Milestones in idiocy.

Among my many stops in the search for edibles with which to feed my family, I detour every couple of weeks into my local Wholesale Discount Mega Warehouse. For those of you who are maladjusted, this sort of establishment is one where you can buy items only in enormous quantities. Beer is only sold by the case, sugar and flour in 20lb. bags, butter in 4 1lb. blocks, spaghetti by the gross...that sort of thing. Not every thing they carry is Super Foodie Grade A, but a lot of the stuff they do carry is and in those cases, their prices (on a per unit basis, anyway) are absurdly low, which appeals to my foodie and my cheapskate sides.


One day, on or about spring 2000, I went there to get, among other things some foil. I didn't think anything of the box I had grabbed -- I noted it was a touch heavy -- as my mind was elsewhere. It wasn't until I had gotten home and unpacked that my beloved asked me "What in the Hell is this?" I suspected the answer she passionately sought was not "Foil." With the insight I had gathered about women in general and my wife in particular, I held my peace.

Instead, I replied in the age-old safest way for a husband to reply when he has no idea* what his adored object is driving at: with an innocent question. "What do you mean?"

"Just look at it!" Which I took to mean that I was supposed to arrive at some insight she wished me to arrive, as opposed to actually staring at the item.

She then pried the box open to reveal an enormous roll of foil. Enormous scarcely covers it. I beheld 20lb. of tightly rolled alumin(i)um. In my idiocy I assumed the larger-than-usual box meant there were two "regular" rolls somehow stored therein. No. One massive roll.

Yes. It proved an inconvenience when we moved from Starter Home to Fallback House during the summer of 2004, lugging this log of foil. However, I am proud to say that in 8 years, we have never needed to buy a roll of foil, cutting down the number of cardboard tubes endangering our planet** by as much as 93%.Even better, by my rough guesstimate, we still have 40% of the roll still with us (when it was new, the edge of the roll extended flush with the edge of the frame which held same). Some quick work on the calculator shows we have zero to worry about, in relation to our foil needs, until the year 2013.Did I mention the unnaturally sharp cutting edge? The ridiculous 24"/60cm width? The fact I could use it to cover the floor of our garage? Twice? With enough left over to use in the kitchen.

Still, here we are.


* For some reason, starting off with something along the lines of "You lunatic, why did you buy a 20lb roll of foil?" and proceeding conversationally therefrom never crossed her mind.

** I've seen -- I'm sure you have also -- recycled foil. Setting aside the product's characteristics, which more closely resemble gauze or bathroom tissue for the Wizard of Oz's Tin Man than anything remotely useful in the kitchen, I am at a loss to explain why something which allegedly uses 95% less energy AND is made from recycled (which is presumably stuff that has been discarded) alumin(i)um costs 50% over the stuff that has to be dug from the earth and processed using the full whack of energy.


blackbird said…
I'm just back in from that same outlet. We go once a year.
It takes enormous restraint NOT to buy such huge things. But we manage.
K refers to most items as being available in Trip To Mars size.
I walk around baffled as to why we would NEED two gallons of shampoo.
(Though I understand your foil was accidental.)
Frogdancer said…
You know, I'd buy something like that, but intentionally. In times of change, when things come and go and nothing is as it seems.... there'd be immense comfort in knowing that whatever happens, there's always that enormous roll of foil in the kitchen to provide freshness, oven-wrapped parcels and fish and garlic bread, and gol durn it! a bit of silvery sparkle when all looks dark...

At least until 2013.
SueeeuS said…
That's my favorite store!

I have that very same cute little thumb switch pepper grinder I spy in the background.

At least you can make plenty of foil caps to protect the entire family from aliens. Not everyone is so prepared.
olivespearls said…
I'm surprised you haven't run out yet! When I purchase too much of something, I find that I use it a bit more freely than I normally would, and in situations where it may or may not be appropriate. In your case, I'd be considering foil as a substitute for wrapping paper, shelf lining, toilet tissue...
Joke said…
I have been using it freely.

Kim said…
You realise, that in 2020 when it runs out, you will not be able to go back to a supermarket-grade roll.

It's like the rule when you leave a job - that you can never go back.

You will never be able to go back.

(The box has held up well too, considering it's 8 years old.)

Oh, and you realise that there are very few people in the UNIVERSE who could blog about a roll of foil, make it funny AND get away with it.

Sarah O. said…
Dang. Kim stole my kudo before I said it.
I can't believe that you lugged it when you moved! This is the funniest thing ever!
Bec and Call said…
What I want to know is, what are you planning to do in your garage that covering the floor in aluminium foil is worth considering? And that led you to calculate coverage for the kitchen too?

Because, having recently re-watched Pulp Fiction, I can't help channeling Harvey Keitel right now.

(ps - please make my day by telling me you pronounce the second 'i' in aluminium)
Joke said…
I pronounce it if/when I say "aluminIum", which is a courtesy I extend to all of my friends who hew close to Imperial orthography.

I hope you don't mind, but I linked to this on my food blog. I think this is one of the funniest things ever!
Sarah O. said…
Joke, I left you a bon mot on my blog!
shula said…
We used these in the cafes I cooked in.

And I have the herringbone scars on my fingers to prove it.

Never pick those buggers up in a hurry.
Joke said…
Oh, that blade scares me more than a gaggle of terrorists learning to fly meteors.

MsCellania said…
We have that in the cling wrap model. Same box since Oldest's birth. It may last us for the rest of our lives, since I tend to stage leftovers in glass bowls with a plate on top.
Our local Costco has gone mostly organic due to the granola-y locals. I was surprised to discover that most Costcos are not like ours. And I use Costco like a co-op - 2 other families split purchases with us. The bookkeeping is a bit tedious, but it makes for alot less storage.
Last night I snapped up 4 Frenched racks of lamb to prepare for my father's 80th birthday party tomorrow. And a Martha Stewart antibiotic and hormone free ham at half price ($1.90/lb) as everyone will overnight here and get breakfast and lunch out of us, as well.
I Loooooooooooove Costco. We have a never-ending stream of houseguests/parties/playdates and it makes sense for us. But if we didn't entertain so much? Nah. The storage and rotation for optimal shelf life is a nuisance.
Joke said…
The one closest to us has a strong organic profile. Not because of the presence of eco-mentalists (to use Jeremy Clarkson's phrase) because we really have none of which to speak, but we do have a fair few foodies/trendies.

Thing is I'll need a separate refrigerator in the garage to store some of the larger food items.

MsCellania said…
When I quip "Running down to the local store!", I am referring to the trip down the lower level stairs to the refrigerator down there -- the faithful bottom freezer AMana, which I swear keeps food fresher than our fancy new refrig.
Which reminds me; I need to work on the icemaker on the new one. Again.
Caro said…
Now you've got me wanting to go buy some. LOL
h&b said…
is sweet.


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