Urbandumpsterdiver's Blog

June 22, 2011

Dine and Dash

Filed under: Social Commentary — urbandumpsterdiver @ 10:15 pm

Had to do some serious meat shopping tonight. Stopped at a huge discount store that I normally find to be pretty ethical on how they treat their staff and their customers. Something disturbed me. I was going to buy a bucket of potato salad. I have decided dining out is a no no and date night is a picnic lunch at the ocean. There were about 100 gallons of potato salad in the refrigerated container. All were dated to expire, tomorrow June 23rd.

So I asked the manager if he was going to either give a huge discount on them or give them away. Oh no we can’t do that. We send them back in a refrigerated container and get store credit. I said let me get this straight. You’re going to send back 100 containers of potato salad for “store credit”. This will go on a refrigerated truck, using precious fuel and polluting the planet for “store credit”. I said this is absurd.

I said here’s a thought. Why don’t you take all those potato salads off the shelf and GIVE those away right now to the customers in the store. You have plenty of families who come into this store who are hurting. These same families bought food from your store lining your pockets and your bosses pockets with income. OR sell them to me at a discount price, I’ll haul them in my truck and give them out to the hungry myself. He said Ma’am I cannot do that. I said OK. I wanted to plant the seed.

So tomorrow, this store’s corporate office is getting a phone call from me personally.

I come back home and put away all my food. Then I decided to go back out. I stopped at one of my local haunts for dumpster diving. The stuff they were going to throw out was sitting on the ground ready to be thrown out. I drove by like a super dumpster diving sleuth grabbed 2 bags of trash and took them home.

Tons and tons of good new stuff. Some for my stockpile and some for those who could use it. I don’t have to work, my hubby makes good money, but MANY of my readers are hurting and in a big way. If I can give some goodies to those who need it, then that works for me.

Be kind to each other, we’re all hurting or traumatized in some way from this economy. A little kindness goes a long way.

Dine and Dash



  1. Ta, ‘Wonderwoman’. We love your sleuthing +audacity.
    It is a” crime against hungry people” for food to be dumped in “landkill”.
    Please, let us know if you can follow up on the absurdity of ‘return and credit’ for unsold potatoe salad.
    Sydney, Australia has an award winning charity named “”OZHARVEST””.
    They pick up fresh unsold/unused food and deliver to hungry people, on the same day.
    Good on you.

    Comment by annineorh — June 24, 2011 @ 2:49 am

  2. Thank you Annie. Left a message with the store yesterday. No call back yet. If I do not hear from them I will follow through on Monday. Activists in Orlando Florida arrested for feeding the homeless and the hungry. Wall street bankers fleece Americans and are sitting fat and happy resting on 1,000 count sheets. I like the idea of the Ozharvest. What a great idea.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — June 24, 2011 @ 7:45 am

  3. First, I love your blog. Just read every post. Mucho congrats on finding your sweetie. I’m very happy for you both.

    You seem rather upset about corporate policies you deem wasteful. You wonder, “Why can’t large chain stores discount or give away damaged goods to employees? Why can’t they give such goods to needy customers or charities? Why such waste?”

    Please don’t fret on this matter. The answer is simple. Large chain companies have been in business for decades. They have tried common-sense give-away rules in the past. And they were badly burned by employee theft. As an employee, it’s all too easy to “create” damage and get a free widget. Companies must set up a system to discourage employee theft at all levels. That’s why when one sock is missing from a bag of 10, the entire bag is shipped back to the warehouse.

    There’s also the matter of Uncle Sam’s influence via corporate taxes. Product loss is a tax deduction. Tax deductions are cash. Therefore, product loss is cash. On a small local scale, such cash flow is negligible. But for a nationwide chain, damaged goods equate to millions of dollars saved.

    Comment by brian — June 24, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  4. Hi Brian, thank you for concise answer on this waste. I appreciate your kind words.

    Employee theft may not be a problem if employees were paid better, treated better and given better benefits. When you pay people well, they have less reason to steal. I’m sure there are bad employees who will steal no matter what, but for the most part, people are inherently good. You can’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Shipping the 9 socks back to the warehouse is bad business sense economically. Those socks have made 3 trips now, once from the original manufacturer to the distributor, once from the warehouse to the store, then back to the original warehouse for returns, wasting gas time and energy. Unless the originating store donate the socks, they fill our landfills, creating methane gas and unnecessary waste.

