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February 28, 2007

dumpster diving

this weekend, our new roommate moved in, a hungarian girl named maria. last night, we took her dumpster diving for the first time.

the first place we stopped was accidental. we were looking for the food lion dumpster, but instead found one at a bakery. martin and moshe jumped in while maria and i stood outside to take what they handed us and put it in the car. the three of us roared with laughter and excitement as they extracted loaves of bread, rolls, biscuits, cakes, pies, tarts, muffins, and a fudge brownie cheesecake. maria, however, was baffled.

"but why? why is it in the dumpster? what is wrong?"
"nothing. capitalism."
"but why do they throw it out?"
"because they can't make a profit off of it. and they're not going to give it away, or people would stop paying for it. so they throw it out."

she stood there, shaking her head. i picked up the still-wrapped loaves of sliced french bread that martin had just tossed on the ground and grinned. "welcome to america."

the next stop was trader joe's, where the dumpster gods were smiling on us. under a couple bags of actual garbage, i unearthed a trash bag full of cheese, spinach dip, couscous salad, and hummus. martin, on the other side, called out, "bananas! a whole bag!" they were barely ripe, complete with "organic!" stickers. a few minutes later he found the bottle of balsamic vinegar, with a small dent in the cap. then the jar of pitted kalamata olives. i hopped from foot to foot, giggling, when he pulled out the rosemary & salt focaccias. moshe took the ezekiel bread, vegan pad thai, and eco-friendly laundry detergent. maria wanted the frozen edamame.

after twenty minutes, we had to turn away while there was still perfectly good food in the dumpster, because there was no room left in the car. maria still didn't understand why so much perfectly good food would be thrown away. we just shrugged and said, "neither do we. but we do our part to make sure it doesn't go to waste."

Posted by emily at February 28, 2007 4:03 PM


love it.

Posted by: Emily Re. at February 28, 2007 4:49 PM

man, that is an awesome hall.

Posted by: kevin at February 28, 2007 5:32 PM

I was in charge of throwing away "the defective stuff", when I worked at Target. It was a bummer sometimes. Especially when I had to throw away about 20 bags of good inv. wrapped candy, just because the bags that held them had tiny holes.

Yeah, I took some candy.

Posted by: Cory Weaver at February 28, 2007 5:42 PM

It really is hard to believe all the good stuff that gets thrown out. And it's not just food - when I
worked at the bookstore we threw out tons of paperbacks and magazines that were perfectly good. It broke my heart to tear up books whose only fault was they didn't sell well enough. It would cost too much to send them back, so we discarded them. And the magazines got thrown out just because they were last week's issue. What a waste!

I miss you, but I'll see you in March!

Posted by: Dee at February 28, 2007 6:10 PM

what kind of film was in the Smena, and what kind did you use? looks cross processed and i really like them

Posted by: brad at February 28, 2007 6:25 PM

The GVSU dorm dumpsters and apartment dumpsters in April were awesome. I found a jar of change and a brand new pair of gold and ruby earring still in their little velvet box!!!!!! And porn that they can't take back to mommy and daddy's...hahahaha. Not to mention textbooks galore that sell on half.com College kids might be the most wasteful of all!

Posted by: audrey at March 1, 2007 1:39 AM

The best part of this post is how gourmet the stuff is. I was reading the list of items from Trader Joe's and thinking; "If I wanted these, I'd probably talk myself out of such luxuries and stick with the peanut butter and jelly."

I think I should start checking the dumpsters for bananas. They are so under-ripe in the stores here that I have to buy them like 5 days in advance so that they won't be slender green rocks when I eat them. I love soft bananas!

Posted by: Anthony at March 1, 2007 11:02 PM

Not all "de-consumptuism" is a product of capitalism and/or the profit motive; some is due to (surprise!) government regulation--especially when it comes to food. Yep, the same FDA that says it's okay to use this, that, and the other additive to extend shelf life mandates disposal of perfectly good (and in many cases, probably healthier) non-preserved comestibles.

Posted by: LFU Dono at March 2, 2007 6:01 AM

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