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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Saved So Much Money That I Created My Own Career And How To Avoid Death by Dented Can

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 Recently I've decided to "stock up" on certain foods (mostly canned) the ones I use most frequently.  My master plan was to stock up when these foods were on sale, resulting in decreasing the food budget by at least 62 cents.(Note: that estimate is a total, rather than 62 cents per can.)

Originally, cutting the food budget and saving in other ways was how I planned to justify my existence while in the ranks of the unemployed.  I have carefully calculated how much money former my "career" (ha. funny.)  has cost us and how I can actually SAVE the same, if not more than my average take-home pay, therefore turning my unemployment into a profession, maybe even with a title, such as Cost Analysis/Budget Expert/ Sale- Flyer Inspector.

Unfortunately any money saved at the beginning of this venture was lost due to the expense associated with food hoarding stocking, including large shelving units that were installed in the basement and the 24 hour a day armed guard hired to protect us and our canned tomatoes during the Zombie Apocalypse.  However, I do believe these will be perfectly legitimate tax write offs.  I will consult the accountant and report back.

As if this was not reason enough to boldly invent this new career, there is another, more personal reason I decided to join the ranks of the hoarders and it is this.  I am still trying not to be my mother. You see, The Evil Queen was a daily shopper.  She completely and absolutely believed that getting in the car daily and driving to the supermarket (then called the grocery store) to buy only the food we needed, which usually included carrots (because let's face it, carrots are always on sale and they will last at least eight months in the refrigerator,) was the way to spend the very least on food, something she wasn't much of a fan of anyway, but she had four mouths to feed because The Pill and lesbianism hadn't been invented yet.

She also believed in keeping the register receipts.

Let me explain.  My mother would keep the receipts from the grocery store, those usually long cash register tapes (but my mom's wasn't all that long because of the buying of things like carrots) and then, once home,  checking off each and every item before putting it away.  Now this was a group effort, mind you. One kid was in charge of checking off the items while the rest of us put them away, calling out the name of the item and the price.  Sometimes we'd yell "Bingo!" because oh my God were we were a bunch of cut-ups!!!!  And if a price didn't match, or God-forbid something was missing she'd go right back to the store and get her item or her refund.  Yes, my mother believed that she was saving money by once again getting into the car and driving back to the supermarket to get back the 17 cents she was overcharged on the can of Green Giant Cream-Style Corn.

Listen.  I know what you're thinking but you can't make this shit up. Anyway, the point is, (1) I needed to justify my new role in the household and (2) I didn't want to become my mother, so I had to go The Other Way, by stocking up, WAY up,  buying not only more than one dinner's worth of food, but hundreds of dinner's worth and even extra some stuff  that I might not even live long enough to enjoy, all the while, smug in the fact that I have and will continue to save more money than she ever did in her entire life , and in the process of doing so, manage to somehow come off looking much less miserly and also,  quite frankly, less insane.

As entertaining as that story was, however, it has little to do with the subject of this post.  You see, I am going to talk about dented cans.

To at least attempt a segue, I will start the story with this tidbit I'm sure you didn't know:  The Evil Queen had a little issue, as in "no wire hangers" about dented cans.  She made damn sure not to buy a dented can but again if one accidentally made its way into our house, she would get right back in that car and spend $5.00 to return a 59 cent dented can of beans.

She taught us that dented cans were, not only insanity provoking, but also dangerous.  And I believed her.  I've tried not to by using reason, by arguing that there are plenty of dented cans out there and I have not once heard a news story of a person dying of dented can poisoning.  I have rationalized that professional canning surely has reached the point of fool-proof (surely Campbells isn't going to risk being taken down by a improperly canned artichoke) so a little dent isn't going to be a problem, but that fear of dented cans still lives in the darkest part of my soul where only the scariest,  most persistent demons of hell also live.

You know, I've said this before but I'll say it again.  Goddamn I just love the internet.   You see, the other day I went down to the basement food storage facility, "tipped" Mr. T and he let me at the shelves of canned things.  I chose a can of pasta sauce, which I got on sale and used a coupon. I carried it upstairs, placed it on the counter, found the can opener and was just about to open it when I saw it - The Dent.  The Dent that strikes fear in the hearts of those who don't even have hearts.  It strikes fear in the hearts of those whose mother didn't tell them ghastly stories of botulism.  This dent strikes fear in EVERY SINGLE PERSON'S HEART is all I'm sayin'. Big time.

It was a smallish dent, really. Not that that makes any difference, but it looked, well, almost harmless.  But just to be sure I decided to do what we all do now before we attempt anything whatsoever.  I Googled "Is a dented can safe?"  And I was eventually directed to this WEBSITE.

