Buyer beware: The Chips Ahoy! Conundrum

From time to time I think all of us have witnessed people in various grocery stores examining food for freshness.

Evidently there is a way to determine the freshness of a watermelon or cantaloupe by tapping the item and listening for a hollow sound. Some say you want a hollow sound – others say that is not good.

And if you are into avocados a gentle squeeze will determine if it is ripe. If you are unable to squeeze the avocado, it is too firm and thus not ripe.

Those of you who are “Seinfeld” fans will probably remember the episode where Kramer gets a bad peach and decides to return it to the store.

Jerry thinks that is ridiculous because as he said – “fruit is a gamble. If it’s bad you can’t return it.”

When Kramer takes the fruit back, the owner says that God is responsible for fruit and thus he will not give Kramer a refund.

So maybe when we get a bad apple or pear we should remember what Jerry said – “fruit is a gamble.”

Of course, many products have dates that do nothing more than confuse us.

Some products have a statement that reads: “Best by May 15.”

But what about the items that have an expiration date of the same May 15 date? Should you still be able to eat or drink the product after the expiration date? Who knows?

Eggs are a whole different situation. Depending on where you purchase the eggs you will see a “best by” date of one week hence or in some cases three weeks hence.

Guess that means that some stores have healthier chickens! Again who knows?

Having said all this I want to convey a situation I saw recently at our local grocery store.

As I was walking down the chips and pretzels and peanuts aisle, I observed a man squeezing all the bags of potato chips.

He not only squeezed the bags in the front of the shelf, but he also took the time to reach into the back of the shelf and squeeze all the chips.

Not being someone who is afraid to confront people who are doing something odd or behaviorally dumb, I asked him what he was doing.

Here was his response:

“Chips often are crumbled in the bag and thus I wanted to make sure that the bag I was going to purchase had chips that were whole.”

I told him that since he was squeezing all the bags of chips none of them were now whole. This evidently exasperated him and he left without buying any chips.

So there you have it. In my estimation we are buying fruits and vegetables and eggs at our own risk.

Trying to understand the meaning of the dates is tantamount to working a Rubik cube – almost impossible.

In the meantime, keep squeezing the fruit and vegetables and look out for the guy who crumples bags of potato chips!

— Bill Kalmar

Lake Orion resident


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