Waste Not, Want Not

The wasteful attitude of the American society has reached a level of absurdity hitherto unmatched, or so it seems to me.

Here’s an example for you. Last week Yahoo News reported that Mitt Romney, that political candidate for presidential campaigns, intended to raze his $12 million home in California to build a bigger, more costly model.

When I read this assertion, my question flag began flapping in the breeze. If this person ever made it into the White House, what perfectly good taxpayer item would he raze in order to spend even more taxpayer money for vanity’s sake? I also asked myself how anyone could be so wasteful in the face of the current economy.

A couple of days later my sister and I returned home from the grocery store, frustrated and irate. We commented—okay, we complained—about the current price of fresh produce. We understand all the arguments about supply and demand, etc. Those weren’t the questions we were discussing.

Instead, we discussed the question of how those who were on restricted diets for medical reasons, like diabetes and heart disease, were expected to afford the continuing price increases with a shrinking dollar. On the tail of that question was another one that asked, perhaps, an even more critical question. How can grocers dispose of perfectly good produce at the end of a work day by throwing it into dumpsters in the back alley?

NAW, you say. Unfortunately, that is a practice that’s been going on for years. If I had the time, I’d research out the mandates of health departments and USDA rulings to uote those covering the length of time fresh produce can be displayed in stores before mandatory disposal. If you stop to think about how grocers display produce, you’ll quickly figure out why such foods have a limited shelf life.

Okay, back to the subject. One of the aspects of this questionable practice that really angers us is that we don’t hear about any grocers who relieve themselves of this frequent burden of fresh food by donating it—as a charitable contribution, no less—to homeless shelters, women’s shelters, prisons, schools, etc.

I realize that for prisons and schools and any other institution that accepts moneys from the federal government, the red-tape necessary for such donations makes such generosity nigh on to impossible. But, organizations like Meals-On-Wheels, and shelters could certainly use the boost, as could local food banks.

For some obscure reason Americans with lots extra to give to solving public problems have become some of the greediest and least likely of proponents to be potential problem solvers.

We waste nearly everything. We build in obsolescence so that the consumer much replace items more often, which, in turn, ensures continued product sales and job security. We’ve fallen for the hook dangled by fashionistas so that something we bought last year is no longer wearable today, even though we’ve rarely worn it.

We’ve become stingy, grasping, and greedy, all of which leads to wastefulness. We’ve ignored the waste so long that we aren’t aware of it anymore. Case in point: current new story on Yahoo News today.  Brand new hotel–never had a guest—has an owner threatening to tear it down because of disillusionment, economic downturn, and litigation between owner MGM and the building’s construction company.

Arguments of construction issues and reduced total size have wrangled on until the wrecking ball may have to come in. No one seems to have addressed, at least publicly, all those condo owners that were planning to live at that location. What happens to their tidy little investments?

Perfectly good office buildings, apartment buildings, and vacated (foreclosed) homes seem to go to waste, as well, while not in use.

So, tell me peeps. What do you think about the rising examples of extravagance gone wild and waste on the rise? When did you buy your phone? Planning on buying a new one soon? Just curious.

Until later, a bientot,


  1. August 30, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Hubby and I have discussed all these things, Clauds. I get quite worked up about it all, I tell ya. All the waste with restaurants, too. Why do they make it so difficult to help? As for material goods, I have always agreed with my granddad on this one… “If it in’t broke, d’ot fix it.” It’s disgusting how greedy the top of the financial food chain has become.

    • claudsy
      August 30, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Hey, Carrie. Thanks for dropping by and subscribing. I discovered a part of myself that can’t abide the wastefulness of others. I’m by no means perfect, and I know that I occasionally and unthinkingly discard those things which can be reused elsewhere. I do, however, always make an effort to donate anything that I am going to discard. Charities around Jo and I know that certain times of the year we bring in what we no longer need, can no longer use, or have outgrown–in whatever capacity that is.

      I just wish more people would learn to donate what they dodn’t use and to share foods with those who go without. If we don’t care for each other, who will?

      Thanks for your comment, my friend.

  2. September 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Oh Clauds, I am so with you on this issue. There is a whole culture of people (generation?) that go “dumpster diving” for this very reason. Why spend $3 for a green pepper when you can just wait until later that night and pick it out of the garbage for free. Why is so much food and such not donated? The food banks in our area are begging for donation. Begging. There should be no reason these companies are throwing away food when others desperately need it.

    As for my phone…I purchased one right before Sidney started the 6th grade. It was a cute pink flip phone, that I carried for almost 5 years, and the only reason I finally upgraded was that the buttons were starting to go. So I upgraded almost a year ago and don’t plan on upgrading again until this one dies as well. It drives my phone company nuts too. They are always calling, emailing, and texting, that I should come in and update. Yeah, no, but thanks.

    Great blog

    • claudsy
      September 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      I have the same problem, Court, with how materialistic we’ve become–to the point where anything more than six months old is obsolete. If we don’t pause long enough to think of consequences in the long term, we’re going to be even more in a world of hurt.

      Glad you stopped by and told me how you see the topic. I always appreciate a good discussion.

  3. September 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Wow, Clauds! Truthfully? I never even thought about what happens to the fresh produce in our supermarkets. I feel sort of sick about it now.
    Our society has become so disposable. I try not to be wasteful. I donate our usable items as often as possible.
    I think it’s a shame when I see buildings torn down to make way for bigger, modern ones. And another thing, since when do canned goods expire? It’ll all a ploy to scare people into throwing away the cans and buying new ones.
    Great post.

    • claudsy
      September 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      I agree with you, Denise. We’ve become a society of “wanters” who cannot be satisfied with what they have but only with what they see someone else have. It’s sad.

      We have very little really in the way of material goods for my sister and I. It’s hard to keep a vast amount of possessions when we keep moving and distributing those things we no longer need before each one. I’d hate to tally how much we’ve donated in the past 15 years to charities and food banks.

      I don’t have what it takes to understand the selfish attitudes of many around me.

      Thanks for dropping in and commenting. And good for you for doing what you can. It isn’t easy in today’s world, and there’s so much need.

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