Really, you should bookmark this website for sure.  But here is what I found. 

There are, according to this article, 4 ways to find out if your dented can is safe.

Push On The Top And Bottom Of Can

THE WEBSITE ADVICE:  If the top or bottom of the can moves or makes a popping sound, the can’s seal has been broken and air has made its way inside. Popped cans should be thrown out. On the other hand, if the can does not make a noise or move, it is most likely safe to eat despite any dents.  

MY RESPONSE:  Sorry, "most likely" is just not good enough for me. And I don't like the term "popped cans" either.  That just doesn't sound.....safe.

MY ADVICE:  DO NOT OPEN THE CAN.  THROW IT AWAY, PREFERABLY SOMEWHERE FAR FAR AWAY FROM YOUR HOME IN A PLACE WHERE NO ONE ELSE (even animals) WILL EVER FIND IT, EXCEPT PERHAPS FOR THE ZOMBIES.

Bulging And Bloated Can

THE WEBSITE ADVICE: If the can is bulging and bloated, it is not safe. Cans will bulge and bloat when bacteria begins to produce gasses which push the can outward. 

MY RESPONSE: That makes perfect sense.  You know,  when I'm bulging and bloated, I'm not usually very safe either.


MY ADVICE:  DO NOT OPEN THE CAN.  THROW IT AWAY, PREFERABLE SOMEWHERE FAR FAR AWAY FROM YOUR HOME IN A PLACE WHERE NO ONE ELSE (even animals) WILL EVER FIND IT, EXCEPT PERHAPS FOR THE ZOMBIES.

Rusted Can

THE WEBSITE ADVICE : Rust can weaken the integrity of the can and allow air and bacteria to enter it, particularly if the rust does not simply brush off.

MY RESPONSE: 
"Mom, is it ok to use this RUSTED can of green beans? "

" Sure, honey, as long as the rust brushes off!"

MY ADVICE:  ARE YOU KIDDING?  FOR THE LOVE OF THE SWEET BABY JESUS,  DO NOT OPEN THE CAN.  THROW IT AWAY, PREFERABLE SOMEWHERE FAR FAR AWAY FROM YOUR HOME IN A PLACE WHERE NO ONE ELSE WILL FIND IT (even animals,) EXCEPT PERHAPS FOR THE ZOMBIES.

When You Open It With A Can Opener

THE WEBSITE ADVICE:  When you open the can and once you puncture it with your can opener, it should not spray or explode. If it does spray or explode, do not eat the food because it may be contaminated. Safe dented cans will open the same as non dented cans.

MY RESPONSE:  Contrary to the some of the vicious rumors currently circulating about me, I stay FAR AWAY from anything that sprays or explodes (because indeed it may be contaminated, trust me.) 

 Listen, if someone eats something after it sprays and explodes on her, well, you know, different strokes for different folks, man.  Of course, if this something happens to be a dinner ingredient  well then, for the love of God, listen to the expert - SAFE DENTED CANS (if there is such a thing) do not spray or explode and are (dare I say) are PROBABLY contaminated  I would disregard the words "may be" here.  

MY ADVICE:  DO NOT OPEN THE CAN.  THROW IT AWAY, PREFERABLE SOMEWHERE FAR FAR AWAY FROM YOUR HOME IN A PLACE WHERE NO ONE ELSE WILL FIND IT, (even animals)EXCEPT PERHAPS FOR THE ZOMBIES.

Ok, so I hoped that I have properly educated and enlightened you about dented cans.  Look, just stay away from them, ok?   If you find one on the store shelves, do not touch it, but choose another non-dented can - preferably one that has not been in contact with the dented one.   If by chance you ever find that you have mistakenly taken a dented can into your home, take the can (wearing gloves and a HAZMAT suit) back to the store (with the receipt) and exchange it for a new non-dented one, and I don't care how far you have to drive.  What is your life worth for God's sake?  Before returning home, contact the hazardous materials people to inspect your home with a geiger counter or whatever device they use to detect dented can poisonous substances and then when they feel it is safe to enter, scrub the whole place with Mr. Clean or any other cleaner that has a picture of a very strong man who looks like a very powerful, yet kind of sexy genie on the bottle.

2 comments:

  1. Bwahahahahaha - I will never look at a dented can the same way! I actually put them back on the shelf now, without actually knowing why I do it...thanks for clearing this all up! Happy Wednesday - Tanya

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  2. Oh Tanya, you are most welcome. You see? You had an "inner knowing" about the dented cans. Some sort of ancestral memory perhaps, or maybe your guardian angel or the patron saint of safe canning was taking care of you. However or whoever is keeping you away from the dented cans, just keep believing and say no to dented cans.

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