Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will Miss # 130 - supermarket trash bin contents

The vast majority of cultural differences aren't reflected in the broad and obvious, but rather in the small and less noticeable. One of the things which is a fascinating reflection of cultural differences and priorities are the trash bins in markets. In the picture above, taken at Peacock supermarket, you can see two Special K cereal boxes. Out of context, they may appear to be expired food, but that is not what they are. Someone bought the cereal and at the packing table, they opened it up, took the cereal in the inner wrapping and tossed away the boxes so they wouldn't have to throw them out at home. Similarly, you see dirty (bloody, juice-stained) Styrofoam trays in the bins because people take chicken and other meat out of their packing while still in the market and throw the raw meat into the plastic baggies at the packing tables. This priority on reducing the packing one takes home over sanitary concerns (exposing their raw meat to the relatively unsanitary conditions in the market) is a cultural difference that fascinates me.

I'll miss seeing what is in those supermarket trash bins and learning a little bit about the culture as a result of it.