Friday, November 18, 2011

941 Free Lunch

941 Free Lunch

One of the supermarket tabloids reported this, so it must be at least as true as the space alien baby kidnappers and the ghosts in the attic:  You can get a decent meal out of a dumpster and never get your hands dirty.

Well, almost never.

The paper says that under cover of darkness, you can stalk the dumpsters of the fanciest restaurants around and come up with discarded food, often carefully packaged and sealed against whatever else lives in the dumpster.  Same with fast food joints like Starbucks, whose franchise agreements demand owners throw out perfectly good stuff at the end of the day.

Save a bundle on groceries that way.

Restaurants don’t donate this stuff to food pantries because they fear law suits that result from someone eating something contaminated.  Same with supermarkets which discard packaged food with “sell by” dates that have passed by only several hours.

A recent exploration found a dozen packages of salad, some neatly wrapped onions a few boxes of soup mix and a few pounds of chopped beef in a dumpster.  All were expired by something like five hours.  In cold weather, that’s like taking the stuff home and leaving it in the refrigerator a day or two beyond the “sell by” date.

Required tools for your own Operation Dumpster:  a box of disposable gloves, a roll of paper towels, a stepladder, a flashlight and a supply of decent garbage bags.   Put on the gloves, climb up the ladder, shine the light in the dumpster, fish around a bit, take what you see, wipe it down with the paper towels and, presto, free lunch.

Is this stealing?  Probably.  Will you get caught?  Maybe.  Will you be prosecuted?  Probably not.  Will you be sickened?  Also, probably not.  Something you’ve retrieved raise questions?  Do what many sport fishermen do: catch and release.

Shrapnel (Penn State Update Edition):

--Defrocked Penn State president Graham “I knew nothing” Spanier, it turns out, isn’t fully defrocked.  A local news website reports he remains a tenured professor.  We love it when a guy in trouble lands on his feet.

--You really have to feel sorry for the poor schlump who is the announcer for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.   He is being pounded by phone calls and hate mail.  That’s because he has the misfortune of being named... Gerry Sandusky (no relation.)

--The Vienna Boys Choir has scheduled a concert at an on-campus venue for next month.  Careful in the showers around here, kleine jungen.  And lawyers, lock up your innocent clients.

Note to readers:  I promised that I wouldn’t write any more than the previous posts about the situation at Penn State in state college.  I lied. Mostly to myself.  There are so many details, so much speculation, so much wringing of hands and so much salacious nonsense associated with this story that it begs for additional perspective from someone outside the community but who lives there.

Until something happens in court -- if ever it really gets beyond the preliminaries -- this is the point on the story’s two-way time line that observers focus on minutia.  And so will we in the coming days, following right along with gory details that may be of interest to other outsiders, which most readers here are.  Monday, 11/2:  An introduction to the cast of this soap opera.  Stay tuned, as we used to say before radio died.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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