    Throwing a product in the trash that is perfectly good is not a tax loss, it’s something the store could not sell. If it was stolen from the store, that’s a loss. Excess inventory thrown in the trash is not loss, it’s waste. That type of tax deduction IMO is tax fraud and corporate america is not immune to cooking the books.

    Once again, the same customers who would benefit from the reduced price goods that were damaged (ie the missing sock out of the 10 piece packet) were the same customers who made these stores the economic success that they now are. These same stores looked the other way when factories were closing all over America and chose the low ground of buying cheap Chinese imports instead of American products.

    I loathe waste and dishonesty. I’m also very weary of the little guy in America constantly getting the shaft. And when things are destroyed or thrown out on purpose, that makes me very angry.

    These companies value a tax writeoff over giving back to the community they so tokenly say they value. The amount of goodwill and good karma would far overshadow the tax writeoff. If you knew a particular company gave it’s employee surplus food in order for them to not go hungry wouldn’t you be more inclined to shop there? It would certainly save on the federal government giving out free food via food stamps. I certainly would and so would many of my readers. If a particular company gave battered women’s shelters excess makeup, wouldn’t that make you want to shop there? I would and so would many of my readers.

    We are in an economic depression. And until we do several things to bring the economy back such as reducing the price of gas, abolishing the federal reserve and give justice back to the little guy, we’re doomed.

    And as long as these stores continue to throw out perfectly good items, I’ll continue to dumpster dive and give those items to the poor.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — June 24, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  5. Annie – I just got a call from the store (and she couldn’t get me off the phone fast enough). Allegedly the manager told me the wrong info. Perishable items are trashed. They said they tried to donate and give stuff away but they got sued and employees would use this as an excuse to steal. She said the non-perishable items are sold to a salvage store for .30 on the dollar.

    I’m sure some of that is true.But I still stand by the fact that these corporate giants are wasteful and would see something thrown in the trash than to give it to someone.

    I still say it’s bad policy. I’m still looking out for the little guy. The peon who has no power. The underdog, the taxpayer, the factory worker, the kid who goes off to fight these stupid foreign wars, the waitress, the school teacher. That’s who I care about.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — June 24, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  6. As an exercise, you might consider creating a private, non-profit retail corporation. An “ethical” version of Walmart if you will. Make “green” and waste-free the company’s primary focus. Sell products at wholesale costs with zero profit. Set prices just high enough to provide good-paying jobs with health care and cover operating costs such as utility bills and maintenance. Make all management positions 100% volunteer with no pay or other indirect benefits. Nothing but experienced retired folks wanting to contribute to the community will run the company.

    Does such a company exist? If not, why?

    My point is that it’s very easy to critique impersonal corporations, but there are a gajillion details to running a business and their policies have evolved over a long time period. Their rules may not make sense on the surface, but you might consider opening your mind to the viewpoint of the bean-counters who must justify their paycheck by mathmatically showing whether more money is saved by trashing damaged goods or allowing employees to keep them. Perhaps they adopted exactly the rules you want as an experiment in a few stores, and discovered it was a dismal failure.

    Finally, it’s a testament to your sweet nature, but I regret you’re very naive regarding good pay decreasing employee theft. Managers steal. Rich, retired, part-time old ladies steal. I’ve worked retail security, and theft is always about greed rather than need.

    Comment by brian — June 24, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  7. Brian – you make some good points. I appreciate your candor and posting on my blog. I hope I’m not naive about people stealing, but I do know there are bad people out there. However if you have an employee who steals, you fire them. There are plenty of people who are out of work right now who would never even think of stealing.

    I do believe that many corporations continue to throw the baby out with the bath water. In my many years of working in corporate America I experienced much waste firsthand. There is as much bureaucracy in the corporate sector (especially large corporations) as there is in the government.

    That is why I’ll continue to dumpster dive. If a store throws perfectly good stuff out, I’ll be there to take it out of the dumpster.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — June 24, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

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