Fast Company

Half Price Food Before Close: Chasing the Charitable Choux

GOODONYA!

That's Aussie for "good for you" to Joe and Chris Miller of Platteville, CO, for letting people help themselves to the leftovers on their harvested field.

In a 'bring your doggy bag' of epic proportions, the invitation attracted over 40,000 scavengers to the Miller's farmlands, literally scraping their land back to the earth's mantle.

Google tells me that's half the capacity of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas, which will hold approximately 80,000, but it still doesn't help me get my head around it.

"Everybody is so depressed about the economy," said an otherwise plucky potato picker.

Now swing your Google Earth crosshairs over to the 9th Avenue area between Chelsea Markets and 22nd st in Manhattan, where I polled the purveyors of some of the most delectable comestibles to find out just where dead Financiers (the almond blueberry kind, not the Wall St kind) go, along with bread rolls, croissants, custard Danish and other unbought goods, at close of business?

Prepare to be shocked - that left over Danish doesn't even go to the dogs.

"In the trash."

And you thought there were these charitable "food banks" distributing the abandoned burgers to the needy and deserving ...

It seems it's one of those urban myths that people so want to be true, that it becomes accepted as true, even when it's not.

"Surely you could at least sell it off at half price in the last half hour, like the Fat Witch graciously does in Chelsea Markets," I asked of the proprietors as I overpaid for my frosted folly.

"The owner doesn't want a line outside," said the server in a French patisserie on the corner of 9th and 20th.  Not a good look for a boutique bakery for sure.

But hey, this is a recession.

Why not sell it off half price so that a) it doesn't go to waste, and it b) it brings in some income?

A cake shop across the road also admitted that they toss the tiramisu at COB.

"People might think it's not fresh if we mark it down," said the manager.

"Well, I am sure we can let the people decide," I ventured, knowing full well that price is a pretty convincing decider.

A sushi bar owner on 17th and 8th grunted when I expressed dismay that his bento boxes got the boot come 7pm. Would he be willing to sell me one at half price? He gave me a look dirtier than a post dim-sum tablecloth and banished the bentos (not the unagi, thankfully) into a hungry trash bag.

Perhaps they're actually saving our waistlines by being so wasteful – I'd be supersizing my doggie bag nightly at these places if they gave me a half price chance.

Be that as it may, I say, let's band together and tell them where to put their leftovers at the end of the day – in our shopping bags, not garbage bags.

No one's saying you have to give it to us for free – just let us take it off your hands for a nice price - or give it to someone who could really use it.

MULTIMEDIA: No leftover sausage rolls at the Tuck Shop, NYC

The Galfromdownunder is pretty sure the Tuck Shop NYC doesn't have any leftovers – the Aussie sausage rolls are that good.



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