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Thread: I know kung-fu

  1. #1
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    Default I know kung-fu

    Amongst the weirdness that is currently my world, last night, in a small local supermarket, my daughter and I stopped for a pizza. It was half seven. And here I entered The Matrix.

    While checking out what was on offer in the fresh pizza section, next to the end-of-day reductions chiller, a fellow shopper whispered, "Whole chicken, 80p. Around the corner." She left, chicken-in-bag-in-hand, like a chicken-bearing oracle in some Greek myth.

    My daughter and I are vegetarians. My wife (her Mum) and the cats are not.

    80p? Surely no?

    Jess went to look, as I dragged out a cheese-laden £4 pizza worthy of the task of feeding us.

    She returned. "Last one, it's 'end of day' at the cooked counter. Why didn't she take both?"

    We discussed this later, but did not know.

    It stank. Of fresh cooked chicken. Disgusting. But edible to some.

    We made our way to the Self-Scans.

    I scanned the pizza. £4.

    I scanned the chicken. £3.99.

    I beckoned the customer service colleague over. Due to this supermarket's woeful short staffing at this time of night, they are as rare as cooked chicken's teeth.

    As she arrived, I said, "This scanner's read the wrong barcode, sorry. It's supposed to be 80p".

    She cancelled the item, covered the £3.99 barcode with a finger, scanned again, and dropped the now 80p chicken in the bagging area. And then walked away.

    "Excuse me," I said, worried that we'd not see her for another ten minutes, "but can you approve this void before we can continue to pay?"

    She turned, stared, and approached me. "Approve this void?" Too close, I thought. Stared more at me - and then ... grabbed my arm. ISYN. This simply does not ever happen here.

    "You know self-scan?" she asked.

    "I do," I replied, taken aback by both the physical contact and the urgent tone in her voice. "I've just finished an eight hour shift at **** nearby, and have nine hours in there tomorrow."

    Her eyes widened. She clearly knew her seven self-scans spread over 5m were nothing to ****'s twenty-two spread over about 20.

    We (literally) talked shop for two minutes, sharing the horrors of self-scan in all its forms.

    Meanwhile, the chicken continued to stink.

    The cats, naturally, thirty minutes later, loved it.

    During that drive home, daughter and I discussed the business model underlying any profitability of an 80p chicken.

    And there really isn't one.

    Andy
    "In case of fire ring Fellside 75..."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Great style

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Andy, coincidently , they just doubled the self-checkout lanes at my 'big-box' store - it should be 'interesting'
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    A useful definition of garbage is something that costs more to get rid of than anyone would pay for it. An 80p chicken is just on the non-garbage side of the line. If you can't sell something at a profit, sell it at the lowest possible loss.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    I had a neighbour who used to go shopping a few minutes before the supermarket closed on a Saturday evening.Often picked up something like a bargain cooked chicken and rationalised it by pointing out that from the shop's point of view they had lost less money than they would have by throwing the cooked chicken in the bin and it wouldn't be sitting outside stinking.It isn't a profitable sale in itself but if they bought thirty or so chickens and only lost a couple,the overall purchase would still make a bit of profit.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    It isn't a profitable sale in itself but if they bought thirty or so chickens and only lost a couple,the overall purchase would still make a bit of profit.
    Thing is, after 6-8 weeks of hatching, the chicken has been fed, housed, transported, killed, treated/plucked, maybe frozen (for who knows how long?), transported again, then cooked and bagged in-store. Even slapping a reduced ticket on it costs money, ultimately.

    There's no way there's a big profit margin on a £3.99 chicken. 80p is a major loss.

    But, then, I abhor food waste, and the opportunity to fill a fridge than a dumpster is always one I'll take.

    Andy
    "In case of fire ring Fellside 75..."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    A useful definition of garbage is something that costs more to get rid of than anyone would pay for it. An 80p chicken is just on the non-garbage side of the line. If you can't sell something at a profit, sell it at the lowest possible loss.
    Like an old boat?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Loss leader. Sold at cost to get you to buy other stuff.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Well told sir!

    The 80p seems pretty simple to me. At the end of the day, they'll have to throw the chicken away. Selling it for 80p is better than selling it for 0.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  10. #10
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    It's an interesting balancing act - cook too many chickens today, and have to sell a few for 80p, or leave those extras in the chiller until tomorrow when they magically become £3.99 again.

