Quantifying a Haul


For keeps

Whenever we get a substantial haul like this one, I wonder, “How much would all this cost in the store?” So this time I went full-on investigation mode and found out the answer!

I patrolled through the store as quickly as possible, writing prices down on the back of an old medical bill envelope while smelling like trash. Due to the amount of attention I was drawing from employees, my investigation was not as thorough as it could have been. Yet I did find prices for almost everything in the haul, and I under-estimated the items I didn’t find.

Are you ready for the total? Drum roll please…


Highlights from this haul include Claussen pickles, a full gallon of unsweetened almond milk (my fav), Earth Balance vegan baking sticks, coffee&chocolate biscotti yogurt, and a super fresh fruit plate. $af3way throws out pre-cut fruit all the time, but usually it’s a little too far gone, so we brought this and other goodies to our friends’ house when we went there to babysit later that night. Their son looooooves fresh fruit; we had to cut him off.


What we gave to our friends

There was also a fuckton of whipped cream canisters in the dumpster. We rescued a couple, but the stranger I was rummaging with took some “recreational interest” in about 20 of them. Classic dumpster folk!


Dumpster after being picked over by 5+ people


Tater Chips and Greasy Styrofoam Prisms

Today we visited the $$tree, home of our favorite junk food dumpster, and found KETTLE POTATO CHIPS! Six bags! Also “veggie straws” aka greasy styrofoam rectangular prisms of deliciousness, peanut butter cracker sandwiches, vanilla creme cookies, corn tortillas, BEANS, and weirdly enough, a bag of rice. Our friend Emily (a dumpstering virgin) came along to observe and said, “I feel like I’m watching a professional sporting event right now.” THRILLING.


Of course, we hit up $afeway and picked up some of the usual fare, plus one new find: a container of pre-cut butternut squashed packaged with sprigs of rosemary. I suppose we’ll bake it as a side dish sometime this week and broadcast the results.

Oh, and I will never stop getting excited about day-old bagels. Hard on the outside, still soft enough to eat on the inside. Perfection, in an extremely imperfect way.

An Unusual Find

Today I ventured away from my usual dive spots and took a quick look inside the pawn shop dumpster. Sitting right on top of a bunch of trash was a full bag of Qdoba tortilla chips. I sampled one and they were fresh to death, so I took them home and made them into some restaurant-quality microwave nachos, featuring organic white cheddar and shredded sharp cheddar, both from the $afeway dumpster.

Behold, my creation:


It was yummy yummy in my tummy.

Dairy Day at the Dumpsters

Every week or so, $afeway throws out what looks like their whole inventory of yogurt. I’m talking whole pallets of single serving yogurts in groups of 12 or 16. I think I counted at least 12 full pallets, in flavors from Greek strawberry to 100-calorie pineapple-coconut. I even found a few singles of the Siggi and Tillamook brands, which are more expensive in the store.

I always try to take what we can manage to eat before the next big yogurt dump comes around, but all those pallets can make an honest woman greedy, especially knowing that they’ll be taken to the landfill the next morning. I think I did a better job with conservative estimates of what we’ll eat this time, though.


Conservative estimate…

I also picked up a couple packages of fresh mozzarella (there was a box of 10), sour cream, and organic white cheddar slices.

We plan to make some delicious caprese salad with the mozzarella (I’ve found huge containers of basil in the past–will the dumpster Gods be kind and send some our way soon?) and we’ve got some dumpster eggs and dumpster English muffins that I can add to the cheddar for Dumpster Breakfast Sandwiches.

Bon Appetit!