Monday, January 10, 2011

First attempt at no waste

Well, I lowered the amount of plastic I took from the grocery store, but I raised my blood pressure to dangerous levels.

Last week while shopping at Country Sun in Palo Alto, we brought our own containers and jars. They have many items in bulk, like cereal, beans, herbs, and nuts. Not knowing the procedure, we asked around, and finally the store manager informed us that we should have our containers preweighed at the cash register, then fill them.

I got in line for the first time and had my jars weighed. The line wasn't that short either. A little piece of tape was attached to each showing its empty weight.

Then Tammy and I filled them with garbanzos, bran flakes, and walnuts, and then we got back in line. The cashier needed help immediately, as she didn't have a calculator. The computer allows an override, but the empty weight needed to be subtracted from the filled weight and the computer didn't have a separate field for this. So the store manager came over and helped the cashier with the math using her iPhone.

The whole operation would have gone a lot faster if I could have weighted and tared the jars in the bulk isle where they have a scale with a tare function. It took a long time, a lot of stares from other customers, and I nearly bought $900 in walnuts; the decimal key was sticky, there's a big difference between .98 and 98!

I'm glad Viola wasn't fussy that morning or I wouldn't have even attempted the experiment in eco activism. I need a different kind of calculator to figure out how many years I took off my carotid artery vs the five plastic bags I didn't landfill.

While I've still got life in me, I'm going to try this again at various other natural food stores in my area. Next up, Whole Foods!

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