Saturday, February 18, 2006

how to feed a startup

There are plenty of great, well-respected resources on the subject of starting a startup and this blog is not one of them. Some of the best writers not only address important topics, but also offer solutions in easily digestible "how to" form. Crucial issues like how to fund a startup are often addressed, but other less glamorous issues are often neglected and left for hacks like me.

And with that, I present "how to feed a startup."

My friends from Maryland will remember latenight drives to our local Royal Farms convenience store where we first discovered what happens to all the unpurchased Krispy Kreme doughnuts. They are carefully inventoried and then violently dumped into a garbage bag that ends up in the back of a truck. I couldn't let this massacre continue -- unlike the U.N.'s treatment of genocide in Darfur -- I felt obligated to immediately intervene. This is how a half-full (note: not half-empty) sack of slightly-misshapen doughnuts ended up on my backseat.

I soon learned that doughnuts (esp. the jelly variety) do not keep well, despite my best efforts to resurrect them (microwave). However, I'd learned an important lesson (not about microwaving doughnuts, but about how to get free food).

Tonight, when I walked passed our local cafe/bakery after-hours, I noticed the two remaining employees emptying all of the day's baked goods into a trashbag. Deja vu. A glitch in the Matrix, whatever. I frantically tapped on the glass and employed a well-honed strategy that I'm sharing with you, dear reader:

Puppy eyes. The more pathetic/hungry you look, the better.

I told them about the undernourished programmers back at the apartment and they acquiesed -- no one wants that weighing on their conscience. By the time they handed me the second baguette, I insisted that I couldn't carry any more and would gladly keep returning at closing time to horde the day's leftovers.

This is routine at just about any establishment that bakes its own food and adheres to its "baked fresh daily" policy. Just remember to look pitiful, be polite, and enjoy the spoils. Now that you know my secret, use it wisely. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.


Some of you may also be wondering why all this food is going to waste and not being dropped off at a local soup kitchen, for instance. I've inquired about this, and although there are some exceptions, most owners told me that it would either be too much of a hassle or that the local charity organizations simply don't want it. Food for thought.


Chris Wilson said...

Hey guys,

First off mad props for Reddit. Love it. You made an addicting website, and I'm sure my PM will curse you if ever finds how much I use your site when I should be working.

Second, I wanted to say that sometimes charities DO grab the spoils. In Pittsburgh, there are still chapters of Food Not Bombs, an organization dedicated to the dismantling of nuclear weapons and the feeding of the homeless, that collects daily food from bakerys to give to the truly underpriviledged.

I use to volunteer for them, so that's how I know. Vegan Activits, Activate!

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reeses said...

One of the reasons food charities often don't want the "day old" baked goods is that, especially by the time they get to their customers (?), they're especially nasty. They often have a sense of dignity that the rest of us may find...misplaced ("How dare we feed these people the same food they'd dig out of the garbage?") but it's understandable and noble if they can provide via their existing methods.

JackDied said...

Food charities are also very selective about _who_ they allow to donate food. Believe it or not some people drop off poisoned food. Do a lot of people do this? No, but it only takes a couple to scare the bejeezus out of everyone and their lawyers.