An emotional voice broke the silence: “When we first came here, they said we’d rise to our potential….”
“And they promised big dough, too,” interrupted a sultry, sugar-coated voice.
“Shut up, Cinnamon,” another female voice hissed. “This is no time to be wry. Let Whitey talk.”
The original speaker continued: “They couldn’t sweeten the package for us enough back then, never stopped buttering us up. Working here would be a piece of cake, they said. We’d loaf around all day. Now we find out the crummy truth….” The speaker was clearly beaten.
“Three days they give us, one day for some,” an older, crustier voice added in measured tones. His words were sandwiched by sobs from others. “Me for instance. Dozens of us went through together, and I was the best of the batch. Now, come morning, I’m flatbread.”
“Quelle poisse!” a new voice said softly. Similar sentiment came from nearby in Danish.
I hear these voices every time I walk through the bakery section at Ingles. I hate their puns, but I’m sympathetic to their cause. If I weren’t a diabetic, I’d be more active in rescue work.
This column is a protest against how Ingles handles end-of-life issues for their fresh bakery products. Of course I don’t mind that some products expire after three days or that they replace unpackaged donuts every day. I mind what happens at expiration.
Every morning, when new products come out, old product goes down the chute into the trash compacter. No second chance like their plastic-wrapped bakery products that go to Sav-Mor stores. No second chance on a day-old rack like Wal-Mart. No second chance at a food bank or shelter. Down the chute.
The story goes that somebody got sick in another state from a bread product Ingles donated to a shelter. They sued and won. So Ingles decided it just wasn’t worth the hassle and risk. The story could be bogus, but something spooked them.
My family lives on Ingles’ reduced-price products with colorful stickers. Every Friday after breakfast with friends, I stop by and get a nifty little bag of what I call “condemned” bananas. We’re delighted with near-expiration produce that didn’t go to the compacter or to non-commercial pig farmers.
The sadness comes in the bakery section. The idea of wasting good food is totally distasteful (sorry, bakery puns are contagious).
Ingles needs to put their bakery guys and legal guys together in a Black Mountain room with representatives of open-handed churches, shelters and food banks. Tell them: “No dessert till you find a solution.” They’re smart people.
Heed the voices in your bakery section, Ingles. Bread for the breadless! Add this to your long list of good deeds.