waste log

September 15. 2000

More pictures of the quarry:

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You know, I don't know why I keep getting jobs at big corporate companies, because there are certain things about them that confounds and frustrates me. First it was the job from hell this summer, with its ISO standardization and Partners in Excellence, and all sorts of other stupid things that absolutely do not matter in the real world. Then I get to Barnes and Noble, and I hoped things would be a little different. You know, trendy, friendly bookstore. I had forgotten that it's a national company, with 2359873245097 bookstores in 49 states. And there are sorts of stupid rules, rules that don't make sense, rules that I must follow as an employee of Barnes and Noble Cafe.

The rules for the freshness of food are pretty stringent in the cafe. We bake some of the pastries on premises. 24 hours after they are baked they must be thrown away. Every two hours the coffee must be dumped out. At least half a pot of soup is thrown away every day at the end of the day.

The sheer waste of this didn't dawn on me until today. I was taking out all the cookies that were "bad" and putting them on the counter when M, my manager, comes up to me and says, "You have to throw that stuff away. No taking it home. I'm going to watch you throw it away."

I was a little peeved, mostly because at this point my refrigerator was still broken and I had literally no food, and a couple of cookies and bagels would have been much appreciated. I recorded the stuff that was thrown away in the waste long, and began looking at the rest of the week to see what had been thrown away. A dozen cookies. 4 or 5 bagels. Half a pot of soup. 6 or 7 pots of coffee. Every single day. As the volume of this waste dawned on me, I felt sick.

Not because I wanted the food. I have food, I have a roof over my head, a computer, a TV and a warm bed. Everytime I drive downtown on Broad, I see numerous homeless people, with their shopping carts and plastic bags, with newspapers for blankets. Then I see these stupid rich yuppies throwing away perfectly good day old food, and like I said, it makes me sick.

How can they be blind and self-centered, to throw away so much food? Enough food to easily feed 5 or 6 people a day. I know, there's probably all sorts of liability involved with the day old food.. If someone gets sick on it, they could sue, etc etc. I've never heard of a homeless person suing a foodbank for bad food, but I'm sure it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Just how hard would it be, at the end of the day, to pack up that food and take it to the nearest food bank? Even though it's perishable, I'm sure they would be glad to have it.

The more I look at it, the more convinced I am that so much is wrong with this world. Like I've said to so many people, there is NO EXCUSE, in a country as prosperous and wealthy as American, for millions of people to go hungry every day. There are those of us who have everything, like SUVs and cellphones and stock porfolios and palm pilots, and those of us who have nothing. And we aren't willing to share our day old food. And that's sick.

One Year Ago:
school kicks my ass