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I'm being gifted expired food.

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  • UTgal Apr 9, 2012 02:34 PM

At the beginning of each month a few food items appear on my desk at work. Soup & bread mixes, bottles of syrup, cookies, etc. I thanked my boss and he said, "no problem, just getting rid of what's tempting me!"

I began noticing a trend after the third month. I happened to glance at the expiration date and noticed it was the previous week. I went home & checked everything he had given me and sure enough, each item was given to me just passed its expiration date.

I'm both amused at the weirdness and annoyed. I would personally eat recently expired items from my home but I would never gift them!

Anyway, just thought I'd share. Has this or anything similar happened to anyone else?

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  1. That is the strangest thing I've ever heard of.

    4 Replies
    1. re: redfish62

      And kind of creepy....

      1. re: redfish62

        Count me in as gobsmacked and wishing I had an immediate solution other than leaving a dead potted plant on the bosses desk in the hopes that he is quick to catch the hint.

        1. re: HillJ

          Uh, in this economy it's definitely NOT a good idea to piss off the boss, even if it's warranted.

          1. re: Bacardi1

            Funny is what I was trying to be, Bacardi1. Having a good laugh is not a bad idea either. Haven't you ever made the boss laugh at silly behavior? Humor is a good thing in workplace sometimes.

      2. Bizarre.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wyogal

          Yeah....totally creepy!

        2. Perhaps thank him, but say that your pantry is currently overflowing & that you really don't need any more gifts.

          It's not creepy, just more than a little high-handed & superior to "the masses". Like giving one's half-eaten hamburger to the homeless person outside.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Bacardi1

            Thanking is a bad idea. You'll wind up with more of the same. There has to be a way to say no thank you respectfully. Sans potted plant! (sic).

            1. re: HillJ

              Yes, but the dumpster, behind the building is large.

              I would say "thanks," and then retreat there.

              Hunt

            2. re: Bacardi1

              I agree with Bacardi's take on it. "Not good enough for me, but guess it won't hurt her."

              Annoying to be thought of that way; even more annoying to have it made tangible and overt. Personally I have a bit of lax attitude toward expiry dates at home too but no need to be a dumpster for this guy.

              "Oh, hey, I saw the stuff you left today, but I'm doing a 'use-up' of stuff at home ( or 'reorganization of pantry'), I don't want this to go to waste so I'll give it back to you."

              "Goodness, that looks good, but I'm considering a few changes in my diet, don't want this to go to waste so blahblahblah ......................."

              1. re: DuchessNukem

                No chance the boss is just clueless? I don't jump to holier than thou quickly. Nothing in the OP made me draw that conclusion (at least not yet) but clueless as to how his re-gifting is received, absolutely.

                1. re: HillJ

                  or had a stroke.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I do admit to jumping to conclusion, hillj, lol. The timing (beginning of month) and consistency (all items post-expir), plus not-in-person presentation (gifts 'appear'), all lead me to believe clean-out and dump. OCD? clueless? certainly possible. Still a dump of 'unacceptable-to-moi' items on someone who hasn't been negotiated with (as in, I have friends with expiration-date issues, and have accepted castoffs -- with all info freely disclosed/negotiated).

                    1. re: DuchessNukem

                      lol, DN-understood!

              2. It's insulting. Why is he giving you what he should be throwing away?

                6 Replies
                1. re: cajundave

                  Probably sexist as well, would he leave expired soup mix on a male employee's desk?

                  1. re: redfish62

                    Have to say redfish that is an excellent question.
                    Listen, if you like the passive approach OP, pitch it when you get home. If you really want the re-gifting to stop find a respectful way to say no thank you. But either way, it's your call to find a way to work it out with your employeer, right?! And, I wish you luck.

                    You do have to wonder what makes folks tick tho. It's pretty odd behavior.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Maybe point out that you have become a level 5 Vegan, and also a Freshatarian?

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        lmao, bill!

                    2. re: redfish62

                      Agreed. I don't know what makes some bosses have a higher than thou attitude, but it's even worse when directed toward women.

                      1. re: cajundave

                        Do we know, that it IS a gender thing?

                        Obviously, it could be, but it could well be a mis-guided soul, who thinks he's doing a good deed, and is just missing, what most of us see.

                        Either way - Do NOT eat it!

                        Hunt

                  2. Is you're boss OCD? It's the most charitable explanation I can think of. I can envision a scenario where an OCD person would not want to eat anything past its expiration (while knowing logically that it's not "gone bad") and yet abhorred the waste that would occur if he threw it out.

                    I'd say just tell him your pantry is currently overstocked and politely ask him to direct his largess elsewhere.

