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Waste not want not:

We have all heard about poverty, and hunger in the world. We have homeless people, and people who are hungry here in America as well. Hunger in America is far different than hunger in a third world country. There are people of course that would argue that having nothing is the same in America as it is in a third world country. This is not the case, in America somebody else has food, and can help feed those who are less fortunate. There are many food banks, homeless shelters, helpful organizations, and even government aid to help those in need. This is not the case in third world countries. There is no comparison between the two.

There is a lot of waste when it comes to food in this country. I am not just referring to people purchasing food that goes to waste because it sits uneaten in their house until it is spoiled. I am referring to the ridiculous waste that goes on in grocery stores. I spent over 20 years working in the grocery business, and know it well.

Letís start with Nabisco products, as this was a section that I was responsible for maintaining. The store that I worked in received Nabisco products right from Nabisco delivered on one of their trucks, but we were responsible for stocking it. The product would come in on big metal floats, or stacked on a pallet.

The cardboard packaging that Nabisco crackers comes in is not very sturdy. It is like the cover of a paperback book, and can be easily crushed, or damaged. The saltine crackers with 4 sleeves are the worst, if they are not stacked on top they will be damaged.

When the crackers come in the cases are wrapped in plastic. The Triscuit crackers come 12 wrapped together in plastic wrap for example. If these cases are not stacked straight, or shift during shipping, or even have too much weight stacked on top of them, they are easily superciliously damaged.

It is common for some boxes to come in damaged. They will have a crushed corner, or a wrinkle, or a sticker will be stuck to the cardboard box. The plastic covering the case covers about 85% of the product with a little of the cardboard exposed. They place identification stickers on the cases in the warehouse, and where do they end up? They get placed over the little bit of exposed cardboard many times, and no matter how gently you try to remove it, part of the box image will be torn off. Nobody wants to buy a box of crackers that have a crushed corner, or with part of the image torn off. So what happens to these items?

We get credit from Nabisco for damaged items, but they do not want the product returned to them. We open the box, pull the plastic package out, and toss it in the garbage. There is almost never anything wrong with the package, it is still completely sealed, and the crackers all look undamaged, but into the garbage it goes.

Can we eat them? No, that would be stealing, and cause for termination.

Can we donate them to the homeless shelter? No, the plastic packages are not properly labeled. They would need to have an expiration date, and be properly labeled for nutritional content. Somebody could claim that they got sick from eating it, and sue the store for it. No good deed goes unpunished, so in the garbage it stays.

~Did you know that when tomatoes grow on a vine they are fruits, but when you put them in a can they becomes vegetables?~

Cereal was another section that I was responsible for. The cases of cereal are packed in a corrugated cardboard box, and are less likely to get damaged. Do you know what is in a box of cereal? Thatís right a plastic bag of cereal. The same thing happened with them when they were damaged. The box could be damaged, but there is not a broken Cheerio in the bag. Right into the garbage it goes. It was tempting to slide a box knife over the plastic bag, and grab a handful of cereal before throwing it away, but not worth losing your job over it.

There were fruit from the produce department with a bad spot on it, and slightly wilted lettuce, among other things all tossed into the garbage without a second thought.

What happened to the expired bread rolls from the bakery all of which would be fine, soft, and edible after only 10 seconds in the microwave? They were placed gently into a trash receptacle and waited to be transported to the dump to be placed back into the earth.

What an unbelievable waste of food I have witnessed.

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