Why we are so hungry.

Tonight we played an incredible house show in Richmond, VA.  After the show, we stopped at Sheetz to fill up on caffeine before our all night drive back to Delaware. As Koji and I were ordering our mac-and-cheese/jalapeno pretzel combination (it’s incredible. Seriously, try it), I noticed a Sheetz employ taking food off the shelves. After a brief glance at the bottom of each package, he filled his arms with yogurt and cheese and sandwiches. We knew the fate of this soon expired food, and living on the road with no money we had a perfect new home for it. I went up to the man, “are you throwing that food away? If so, we can happily take it off your hands…” he interrupted me “I’m so sorry. I wish I could, but we have to throw it away. It’s going straight to the garbage. I would lose my job, I can’t give it to you.” Okay, I get it. There are rules and there are laws and you can’t just go around passing our expired food to people in your store. Koji took the cue and walked out behind the store to check our the dumpsters, hoping to salvage some of this perfectly good food from simply being wasted. I had a different approach, and walked up to a women standing behind the counter. “That’s a shame, that you just have to throw all that food away. Do you ever donate it? Is there anything you can do?” Clearly, this was not the first time this women was upset over this issue, “It’s horrible. If it’s even close to expiring, we just have to throw it away. Want to know what makes it even worse? They make us open each package and poor chemicals over it all to make sure that no one digs through our dumpsters. I guess they don’t want to give the homeless the luxury of food. And we can’t even take it home, as employs. Our families are hungry too. People are starving in this state. And we’re just throwing it away. Can’t do anything about it.” I was stunned that they made these people go through such an extensive effort to spoil this food before it went into the dumpster just to ensure no one could get there hands on it and, you know, eat. I looked at her and we shared this moment of honest regret over what was happening, a moment of knowing that this is wrong, but that’s just the way that it has to be. I reply, “I don’t know. My mother always told me wasting food was a sin, I guess I just see how wrong this is.” She replied, “My mother told me that, too. And it is a sin.”

Not to even begin to mention to environmental issues associated with filling our landfills of perfectly good food or pouring chemicals on the contents of their dumpsters, there is a much bigger social problem here. That women was right, people are starving. In fact, 50.2 million Americans live in food insecure households. I could go on about statistics on hunger and food insecurities and the importance of proper nutrition, but that isn’t this particular problem. This women explained it to me, “the company doesn’t want to get in trouble for someone eating something and then getting sick. What if you dig through our dumpsters and then sue them? I guess they are just afraid of that.” So it comes down to the simple concept, why do we put the fear of legal retaliation in front of simple humanitarianism? We have become a culture afraid of doing what is right (ie. Feeding people instead of filling dumpsters with perfectly good food) because there may be legal shit to deal with down the line. You think it would be a perfectly logical equation: people are starving in the world, we have extra food, let’s feed them. But, instead, we are putting fear and excuses into the picture. What if someone gets food poisoning from this package of yogurt that would have been sold 10 minutes earlier? What if that sick person has enough money to go hire a lawyer and take on sheets for the food poisoning they got from that free yogurt? Or maybe there is more prejudice fears. After all, who wants a bunch of homeless people eating at your establishment? Or who wants a bunch of artists and activists digging through your dumpster to repurpose some food? After all, you know what happens when you feed a homeless man or women or give some vagabond touring activists some food…totally anarchy will ensue. (Or, more likely, they will simply have enough sustenance in their bodies to make it to the next day.)

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  19. stevelayman reblogged this from colormake-action and added:
    This is a horrible thing to read. They do the same thing with some of the food at the grocery store I work at, and the...
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  21. lilheatherrose reblogged this from kojisaysaloha and added:
    When food “expires” at my work, we have to throw it in an already dirty trash bag in front of my manager so they can...
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  25. d-rad reblogged this from kojisaysaloha and added:
    Working in a supermarket sucks for this exact reason
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  29. fusionshows reblogged this from kojisaysaloha and added:
    Anna Schuck is the best person I know. If she’s pissed, I’m pissed. Sheetz (and others), fix this. I will gladly wait a...