                    For the record, there was a time in my life when I would have welcomed such "gifts," as patronizing as they could be perceived.

                    1. I honestly don't know where he's coming from. I don't know him all that well. I've only known him since June and he's pretty reserved.

                      Maybe I'll keep bumping this thread at the beginning of each month with photos of my haul for your entertainment. ;-)

                      I likely won't say anything to him at all.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: UTgal

                        I would eat any of it I wanted and throw the rest away. And keep my mouth shut to the boss.

                        Being charitable, I would guess he is getting rid of stuff he doesn't want and hopes that you can use.

                      2. The best gift you will get from this boss will be when he reaches HIS expiration date.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Veggo

                          So long as he gifts his corner office...

                          Hunt

                        2. Since the expiration/best by dates are recent, consider giving these to a food kitchen which can immediately use the products.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Stephanie Wong

                            That's a fabulous idea but I honestly don't feel comfortable donating expired food. I totally understand it's likely safe to eat...I'm just not comfortable with it.

                            1. re: Stephanie Wong

                              Our local food pantry cannot accept or hand out food that is expired. We don't have a kitchen, but I would bet that it is against the law to serve expired food.

                              1. re: sparrowgrass

                                Reminder: there's a difference between "expired" & "best by"

                                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                  Even the difference wouldn't change the guidelines or perception of food bank employees, volunteers or clients rec'ing food. Because liability is a word we all understand and handout feels very different than a charitable donation.

                                2. re: sparrowgrass

                                  Same here. Absolutely ZERO expired products of ANY type are accepted. And they REALLY frown on "pantry cleaners" who try to foist such stuff off on them. Folks down on their luck aren't garbage disposals.

                                3. re: Stephanie Wong

                                  That's a really bad idea... most won't/can't use them and certainly will not distribute them.

                                4. Ask him, is there any way to give these to you like a month earlier? :P But honestly have to agree with the above ppl, your boss is weird+creepy.

                                  1. It is weird...but maybe there's a rational explanation? Many people organize their pantries so that the oldest stuff is in front to get used up soon. I only check the expiration date on the stuff on the shelf once in a while, so it's possible that the oldest stuff in the front is recently expired. It's possible that when he goes to get new healthy stuff and sees the "tempting" stuff in the pantry, he does actually want to get rid of it. Since the older stuff is in front, you get the stuff that's recently expired.

                                    1. I would take it and eat it and not say anything about it. Just file the information away for when you need it. I'd like to see regular pix, tho...that could be fun!

                                      1. Start calling in sick the day after receiving your "gifts/garbage". Perhaps he'll start thinking twice.

                                        Kidding aside, this is simply inappropriate workplace behavior. I feel for you.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          No kidding, Breadcrumbs. I'm sure the OP doesn't have anything major to fear, especially if they food is going in the trash, but I am always reminded of this story and how little employees know about their employers. Crazy stuff you just cant' make up!
                                          http://consumerist.com/2007/07/walmar...

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Sheesh HillJ, I guess you really never know who your colleagues are. THAT scared me!! Memories of Fatal Attraction....

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              I agree -- I used to work for a guy who made a huge hairy deal out of handing out a turkey to each employee for Thanksgiving.

                                              Several problems, though -- first, he performed this magnanimous gesture on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving...everyone already had their dinner plans all sorted, and since sometimes he gave the turkey, sometimes he didn't (and still other times he gave a gift certificate) -- you never knew until Wednesday whether there was a turkey or not -- so surprise! Here's another turkey!

                                              Second problem was it was still frozen hard as a rock, and he wouldn't give them out until Wednesday afternoon. Not a prayer of having that sucker thawed in time for dinner tomorrow.

                                              Third problem? It was a cheap-ass store-brand turkey from the lowest-priced grocery store around --

                                              So we all thanked him profusely, put it in the freezer, and roasted it for soup and sandwiches some other time. It was fine for that -- it just wasn't something any of us would have served to guests (even a struggling single mom in the company was happy to have the free food, but she told me flat out she'd rather cut out something else to buy a nice turkey than to serve that thing for Thanksgiving)

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                So funny, I worked for that guy, too, with the identical problems. In my case, one of my co-workers had three (!) chest freezers and a huge family. She always gladly took mine and stashed it with hers for, as you say, soup and sandwiches.

                                          2. While I completely agree with some of the sensible and job-keeping suggestions above (say nothing, dispose of it elsewhere, use it if you like it, ignore the humiliation part), the bratty part of me wants you to dump the stuff in your waste basket and watch what happens (does the boss notice?). Gotta add, completely weird.

