Culture Clash

While at a barbecue attended by a good blend of friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike, I saw this hippie guy I had met once before start chatting up one of my good friends who was eating a plate of food. Knowing him to be an oddball, I decided to stand within earshot of the conversation to see what he might have to say.

[Note - it's been a while since this conversation happened, so it is paraphrased to the best of my memory.]

"I made that," he said gesturing to the meat.
"It's really good," my friend said, perhaps politely, but I think genuinely.
"Yeah, I got lucky, you never know what you'll find," the hippie said.
"Oh yeah, that's the fun of shopping," she said.
"No, I actually got this from a dumpster," he said.
My friend laughed.
"I get all of my food from dumpsters," he said.
"Haha, okay, yum," my friend said.
"Stores throw out good food all the time, it's such a waste," he said.
"Yeah, we should eat that expired stuff," my friend said sarcastically.
"Exactly! It's barely expired when they toss it, it's still good to eat, so I get stuff like this from behind the grocery stores."
My friend kept laughing. "Okay, well then it's the best garbage I've ever had."

After he turned his attention elsewhere, my friend came up to me.
"He was weird," she said.
Having met him once before, I assured her that he was being serious about dumpster diving for food.
"No way!"
"I swear."
"I thought he was kidding! This is really food from a dumpster?"
"That's how he feeds himself," I explain.
"I don't believe you, that's so gross."

Here's the thing: I have had a few friends who dumpster dive, and I think it's a fine personal choice. That said, serving up perishable food that's been unrefrigerated and in the trash at a party without giving any warning is not kosher. My friend couldn't even fathom someone actually doing that, to the point where she assumed he was joking each time he was trying to tell her the truth.

However, if you still insist on serving up your free dumpster food to strangers, then you know what? Don't tell them. What they don't know won't hurt them (aside from food poisoning, I guess), but don't go up to them when they have a mouthful of your food and say, "I fished that out of the garbage!" and expect everyone to be down with your radical politics.

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