Wednesday, October 6, 2010

False (Dumpster-Diving) Heaven

Edit: (Un)Fuck the System.

It was my second day with Second Harvest today, and probably my last. I'll have to think about it...

At the beginning of my shift, one of the guys who worked there asked me to sweep the floor, and then move onto todays 'project'- a giant stackful of fresh slightly bad fruits and vegetables to be thrown in the compost. GIANT. Probably enough to feed 500 people a meal. I saw that some of the stuff was not so bad, so I asked him if I could take some, and (I think) he said sure.

Happy as day, I swept entire warehouse floor, and sorted through all kind of disgusting shit, I almost puked... It was so gross. And, today I was the only volunteer (though I'd been promised there'd be 5-6 others). Rotten, sticky, wet mushrooms. Moldy corn. Nearly-mush fruits. Blackened peppers... But somehow I managed to survive, and pick out a grocery bag's assortment of completely random fruits and vegetables- a couple peppers, a few apples, some dates, a peach... I was really excited to take some back to my friend's community house and feed some of the more bruised stuff to my rat (yes, Kai'enne, it's a metaphor). Such a reward. I felt like I was in dumpster-diving heaven... Allowed to sort through the stuff before it even reached the dumpster. I didn't have time to sort through all the stuff he left for me, but ended up filling an entire green-bin FULL to the brim with food, and start another one.

Smelling like rotten mushrooms, I was told it was the end of my shift and gathered my stuff to go, including the grocery bag full of random stuff. I was so happy. This was so awesome... it was going to be worth it to sort through that foul shit. What a great reward. I even told the guy working there (he works in the offices mostly- as does everyone, I was the ONLY ONE in the warehouse the entire time... everyone was in their freakin' armchairs twittering and gossiping) how awesome it was I was going to take this to my friends community house.

"What? Nothing can leave the premises. It's grounds for dismissal. That should have been the first thing Nicole (the volunteer admin) told you."

"Well... .... ... she didn't... So I guess I ... can't take... this with me? Should I... just... leave it here? Put in the fridge...?

"Yeah... give it to me and I'll put it away... Bye, see you next week."

"Yeah... sure..."

HNNNG. I should have not gotten my hopes so up. Was my own fault, I guess. CLEARLY all that food that I 'rescued' can NOT be sent to any 'agencies' (I shortened the conversation, he mentioned "We have 20 agencies waiting on our list". The way he said it was so condescending, as well. There is no way they can send a single peach, a couple peppers, a mushroom to any 'agency'. It is going to go straight back into the compost and go to waste. What a fucking was of my time. What a waste of food that could've been used... So many unopened packages of mushroom, so many apples, so many things of coleslaw, lettuce, SO MUCH STUFF I THREW AWAY IN THE COMPOST TODAY. What a stupid, stupid system.

Sigh. I mean, I totally understand. They have to have a 'system' to make it work, but all that wasted food slips through the cracks. What kind of protocol is it that I can't take stuff that I was going to throw out? It makes sense and at the same time it's painfully stupid. I can't be part of an organization like that... It's just not me, you know? I can't bear to see that waste, and I don't want to fucking mop, sweep, sort rotten veggies or clean washrooms anymore. Maybe that's what they do at all volunteer places- give people the shitty jobs that they don't want to do. I guess I will have to find out.

Seeing all that go to waste is depressing... Personally, I need to be on the side where I am enabling people to help themselves (ie giving my friends food), not in the warehouse sorting shit that they couldn't deal with.

But maybe that's just me.



  1. Some things in life just don't make sense at all.

  2. Sadly, stuff like this happens every day.

  3. Iv sorted food that had potential to be on commercials (mcdonalds, nature valley, frosted flakes), they give you big boxes filled with food- you sift threw it finding the best looking of said food, and discard the rest usually. Very wasteful job.

  4. thats a cool way of looking at it!

  5. Sometimes large businesses make no sense at all.
    Why are you volunteering for these arseholes anyway?