5/29/07 | Free Chips
[ Currently Eating: Coffee with Milk ]
I probably could’ve given this post a more tabloid-ish title like “Dumpster Diving 101″ (Note to self: see if this book exists and if not, start writing it). But Cheap Eats isn’t about controversey, is it? Nevertheless, this was a sort of interesting little tidbit that I’d like to share that occurred over the Memorial Day holiday.
First off – I’m going to be taking a little “vacation” so I’ll be resuming Cheap Eats coverage in about 2-3 weeks. Just a warning for the droves of fan boys and girls who flock to the site every day hoping for an extra update. Haha.
So, you might think I’d been sent this jumbo variety 50-pack of chips from Frito Lay or something. Or that I’d scored it from the folks for free after they mistakenly bought two of them at CostCo (and let me tell you, that happens often).
Nope, I got this package of chips out of the TRASH CAN.
Here’s what happened – I play roller hockey at a slightly secluded park that has very good amenities, including a snack bar. This weekend when we finished with the pickup game we had commenced starting a little mini-BBQ complete with carne asada, sausages and potato salad to celebrate Memorial Day. Because the park is rather difficult to find and unknown to most outsiders, we were nearly the only ones there near the snack bar. The bar wasn’t even open, but there were people working inside on other things. We saw them come out of the snack bar, walk over to the trash cans where we were sitting and dump an enormous plastic bag full of these chips right into the trash can.
Someone asked what they were doing, and they said they couldn’t sell the chips any longer because they had expired, but we were free to take them out of the trash. I guess they couldn’t legally give them to us, maybe because of the possibility of lawsuit from eating bad chips. However, once they were in the trash, they weren’t liable. They later just put the remaining packages with the chips still sealed in plastic right on top of the trash can so we wouldn’t have to pick them out of the can.
I think they dumped at least four of these boxes in the trash cans, perhaps more. Someone actually pulled the entire plastic garbage bag out of the trash and we started going through the chips. (The bag was a brand new garbage bag, by the way). Needless to say, I felt sorta weird digging around in the trash – not that I look down on homeless people and others who do that on a regular basis. It’s just that I haven’t really done that for food – I’d dived in the dumpster many a time at my old work place where they’d throw away perfectly good office supplies, software and computer manuals. I literally climbed inside and just sorted through the stuff. It’s just amazing what big corporations will throw away.
All of the chips were fresh and tasted perfectly ordinary. They’re about one and a half months beyond the date. I ended up carting off the one 50-pack in the picture because no one else wanted it. I guess everyone’s watching their weight nowadays, though it seemed like a waste to leave them behind.
I’ve often thought about posting about things like this that fall in a sort of “gray” area on Cheap Eats, but have mostly stuck to reviews and recipes. Surprisingly, there have been many people who have written in who I think are really under tough times and REALLY need to eat cheaply. And I don’t mean just starving college students eating ramen either, although I fell into that category long ago. I might try to make a few more of these type of posts in the future. We’ll see… I’m not 100% sure these issues are the type of thing that I want to post on a regular basis.
Found At: Dumpster in Park
Cheap Eats Score: 9/10