Category Archives: products

Favorite Foods

We have a new favorite yogurt, and, knowing us, that means it won’t last, alas.

DH bought two Yoplait yogurts this week, packaged in glass. The flavor is vanilla, the stuff is expensive, because of the packaging and no doubt because of the lack of preservatives. The ingredients are very simple, something like: milk, sugar, yogurt strain bacteria, and vanilla extract — that’s all.

It’s called “French style” yogurt and their website doesn’t even have a picture of it. We have decided we love it and need to buy a lot of it ASAP, because it no doubt won’t last. Simple foods which taste good, with no crap added to them tend to be short-lived.

Remember Haagen-Dazs Five ice creams? They were around for what, a year? Ice cream with 5 ingredients, milk, cream, sugar, flavoring. It was wonderful stuff — and it’s gone.

The other ice cream we fell in love with is almost impossible to find in New England, although it CAN be found, again it’s pricey. It’s Three Twins, organic ice creams.

vanila 3 twins image

Sigh. I long for the days when simpler meant cheaper and easier to find rather than the opposite. Ah well, we are food snobs and swimming upstream is something I’m used to, ‘eh?

J

Zero Waste?

We have always recycled. That is for nearly 40 years now. Before you get on me about recycling and its virtues: in college my husband (then roommate) and I recycled our glass bottles at our college’s glass blowing program, had the local boy scouts cued in that whenever they had a paper drive we’d contribute, etc. Later we drove to the base recycling, because it was the only one available to us, it wasn’t the town’s dump. So, okay? I believe in recycling and have always practiced it, for for 39+ years now.

So, zero waste as a concept isn’t new to me. The “movement” I see is new. I agree with it, but I think the ludicrous “posts” I see of a family of 4 having only a quart jar of waste a year to be a cheat. Why? Because if you read these blogs, etc. a lot of what you see is what you’d expect: use vinegar, home-made cleaners, permanent cleaning tools rather than paper towels, etc. But you also see things like the cheat (well, I consider it a cheat) I found which turned me off of all such blogs.

The cheat? The person bought a pair of shoes and left the shoe box with the store. That ISN’T zero waste, it’s just being nasty, giving someone else your garbage. You might just as easily take all your other waste in a plastic bag and stuff it in a municipal trash can.

recycling process

Yes, there are things you can do to lower your waste. You can deliberately find a use for something you might otherwise discard. You can buy big packages of supplies (food and otherwise) and make smaller, more convenient collections of those things yourself (preferably in something other than disposable bags). You can use rags instead of paper towels. You can not buy things with pieces which are trashed every time they’re used. You can pay attention to what you buy and what winds up in the trash. How many bags of garbage does your household generate? Can you do better? (We use 1 a week, plus recycling.)

You can also save money and avoid a huge amount of waste if you just use more of your food. Or learn how to cook, right? Prefab food generates container and packaging you don’t have if you cook yourself. Think about it: when I buy a package of ground meat at my local green market, it’s wrapped in 2 pieces of paper. [I admit, if I’d remembered, I could take a lidded, freezer-safe container with me and use that. I didn’t last time, hopefully I will next time.] Anyway, because we make our own bread, the packaging for us to get hamburgers on the table is the wrapping around the meat. Everything else comes in a big package (like a head of lettuce or bottle of catsup) and is used multiple times. Contrast that with the paper napkins, wrappers, receipt, salt, pepper, catsup packets and bag which make up a bag of 2 hamburgers from your local Mac’s. Is it cheaper? No. Is it faster? Well, my local Mac’s is 25+ minutes away, so yes it is.

food waste

But don’t tell me you’re zero waste and go to a store, buy a pair of shoes and leave the packaging. Get your shoes repaired rather than buying a new pair. Buy a used pair? Donate TWO pairs to a charity when you buy that new pair? Try making it a policy to have minimal shoes. For me that’s 5 pairs: daily shoes, snow boots, fancy shoes, sandals, house shoes. My fancy shoes, if I have them, (I don’t at the moment.) are usually either solid white or black. My daily shoes are shoes I wear when I’m going out, they tend to be walking shoes. The house shoes are slippers or slip ons I use in the house, sometimes I use socks. Honestly? If I wasn’t in a snowy climate, I could manage without the boots and could use the sandals as house shoes and for the fancy shoes too, I have previously. That would leave me with daily shoes and sandals.

