Friday, June 10, 2011

On the go

So what happens when you are out and hungry and just want to grab something to eat? I try to avoid this happening by always having a little something with me but yesterday was my partner's birthday and we decided spur of the moment to go to the bagel shop. I know, I know tons of gluten there, but remember that we are mostly doing gluten free to support our youngest and it just so happens that he had just been dropped off at camp.

But when I thought about it, I remembered that when they serve the bagels it comes either wrapped in paper or on a paper plate. Well, we could just ask for them to hand it to us directly (which is an option by the way), but then I remembered that after our take out catastrophe, I carry this handy little to go container in the back of my car:

It stacks and I didn't think that 2 bagels would fit if it was all put together (but I figured out later that they would fit perfectly), so we took it apart and went in the shop with these 2 stainless steel containers.

I want's sure what to expect but I approached the counter and started by telling the guy that we wanted to order bagels but avoid any wrappers or plates. I asked him if he could make us bagels and put them in our containers. He shrugged like people ask him stuff like this everyday and said sure. Now, I'm not sure if it's because of where we live and the fact that people are becoming more conscious in general (I think anyway... I'm often proven wrong here) or if it was because he was from the city where anything goes. Either way, the transaction was simple and easy and we walked out of there with 2 really yummy gluten filled bagels in our own little stainless steel containers, avoiding all waste.

I will say that there was a moment when my partner (the one whose birthday it was, the one who had run out of the house without coffee) was looking at the paper to go coffee cups longingly and wanting coffee. He looked at me and said that he really wanted coffee. I asked him if he remembered a cup when he ran out the door and he said no... I told him that it WAS his birthday and he could get some if he really needed it, but we had free organic coffee at home and we were going straight there. He decided to wait in the end (good choice honey). But then when we got home he realized that we were out of cow's milk and he didn't want soy milk in his coffee, so we got back in the car and drove down the street to pick up some raw milk from a nearby farm. We remembered our old glass milk bottle to return and grabbed a new, full glass bottle. After that, he was all set and a very happy camper. A little patience and some leg work and he had a far superior cup of coffee then he would have from the bagel shop (no offense to the bagel shop).

I did forget to mention that when we dropped my youngest off at camp, we were able to buy a dozen eggs from the school - these are eggs that the children get to collect everyday and are packed in the egg cartons that we return once we are done with them. What a nice feeling coming home from a "quick" trip to town to drop a car off at a shop, two kids off at school and one kid off at camp... and to come home with delicious local, kid collected eggs, local raw milk and a special take out treat from a local shop with no waste.

It was a satisfying morning.


  1. You guys live in a great area for this - you are the trendsetters and will pave the way for the rest of the country. The waste can't go on, so behaviors will need to change.

    I would say most people here (suburban Philly, specifically our town) don't think about this stuff, and employees in stores get rattled when you deviate from anything but what they know, which usually involves waste and using plastic bags.

    The other day I was in Trader Joe's and I guess the cashier didn't hear me tell her I brought my own bag or see my bright orange Chico Bag on the checkout counter, but she started putting my 2 items in a plastic bag. I said, "oh, that's OK, thanks, I don't need a bag, I have one right here" and was greeted with a hint of a scowl as she crumpled up the plastic bag and threw it away! My 2 boxes of crackers aren't going to infect the bag, so I was a little baffled why she threw it away. I cringed but said nothing, especially since she seemed in not the best mood (first crabby cashier I've ever encountered at TJ's, by the way; they are always so nice and happy).

    Other people (Target is famous for this) have no idea what to do when you bring your own bag. They don't put things in the bag; it's like if the customer brings his/her own bag, then the customer is responsible for bagging themselves. It's so funny to see how these little things that deviate from the script throw people. I wonder if it causes them, and the people behind me in line, to think a little. I hope so!

    I have to believe that with exposure that it will become less of an issue. I think it would be fun to see what happens if I brought my own cup or asked for no waste at a take out place. I think I'll try it and see how it goes. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Please try and let us know how it goes!

    The last time I had a cashier start to bag something for me into plastic bags and then throw it away because I said that I didn't need it, I asked him to dig it out of the trash and give the bag to me. He looked at me like I was crazy but I told him that I wasn't kidding, I wanted that bag that he threw away. He took it out and gave it to me but I'm sure they talked crap about me as I walked away. Once you become aware, it seems just crazy that people would just waste like that.

    Our town is actually trying to push a plastic bag law that will hopefully do away with single use plastic bags at check out counters, which is great... but the thing that I never understand about this is why wouldn't anyone consider all of the other bags around the store as plastic single use as well (like produce and bulk bags)??