this before.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) August 16, 2022
Nothing like coming home and cracking open a cold beer after a long day at Wegner’s.— Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (@malcolmkenyatta) August 15, 2022
We have a press conference coming up so just popping down to Wegners for some crudités. Anybody want want anything?— Four Seasons Total Landscaping (@TotalSeasons) August 17, 2022
This isn’t the first time food has tripped up candidates in Pennsylvania. Then-presidential candidate John Kerry attempted to order a cheesesteak with Swiss at Pat’s King of Steaks in 2003. In 2012, Mitt Romney went to Wawa on a campaign stop and ordered “a sub” and referred to the beloved chain as “Wawa’s.”
The Oz video spread far beyond Pennsylvania, though, with celebrities and commentators weighing in. Even the ever-thoughtful chef José Andrés offered to show Oz how to save money and prepare a better appetizer.
god dammit joe !!!! lower the price of crudités https://t.co/54eC91jzR3— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) August 15, 2022
Making a crudites platter is one of those activities that humanizes a senate candidate— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) August 15, 2022
.@DrOz I’m inviting you to come with me and shop together! Buy the avocado+tomatoes you can make the guacamole+salsa for 2$ and you can make great vegetable fried rice for 12 people! Less than 1$ per person!😘#LearnToShopBipartisan pic.twitter.com/uGwJMYzRPt— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) August 15, 2022
What’s the real cost of a veggie tray, by the way? A small one from Redner’s retails for $22.99 and feeds 10 to 15 people. Wegmans’ site offers a large veggie tray with ranch dip for $18. And at the Passyunk Acme on Tuesday evening, the trays were selling for $12.99 a pop. There was only one left.