American excess

A local bakery / restaurant from a well known chain throws out four huge trash bags of perfectly good bread and pastries every night at closing time. Some nights, very kind people pick up the excess and bring it to homeless shelters or similar. Most nights, it goes into the nearby dumpster.

This chain has ten stores in the Denver area alone. That amount of waste is mind-boggling.

I do not fault them.

Who is at fault for this kind of waste? The American consumer. The manager of the store told my friend who makes those charity bread runs, “If we didn’t have every single item in stock, we’d get complaints from customers who missed being able to buy their favorite item at the end of the day. Then we’d lose them as customers. They would go to another shop.”

We are guilty as a country.

Solution? The years I lived in England, stores would regularly finish their stock near the end of the day. Customers would just buy a different item — or go to a different store. No one would get upset. I would propose that we simply lower our darn picky standards — at least in this case. How would this happen? I don’t have any idea. Do you?

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10 Replies to “American excess”

  1. Thanks for your heartwarming comment Paul!! It made me happy 🙂

    It´s a sick system we´re living in. It´s not an American problem, maybe it´s more extreme in the US but we are so spoilt in the first world. Spoilt and lazy. Too lazy to think and if we realise the problem too lazy again to change our behaviour.
    Just last week I complained at our bagery that my favourite item was sold out… feeling guilty now. I will never complain again!! 😉

  2. We in the US certainly are a wasteful society. We, or our descendants, will pay the price for all of our wasteful practices, not just in this area but also with water, fuel, and other things.

  3. Seems like some of the food-providing charities (or hog farmers) could make the rounds every evening, but that would still be a drop in the bucket when you consider all the places that sell baked goods. I used to pick up stales from Tom Thumb for the ILC. Even then there was usually stuff that got thrown away at the ILC after people had taken what they wanted.

    1. Tim, I don’t know you, but I love that you mentioned the ILC. Paul’s topic today made me think of the ILC, before I ever read your comment. Also, at JAARS we got tons of day-old pastries. I saw Paul’s photo and I felt sick to my stomach, just remembering it all.

  4. Tim, Sara, Bill: I agree! It’s sad how wasteful we are (and I include myself in the “we”).

    Maybe we can do small things to help change happen. (Small = better than nothing.)

  5. Nice post, I agree. BUT, I personally don’t mind the wasting because food is such a temporary thing. (Yes, I know about the children starving in [Insert Country Here].)

    Who are “we” to tell “them” how to spend “their” money? Aren’t there much larger fish to fry?

    Just $0.02 from an admitted American Excess-er.

  6. hey Paul,
    What store is it? Seems I could easily pick up leftovers one night (or more) and week and bring them to a homeless shelter. Maybe I should just approach any coffee shop / pastry store?

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