I really wanted to buy chips for the Super Bowl. My favorite chunky guacamole dip couldn’t go stag to our little party.
For the past six months, I have been assessing the amount of waste my 2-person family generates and we’ve found most of the trash in the form of “throwaway” plastics. So grocery trips have made me very aware of the alternatives to buying in plastic (bring my own containers, reuse old bags, buy glass whenever possible).
But I REALLY like chips. And making my own chips turned out to be a total disaster– “mmm, tastes like ash” — so I was determined to find chips that were NOT packaged in plastic.
By the way, Mission brand chip bags look like they’re mostly paper (the outside is) but the inside is lined with plastic.
Cue the mexican restaurant.
“Hey, we can go eat mexican food and get chips there!” I gleefully exclaimed as we left church, “And instead of a polystyrene foam clamshell, I’ll just put them in my crocheted bag. Then we’ll have them for the Super Bowl.”
So Matt (my husband) and I found a quaint hidden authentic restaurant that his mom had recommended and enjoyed delicious dishes with free chips and dip. Looking around and seeing everyone’s foam to-go boxes, I confirmed that we should use my bags for the chips.
I should have asked. REALLY. Good judgement is common sense. After 1/2 the chips were gone, we shimmied them into my bag, got the bill and (COUGH) shimmied more into my bag– this was after Matt bursted out “GEEZ you’re so rude!” But we drive home without incident and crunched on the crispy chips with our guac while Madonna flipped and cartwheeled her way through a youthful halftime show.
Here’s the hilarious part.
Two weeks later, we took some friends out to the same Mexican restaurant to indulge in soupy beans, cheesy enchiladas and crispy chips with salsa. After ordering drinks, Matt started retelling the events of 2 weeks ago with the chip fiasco. I promptly assured our friends that it was okay not to accept polystyrene foam and that I was simply being thrifty and smart.
Then we noticed we didn’t have chips and salsa. For TWENTY MINUTES. The rule of mexican dining halls was suddenly nowhere to be found, along with this delightful savory appetizer.
Though my friend politely asked for chips and we finally received them, a refill request was met with blunt “forgetfulness…” the manager even came around and asked to refill drinks. But chips? Oh noooo! So I had to write a note.
We left this on the table as we left. Upon returning to the restaurant 2 full months later, we received chips by who looked like a new server at the establishment.
Then the manager came around and asked us how the food tasted.
We didn’t get anymore refills after he saw us.
So, kids, the moral of the story is quite obvious… don’t piss off people who prepare your food! And really, wouldn’t life be much easier if in February, I would have asked the server if it was okay to use my own bag? What would Beth Terry do?
Speaking of Beth Terry, I suggest that you pick up her new book, “Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too,“ in stores and also online. It’s filled to the (paperboard) brim with thoughtful tips, personal stories, referenced statistics for all the skeptics in the world, and every other sentence you’ll want to read aloud in the format of “Did YOU know that ………….?” I have to read this book by myself or else my husband never gets his work done. And what a great coffee table book! Do yourself a favor and either buy this splendid read or ask for a copy for your birthday. Assuming you have a birthday. If you don’t, that’s a bit disconcerting.