The resourcefulness of free markets.

Most mornings I go to the Starbuck’s at the local Safeway to buy coffee for my wife. When I went this morning, I pulled up beside an unoccupied Sara Lee truck delivering bread. Outside the back end of the truck was a pile of trays containing bread. On top? An aggressive crow picking away that had already pierced at least one loaf. I shooed the crow away but, of course, as soon as I turned to go into the store, the crow came back. So I went to the bread aisle and found the Sara Lee guy stacking bread. I told him about the crow. He laughed. I was a little upset that I seemed to care more than he did.

But then I went outside after getting my wife’s coffee and he was packing up just as I got to the car. He could tell I was wondering, and so he told me that the bread they were hauling away was old bread. “Do you sell it for animal feed?” I asked. He answered, “We sell it to grocery outlets and the stuff the crow ruined we sell for hog feed.” I love how everything gets used.

How did I know to ask about the animal feed? Because a few weeks earlier, I had seen Safeway’s doughnut/bagel buy putting the day-old doughnuts and bagels in a big plastic bag. I have doughnuts about once a year because they’re fattening and I’m trying to watch my carbs. But cut the price of a doughnut to, say, 25 cents, and then that puts me over the margin occasionally. So I had offered a quarter to the guy for a day-old doughnut. That’s when he explained that all that stuff goes for animal feed.