Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Man's Trash

The rain tears out of the sky hurling itself at the ground as if chased by demons. The large store windows have a spray pattern that any forensic investigator would find child's play. Heavy spatter on the bottom where the rain has hit the sill and bounced up onto the window. It becomes less dense as the eye travels up the window. Some drops have bounced very high in the violence of their escape. Others are mere wind strewn accidents. All are brilliantly illuminated by the ranks of canopy lights over the gas pumps.

The few cars I see on the road spray geysers as they plunge along. The people who do come in for gas stay with their cars. No one wants to get soaked impulsively buying candy or a soda.

It's so easy to feel lazy on slow nights like this. I would rather be busy running between chores and customers than plodding along stocking cups again. Mopping the floor, again. Facing off the shelves, again. Wiping down the counters, again. Throwing out wasted food, again. Cutting the headers off old newspapers, again. Eh, you get it by now.

Hey, hey! Wait, wait, wait! Go back a second! Throw out old food?


Really really?


Evey night by 2a.m. The delivery of fresh pastry arrives. I'm supposed to have it neatly arranged on the shelves by 3. There are muffins and doughnuts, bear claws and apple fritters. All kinds of stuff. Every day I throw out easily half of what we got the night before. Every night more comes. I am often interrupted while tipping trays into bags as the food slides off and officially becomes garbage. So many people are genuinely surprised that it all just gets thrown out. No one can understand why it doesn't go SOMEWHERE. Feed SOMEBODY.

There is a roller grill too of course. The iconic gas station hot dog. Only 2 for $2. The company wants stuff on the grill twenty four hours a day. Just for that impulse buy. I imagine very few people actually long for our various grilled items. We keep a waste log for the grill. We mark down what we put on the grill and what we throw out. Easily, rediculously so, we throw out %75 of everything that goes on the grill. Stuff sits on the grill, goes bad and we replace it. Just in case.

Let's not forget the Deli case ok? Pre-made sandwiches, grinders, (Hoagies, subs, heroes, torpedoes. I don't know any other names. Do you?) fruit cups, hard boiled eggs, all patiently waiting for your approval. Waiting for the expiration date more like it.

Now this is a large chain of convenience stores. I forget the exact number. It's upwards of 600 stores though. Something close to that. Though not all the stores have grills or pastry for that matter; I cringe at the thought of the food that is thrown out every day. If I throw out ten pounds of pastry and hot dogs alone and there are 600 other stores throwing out that much in sandwiches and such, the mind boggles. That is THREE TONS of food. Every day.

Maybe, just maybe we could change corporate's mind about it's food waste. Think of the benefit for the shelters if some of that food could be donated. Maybe if enough people comment on this post I could come up with a phone number to call or an email address to write to to suggest other options.

I imagine I must sound preachy sometimes. You know, think of others, better yourself, blah blah blah. I never think that. I always think we are all like minded. That what I write down everybody must've thought or felt at some point. As the saying goes; the one thing I know for sure is that I don't know anything. There's got to be a better way though. There just has to be.

So as Red Green always says, "I'm pullin' for ya. We're all in this together."



  1. Nice piece Eric.

    Yes! Do call corporate or wherever you can to find out if there is some way others can benefit from the "waste".

  2. I'm sure that soup kitchens would love to have that food. It's sad to think that that they may have regulations that prevent them from serving dated food. This is probably stuff that I'd eat myself. I'm sure that I've eaten things worse than a hot dog that is a few hours old.