For restaurant take out, you can do what a friend of mine has done for decades: put a picnic basket in your car with real plates, cloth napkins, food containers, etc. in it and ask the restaurant to package your food that way. Some fast foods may not be able to cope with that, but some can. Pay attention, do what you can, and keep looking for new ways to lower your impact on the world.

I’m not zero waste, but I admit what I do and don’t foist my garbage off on others as if that somehow makes it “vanish.” It doesn’t. The idea that the things we discard don’t count or will vanish is a lot of the reason we got where we are. So, don’t tell me you’re zero waste and foist your garbage off on someone else. If it comes with the goods you buy, it’s yours. Deal (and be honest).

We Got Our Second

gallon of paint today! We might have had enough, but it was going to be really tight, so we ordered another gallon. DH has a reason to be in the same town as the only dealer selling this paint in our state. We bought the last gallon of this color/finish they had a month ago or so. We called, twice, to see if they would have it in stock when he went next week. They couldn’t be bothered to talk to me when I called or call back when I left a message the next day. So much for them.

Their FB page says they “treat their customers like family.” Yes, I had a family like that. I got rid of them. They could have, if nothing else, asked for my email and said we’ll send you a note after hours. Would have taken about 4 minutes. Or asked me if I was on FB and said “Send us a note there, okay?”

We ordered the new paint from the manufacturer, overseas. Between mileage and wear and tear on the car, not to mention the 2 hour drive time each way, we figure the $20 extra it cost us we saved in time, wear on the car, and gas — so it’s probably a break-even proposition.

My only regret is that I gave them a 5 star rating on FB when we first bought the paint. I tried and FB won’t let me delete it. However, I intend to put up a 2nd rating. I’m going to wait until I’m not quite so mad. I get that you have to deal with the customer in front of you — I did retail for 30 years! I get that there’s a point where it isn’t worth your time to deal with a  small order, or so it appears at the time. However, not everyone is a big-ticket customer and small customers in sufficient quantity can be better than a few really big ones. You lose one of the big ones and you’re in deep trouble. You lose one small customer? It’s probably not so bad.

I had been talking these people up to anyone and everyone. And I’ll continue to talk about them, but not the same way. There’s a few really true things said about retail: location is everything, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, and a happy customer usually tells 3 people, an unhappy one tells 10.

You’re my 10, or more. . . .

 

Started Calling

It ends up that the place which sold/serviced the first fridge doesn’t come to our town any more.

Just left a message for the 2nd guy.

It occurred to me that we may be screwed a different way this time — no one will come and service the thing. One of the “local” people (who I left a message for) is one guy and an answering machine. If they gave him a hard time about his bill last time, then I bet he’ll never call me back.

Without someone authorized to evaluate the problem, we have no way to file a claim for the 5 years parts/labor the warranty says we have.

Gotcha!

10:20am: the local guy just left. Says yes, we have a problem, not sure what it is exactly. Needs some more documentation. Apparently, KA stopped making this machine because it had too many issues — surprise, surprise!

 

Dollar Shave Club — Not!

I don’t care if they have the best product at the cheapest price anywhere, ever. We will NEVER buy their products, EVER!

Why? Because they have completely overwhelmed pinterest. Every search you do, no matter wtf it is, they pop up. This isn’t smart advertising to me, it’s annoying. Or it was mildly annoying the first 150 times it happened. It has gotten beyond annoying and I consider it pollution. It’s one of the reasons I stopped using pinterest as much as I had, the annoyance of dollarshave.com’s “ads” that aren’t “ads”. I intend to tell pinterest my reasoning too. I understand people using the site for advertising, but if you put in “food storage” for example, shaving products don’t have a lot to do with it.

Dollar Shave Club just lost themselves a customer, probably several. I refuse to be annoyed into giving someone $. I am a curmugeoness in training and I take my job seriously!

Grrrrrrrrrrrr.