Manager Allows Teen Employees to Eat for Free


I was a teenager grocery store cashier. I remember being so excited to get my first job at the local grocery store. I was going to be responsible, earn my own money, and maybe even get a discount on groceries. Little did I know my manager would change the way I looked at grocery stores and food waste forever.

You see, my manager told us that if any food was damaged, we could eat it for free. If it was a badly dented candy bar or a squished bag of chips, we could have at it.

At first, I was apprehensive. I didn’t want to get in trouble for eating company property, but my manager assured me there would be no problem.

This was not a universal policy for grocery stores everywhere. This was a local policy instated by a manager who wanted to solve two problems with one solution. He saw hungry teenagers starting their shifts right after school without taking time to grab something to eat. And he saw an absurd amount of food being discarded in the trash.

“I’d rather see this food go to good use than end up in a landfill,” he once told me. “And if it means my employees can concentrate better on their tasks because they’re not starving, then that’s an added bonus.”

There was a shelf in the warehouse area of the store near the breakroom where all the damaged foods, simply referred to as “damages,” were kept. Employees were welcome to nab an open bag of marshmallows or a crushed package of cupcakes to eat on their lunch breaks.

We had to save the product wrappers, which were sent back to the manufacturers for reimbursement of the damaged goods. That meant donating to the local food bank wasn’t an option. We couldn’t send an employee to the food bank with sacks of loose, broken cookies and unwrapped blocks of cheese. What we could do was eat them.

I’ll never forget the first time I took advantage of the policy. I was famished after school and hadn’t had time to grab a snack. When I saw a package of cookies that had been dropped and broken, I didn’t hesitate. I swiftly unwrapped them, grabbed a few, and popped them into my mouth. I was so grateful to have something to tide me over until dinner.

Needless to say, I took advantage of this policy as often as I could. The food was always delicious. I never got sick from eating damaged food, and it saved me a lot of money on lunch breaks.

Now, whenever I grocery shop, I think about the food waste problem and how we can all do our part to reduce it. I always take a moment to appreciate the employees who are working hard to keep our stores running smoothly, and I hope they are well-fed.

What are you doing to help with the problem of food waste?

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post