Archive

Tag Archives: grocery stores

You may have heard this one before: “I work at a grocery store.” It’s really not that exciting. It’s really not how I enjoy spending my time. But, you know, it pays (mostly) for school.

This morning, I went to work. 6 AM, baby. Yes, there are people awake at that hour. Sometimes, there are even people shopping at that hour. I know, I agree – they are insane.

I work in the produce department. Maybe you’ve heard of it? We have lettuce. We have apples. Etc, etc, etc.

We have what is technically called (in the produce biz) “perishable” food. That means most of it needs to be refrigerated. That means it is either fresh produce or freshly packaged produce, and expires/molds quickly. (Non-perishable would be canned or boxed stuff, stuff that doesn’t need refrigeration and can last for thousands of years on the shelves in your pantry.)

Sometimes, we have to throw our produce away. Sometimes this happens because it gets damaged (think: small child likes to poke holes into apples/peppers/anything slightly squishy), sometimes it happens because no one buys it before the expiration date (this is often the case for packaged produce).

This morning, I had to throw some of the latter away. Before we throw the stuff out, we have to scan all the barcodes to record what is getting thrown out. I did this. I scanned each package of salad/fruit/veggies out one by one and dropped them into an extra-large garbage can. Most of it looked perfectly fine. It wasn’t damaged; it wasn’t brown or moldy. It was simply past the date on the package, so I had to throw it out.

I do this all the time – throw away perfectly good food. It’s my job. Everyone at my store does it. Each night, multiple shopping carts full of trash bags full of food are thrown away. You get used to it, don’t even think about it – it’s expired, throw it away. It’s expired, throw it away.

This morning, though, I got angry. As I dropped bag by bag by cup of produce away, I got angry. Why?  Why was I doing this? Why couldn’t I give this stuff to someone? How many people in the world could use this food? How many people right here in my own city? 

It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right.

I wonder how much perfectly good food is thrown away every day. I do my own share of it – along with  every other person who works at a grocery store, along with however many other people who work at  how ever many other places who throw away food that could go to people who need it.

Yes, there are expiration dates for a reason. And sometimes, stuff really does need to be used/thrown away by its expiration date. But not always, not usually.

It’s not only expired product, either. And today, it certainly wasn’t:

It’s November 2nd. Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is coming (along with Winter -eeek!). My store still had a giant box full of 30 or so Jack-O-Latern-sized pumpkins left over from Halloween. What did we do with all of those pumpkins?

We threw them away.

Why? I don’t know.

We could have marked the price down. Hell, people still would have bought them at their original price ($8, buy one get one free).

We could have donated them to our local food bank.

We could have given the damn things away for free.

No. We threw them away. Into the giant trash compactor they went.

Again, why? Why was this OK?

How is waste like this not illegal?

How many people could have used those pumpkins, for one thing or another?

Maybe they would have just carved them up as belated Jack-O-Lanterns. Maybe they would have simply plopped them on their front porches for Thanksgiving decorations. Maybe they would have only wanted them for the seeds. Maybe they would have made pumpkin pie. Maybe they wanted to shoot at them with their giant shotguns.

No. We threw them away. Without a second thought from the store manager. It was easier to deal with them that way – toss them out.

I think people forget about other people. I think they don’t care. I think they like to do what’s easiest for them. I think they are self-centered and narrow-minded.

I think they waste a lot of fucking pumpkins.

 

 

 

 

 

I think one of the main goals I have in life is to be interesting. There’s this sticky note on my end table that says “be more awe-inspiring today”.

It’s been there for a while now, and I glance at it every now and then and it reminds me to be, well, awe-inspiring.

I guess “interesting” and “awe-inspiring” are cousins.

I just want to lead a well-lived life. That’s what it’s all about for me.

About a week ago, a beautiful blue-eyed boy asked me the following question: “What did you do today?” My brief, uninteresting answer consisted mostly of: “nothing much”.

What did you do today?

This question has stuck with me. I might be adding another sticky note to my table soon.

What did you do today?

What did you do today? Anything interesting? Anything awe-inspiring? Anything that will help lead your life to where you want it to go?

Anything at all?

No?

My term “interesting” can be as general or as specific as you want it to be.

“Interesting” can be going scuba-diving with chinese dolphins, or buying a new brand of toothpaste.

I like to group “interesting” in with “awe-inspiring”, though. That’s just me.

So, how to be an interesting person:

1. Read. Old books, new books. The news. Your Twitter feed. Blogs written by intelligent people. Just read!

2. Watch movies. Classics. Crappy horror flicks. RomComs. Foreign films with subtitles.

3. Travel. Go camping in the middle of the woods. Go to Las Vegas. Go to the beach. Go to a crowded shopping mall. Fly in an airplane. Take a train across the country.

4. Talk. Meet new people. Talk to the old lady in the grocery store. That coworker you’ve never spoken to. The waitress. The person next to you on the subway. Your mom.

5. Write. Write things down. On actual paper. Put the time, date, and location on everything. Be one of those people who carry around a notebook.

6. Take Photographs. All the time. Everywhere you go! Feel free to upload them all using various filters on Instagram. (follow me! @ohnewfree)

This is my list so far! I’m sure it will grow with time, just like my sticky note collection. All I know is that I’d like to do something interesting at least once a day, just in case that blue-eyed boy asks me: “What did you do today?” again some time. I’d also like to be able to answer that question for myself.