    While at M&S, the moment after the foodhall shut on Christmas Eve, about twenty wheelie bins were brought in, and we filled them all with stuff dated for the 25th and 26th. We must have thrown away many thousands of £s of food - food that could have gone into peoples' freezers, foodbanks, anything other than landfill. It struck me as absurd and morally wrong. But the company didn't care: it had been factored in to their Christmas profits.

    ...and however you look at it, that's just not right, is it?

    Andy,
    "In case of fire ring Fellside 75..."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    It's an interesting balancing act - cook too many chickens today, and have to sell a few for 80p, or leave those extras in the chiller until tomorrow when they magically become £3.99 again.

    While at M&S, the moment after the foodhall shut on Christmas Eve, about twenty wheelie bins were brought in, and we filled them all with stuff dated for the 25th and 26th. We must have thrown away many thousands of £s of food - food that could have gone into peoples' freezers, foodbanks, anything other than landfill. It struck me as absurd and morally wrong. But the company didn't care: it had been factored in to their Christmas profits.

    ...and however you look at it, that's just not right, is it?

    Andy,
    It isn't. However, here in the States, the main reason companies don't donate leftover food is liability. Even if they publicly declare that it's leftover & that they cannot guarantee that it's safe, someone will come along & sue them.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  12. #12
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Not disputing the point about liability to litigation, but there is one company that uses what they call Verified Rescued Produce.

    We regularly buy yogurt, in the four-pack of individual cup-sized containers, that looks and tastes exactly like the other brands of that style, that makes a point on their labeling that the stuff is produced with recovered fruit. Their program is to use food that is deemed 'ugly' at the farm level, that would be automatically tossed into the landfill. The short article on it states that the US is wasting over two hundred billion dollars worth of food annually, because it doesn't pass the 'ugliness test' at harvest, and as much as a third of annual food production never makes it to someone's table.

    In the United States, one-third of edible produce1 gets wasted at the farm level. What's more, 30-40% of our food supply is wasted annually – good, nutritious food that could otherwise feed families in need – equal to $218B of monetary loss, 21% of our landfill content, and 21% of all agricultural climate resources2. By purchasing Two Good® 'Good Save™' yogurt, consumers can be part of actively helping to reduce food waste at the farm level.
    The program is called Full Harvest. When I first saw the term 'rescued' produce, I had visions of restaurant workers scraping plates. "You gonna eat that?"

    Do I care that the lemons that have spots on the skin get used to make packaged lemon flavored stuff like Greek yogurt? There's obviously, besides a true, good for the planet conservation goal, a profit potential and it would be a good development if an industry takes off based on the practice.
    Speak softly and carry a mouthful of marbles.

  13. #13
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    Default

    You guys need secret handshakes, code words, mystic actions like rapping four times on the door frame as you enter a room.




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  14. #14
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    Default Re: I know kung-fu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    Not disputing the point about liability to litigation, but there is one company that uses what they call Verified Rescued Produce.

    We regularly buy yogurt, in the four-pack of individual cup-sized containers, that looks and tastes exactly like the other brands of that style, that makes a point on their labeling that the stuff is produced with recovered fruit. Their program is to use food that is deemed 'ugly' at the farm level, that would be automatically tossed into the landfill. The short article on it states that the US is wasting over two hundred billion dollars worth of food annually, because it doesn't pass the 'ugliness test' at harvest, and as much as a third of annual food production never makes it to someone's table.



    The program is called Full Harvest. When I first saw the term 'rescued' produce, I had visions of restaurant workers scraping plates. "You gonna eat that?"

    Do I care that the lemons that have spots on the skin get used to make packaged lemon flavored stuff like Greek yogurt? There's obviously, besides a true, good for the planet conservation goal, a profit potential and it would be a good development if an industry takes off based on the practice.
    Not an issue in the EU.
    Fruit and veg is graded, so that there is clarity in the supply chain, into three grades.
    Best quality goes on the supermarket shelves for the picky customers.
    Slightly misshapen and less visually attractive, bought by mom-and-pop stores and market traders for sale at a lower price to less picky customers.
    Blemished but still fit for consumption, sold to canning plants, pie and jam makers for processing prior to going on to the market.

    Ungraded, too crappy for human consumption, goes to animal feed.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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