Sunday, May 25, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner #46 - Resolving First World Problems

Dear Readers,

This week while exploring the new Tazi Sack my Mommie got for her birthday, I ran across a First World Problem or two. The first First World Problem was my Mommie telling me that her new designer purse is not, as I had thought, a new travel bag for me. I personally think that I should be allowed to travel in style, and a Guess? by Georges Marciano purse is just the style I like, so I decided to slip into it anyway and hope that Mommie would think the extra weight was just her tablet or the latest Ken Follett book she is reading, or any number of things that I removed from her new purse in order to make room for me. First World Problem solved!

If your purse isn't big enough to fit the cat,
what is the point of carrying it?
It was while on an adventure to the supermarket deli that I ran into a second First World Problem. As an advice columnist, I am used to solving other people’s problems, and not being able to puzzle through an answer to this one left me with my very own First World Problem – mild frustration, but that is another story for another time. Here is how the scenario I reference played out:

Mommie: I would like a ½ pound of baked ham, please; a little under is OK, a little over is not.

Deli Girl: OK!

The Deli Girl started to slice the meat, and I thought she would stop at .49 pounds. Surely she knew that an extra slice would tip the scales over and upset my Mommie, who does not like to order more food than she knows she can eat! The Deli Girl did not stop slicing, though, and actually added on two more slices of ham. In what world does she live where two slices of baked ham weight .01 ounces? To put that in international terms, that is less than ½ gram of ham. Consequently, Mommie’s order was over and she had to ask the Deli girl to remove a few slices.

Mommie: I asked for ½ a pound or a little under. .49 pounds was fine, why did you slice two more pieces?

Deli Girl gives Mommie a blank stare.

Mommie: Could you remove those last two slices, please?

Deli Girl: You don’t want them?

Mommie: That depends, are you giving them to me for free?

Deli Girl: No, why would I do that?

Mommie: Because you had the correct amount and then proceeded to add more, so unless you are giving it to me for free I do not want it. I am not going to pay money for something that will go bad before I can eat it.

A few days later Mommie returned to the same supermarket deli for some chicken salad, because she is too uncoordinated to make it herself; she always adds too much mayonnaise (wow, another First World Problem!). This time, she asked for a ½ pound or under of the brand name chicken salad, because the store brand invariably has chunks of bone and cartilage in it (wow, yet another First World Problem!). She went through the same script with a different Deli Girl and got the same exact response – too much chicken salad and having to ask the Deli Girl to remove some of it because Mommie was not going to pay for food that she was not going to eat. This got me thinking.

I was thinking that perhaps this national supermarket chain trained its deli workers to give customers more than they wanted, thinking nobody would complain and ask that the extra be removed, thus upselling the customer against their will. Unethical, but effective. I suggested to Mommie that she try the small, locally owned grocery store for our next food-based sojourn. Like all intelligent humans, she took my advice and went to a small, locally owned grocery store.

On this particular day Mommie was looking to buy some ham salad for lunch because even though there was a refrigerator full of food at home, she apparently had “nothing to eat”. (I love my Mommie, but she is just full of First World Problems, isn’t she? I digress, don’t I?). Anyhow, on this particular day, Mommie asked the deli Guy for ¼ pound of ham salad. Here is how the conversation went:

Mommie: The ham salad looks really good. Could I please have a quarter pound of it?

Deli Guy: No problem!

Deli Guy then scoops an entire ½ pint container full (in international terms, this would be approximately 225 grams; she wanted half of that). When Mommie sees that the Deli Guy has given her double what she asked for, she politely told him it was too much for her to eat.

Mommie: Oh! I asked for a ¼ pound, this is  a half-pound! I couldn’t possibly eat that much for lunch!

Deli Guy: Oh, sorry. Do you want to save it for later?

Mommie: I have no refrigeration at work, and it is a hot day. It will go bad by “later”. An animal died for my meal, I am not going to disrespect its sacrifice by throwing away the excess. Please remove it.

Deli Guy: No problem, it’s just that nobody has ever said anything before.

Nobody has ever said anything about being sold more food than they can eat? How much food do humans waste every year because it starts to go bad before they can eat it? I have seen the Ziploc commercials, and it appears to be quite a lot! A study released in 2012 shows that Americans throwaway nearly 40% of the food they buy! That is almost HALF of all the food they buy, and I am wondering if the upsell at the deli is contributing to this waste!

Wasted food is not a First World Problem. Too many people – in America and around the world – suffer from food insecurity, which is not having enough food to satisfy your body’s needs, or starvation diets due to a lack of food. That rancid meat you throw away was once a living creature; respect its sacrifice by only buying what you know you will eat. That moldy bread you threw away could have been donated, while still fresh of course, to a food pantry where someone who cannot afford a loaf of bread would have feasted upon it for a week. Those rotting vegetables could have been served as a nutritious main course as an alternative to meat, which humans eat way too much of, according to nutrition experts.

Americans like to complain about the high cost of food and how it keeps getting higher, yet they continue to throw out almost half of what they buy. I wish I could say this is a First World Problem, but from the view of someone living in a Third World country it is more than that; it is a sin. 

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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