Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Food for Thought

Some of you may not know this, but I have a soap box. Tonight, I've decided to step up on it for a bit. So if you've never heard of a peach on a soap box, here it is.

I recently had a topic brought to my attention once again. The idea of returning food items that had not been used for a refund on said items. My aunt and I as well as my daughter and I have had this conversation quite a bit in the last year or so. My aunt works for a warehouse club in her state and my daughter works for a chain grocer. I suppose, before then I had never really given any thought to it, mainly, because it had never occurred to me to return food items unless there was spoilage involved and I had purchased well within the "sell by" date. If you bought something that is intended for food, then you were to eat it. If you bought it without the intention of eating it yourself, then you must intend to donate it to someone in need. I never knew how big of a issue it is for people to return food, just because. There was nothing wrong with the food. The packaging had not been damaged or tampered with, perhaps they just changed their mind, none-the-less, they just wanted their money back. All the while not realizing the ramifications of what they were and are doing. 

Apparently, I've led quite a sheltered life for the last several years. As my aunt and daughter and I would have these conversations more and more, I started doing a little research on my own. The number of items returned in one chain alone can be astronomical. Some would argue that their reasons for returning an item was because they came to realize that it contained something they no longer wanted to put into their bodies. That's fine, I think for me and my family we should be more careful of what we eat. Yet, that does not mean I am going to let my bag of white rice go to waste in my pantry. Nor does it mean I am going to return it to the store for a refund. We will incorporate it into our diets along with brown rice. Now is this the optimum choice for our diets, probably not, but let's face facts, food is NOT cheap.

Now, let us discuss why it is not cheap. There are several factors, the economy, the price of raising/growing food has risen, packaging, costs of production to package said products--you get the picture. But did you ever consider that all of those people who return food for refunds for no particular reason (or at least no good reason) are driving up the prices of your groceries? I can't say exclusively that all items are marked damaged and thrown out, for the simple reason that I am not God, nor can I be all places at all times. However, as a general rule when food items are returned, no matter how or what they are packaged in, they are marked damaged and thrown away!

I find this to be appalling considering there are so many AMERICAN children going hungry on a daily basis. Some would argue that they want to send the manufacturers a message that they don't want certain chemicals in their foods. These persons would be grossly mistaken. The only way to have a manufacturer acknowledge a complaint, suggestion or any other comment, is to contact that manufacturer. The items that get returned, get a fat DAMAGED stamp and thrown out. Have I mentioned enough times how food gets thrown out when you return it?

No one, not the store, not the manufacturer, not the insurance companies for either parties wants to be responsible for food that has been in someone else's possession. If you are responsible for this type of action, then you know who you are. I am certainly not going to come knocking on your door with the grocery police. What you must realize though is, that you are partly to blame for the inflation of groceries in this country. The price of groceries have risen 25 - 40% in the last five years and less. Now, you may be fortunate enough that this is no big deal to you. You and your household make plenty of money- that kind of an increase is not going to affect you. Quit driving up the price of groceries on the backs of the average working person's paycheck. We have got to stop living in such a way that we have no regard for the rest of the folks out there. I have no issue with helping those in other countries, I am quite the advocate for foreign missions actually. When we show no compassion for the human condition that is in our back door though-- we look pretty stupid to the other countries we are trying to help. Don't get me wrong, I love my country, but sometimes I wonder, just what are we thinking?

So the next time you are at the grocer, think about your purchases before you buy them. Seriously, get off your cell phone, look at your list (if you didn't make one, you should have), please don't buy it if you are just going to return it. Maybe you have no intention of returning it when you buy it-- if you find that you are not going to use it yourself, donate it to your local food bank.It is certainly no secret that food banks nation wide are running low and turning people away, some are even closing. If your community doesn't have one, find a family to donate some items to. I'm sure if you just take a minute to look, you'll easily find someone.

Okay, the peach is off the soapbox now, it is nicely tucked away in the corner where it usually stays.  


  1. I honestly didnt know this either. Thanks for the informative post!

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