When I am in the grocery store, I won’t buy grapes for my wife. Perhaps, I should say that I won’t buy grapes the way that my wife wants me to buy grapes. My wife is a big fan of the grape and rarely a day goes by when grapes are in season that my wife does not enjoy grapes with her lunch. When my wife buys grapes, however, she insists on sorting through the package of grapes and removing the grapes that she determines to be over-ripe or rotten.
My wife started being a grape sorter about a year ago, after purchasing a bag of grapes that looked fresh and firm but which turned out to be largely past their prime. She had to throw away about 70% of the bag. That bothered her, because it meant she was throwing away 70% of a $1.99 per pound purchase.
My wife vowed that that would never happen again so now, when she is in the grocery store, she will spend a few minutes picking and sorting her grapes – sometimes going so far as to throw away the grapes from her bag which she feels are too ripe for anyone to eat. Sometimes she eliminates just a few grapes. Sometimes she eliminates many.
I just can’t do it. Although the grapes come in a plastic bag, the bag is still sealed in a “Liploc” type seal. I feel that I cannot violate that seal. The grapes come in a sealed bag and the bag must remain sealed until the grapes have been purchased. To do otherwise would be a shopping violation in my book.
I realize that my unwillingness to sort grapes for my wife probably does not make any sense. Our grocery store happily notes in signs throughout the produce section that if a shopper cannot find certain produce in the quantity that the shopper needs, the store will “break” packages for us so that we can buy what we need and only what we need.
Also, there are other products in the store where I am more than willing to examine products to ensure that I am buying only fresh, undamaged good. For example, I have no problem picking up a bunch of bananas and removing two or three from the bunch so that I can buy a lesser quantity. In addition, I always open a carton of eggs before I purchase it so that I can ensure that none of the eggs are cracked or broken. If I find a cracked egg, I am more than willing to remove it from the package and to replace it with a perfect egg from a different carton of the same brand.
I will break fresh ginger into smaller pieces. I will eliminate tomatoes from a vine of tomatoes if they are damaged or if the vine holds too many. I’ll even open a bag of 5 pound bag of potatoes so that I can purchase only two pounds (because I have already gotten permission from the store to do that).
But I can’t bring myself to pick and choose the grapes I buy. I think my problem with picking and choosing my grapes is that (i) I see a bunch of grapes as a single unit, even though I pay for them by the pound, and (ii) it takes too long to sort the grapes and (iii) I always hate to see people handling produce and then putting it back on the shelf. Moreover, I know that I would happily remove a branch of over-ripe grapes from a bunch that was not already sealed in a plastic bag, but I cannot do the same with a bunch of grapes that is in a sealed package – there just isn’t any place for me to put the grapes that I do not want because all of the other grapes are packaged.
What do you think? Should I feel uncomfortable sorting through grapes in order to eliminate the inedible grapes? What products do you check in the store before you buy them? When is it OK to “break” packaged produce on your own? What products do you think should always be checked to ensure quality and freshness and what do you do when you find that a portion of package, bundle or bunch might be past its prime?