                                            1. Expiration dates matter a lot depending on what is involved....so what is he giving you?

                                              1. are you known in the office as someone who loves to cook?
                                                since you thanked him the first time he may just be clueless and really thinks he's doing a good thing, he may know you are underpaid and this is a way of making amends, truth is we will probably never know. just watch for signs of other instability.

                                                as for giving a plant to say thanks, i was reminded of a thread a few months back of someone microwaving office plants so that they died slowly over the following week or so. i'd never suggest doing it on purpose, but wouldn't it be odd if you put one of those packages of cookies near a plant on your desk and it died. and again the next month too?

                                                1. I have not yet read through all of the responses but I will add my opinion now. This is a bit odd but I have a possible explanation. I am going to guess this guy or his wife has a phobia about so-called 'expiration dates' on food products. I'm guessing his wife because if it were him wouldn't he just throw the stuff away? Anyway, those dates are not expiration dates they are best by dates. That means the quality goes down after the date on the package. It is not about food safety. Heck, even opened milk usually is good past the date on the jug. There is a bargain store near our house that sells products close to or past the package dates. I have yet to encounter any bad products outside of produce and I just don't buy produce that is too far past its prime.

                                                  1. I don't think it really matters what the guy's motives are. Just tell him "thanks for thinking of me, but I really won't eat this and I'd hate for it to go to waste."

                                                    Unfortunately, this probably means he'll give it to the food pantry, and they'll have to throw it out, but you can't control his behavior. All you can do is set boundaries for yourself, and politely refusing expired food is a reasonable place to start.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                      I wonder if a harmless comment to the boss along the lines of: Mr. Boss, I noticed that there is an expiration date on this jar and it had me a bit concerned, would you mind if I threw the jar out.

                                                      Maybe just maybe Mr. Boss would look next time at the expiration date, act with better judgement, rather than re-gift items to UTgal.

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        I had a similar thought: "oh wow, boss, did you notice that this expired last Tuesday? I'm glad you didn't eat it either!"

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          fwiw, if keeping your job is of value to you, i would not follow HillJ's advice.

                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                            fwiw, I so disagree with your comments. Value your job has nothing to do with being gifted expired food by your boss or coworkers for that matter. There are lines to be drawn and court cases to point to where businesses large & small failed their employees by holding ridiculous ideas & choices over an employees head. But thankfully the OP who posted this story seems to have a clear handle on the "gifts" given and how they prefer to handle it.

                                                            I am confident that I would not be in this situation for more than a day and would know how to handle it and still keep my job. Wow

                                                      2. I admit to knowing several people that "gift" expired food but they keep it in the family.

                                                        My dear father loved nothing more then a visit to the surplus store to load up his car with food treasures to distribute to his loved ones. He had no problem eating expired food and assumed no one else did either. I, however, drew the line at two years past the sell by date pickles......

                                                        I have several friends whose mothers turn up their noses at anything expired but think it is perfectly fine to pass it along to the kids.

                                                        I think it is very odd for this type of behavior to occur at work.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                                          Not too long ago I stopped my father from donating an old can of plums to the food bank. It was among a lot of good food such as soup, ravioli, canned potatoes, etc. I showed him the can and he still didn't see what the problem was even after I showed him that the label had no UPC on it. That can of plums has been with him in four different houses over at least 30+ years. If he won't eat it why would anyone else?

                                                        2. I don't like that he thinks you are in the habit of needing or accepting charity, and I'm sure he thinks he's being nice to you in some fashion, but it's not nice. Maybe you should put a cardboard box next to your desk and bring in a couple of items and put them in there, and the next time he leaves you these items, put them in the box. When he asks about the box, say you thought it was good idea to clean out your pantry regularly as well and inform him you'll be taking those items to the local food bank or other shelter, where the charity is much-needed. You can even "thank" him for spurring you to act, saying you've been meaning to start doing this more regularly. Then I would do just that with the items.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                            except the food bank can't use them as mentioned in numerous posts above. perhaps making the box open to other employees who could use the pancake mix or cream of whatever soup? Some people are date conscious about somethings, others about something else. the first monday of every month whatever hasn't disappeared it all goes in the trash and start over.

                                                          2. Take the passive-aggressive route.

                                                            Make something out of all the goodies he's giving you and give it back to him. So if it's bread mixes, then make bread, bring it to work, and offer it to your boss as a "thank you" for all the goodies he's been "gifting" you.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              That's exactly what I would do. If asked why I brought goodies made with the stuff the boss "gifted", I would say the boss was generous and gave me some food that I couldn't use up quickly enough. Thought it would be appropriate to share with the office. I will now wait for the firestorm of posts indicating that I'd be held liable if someone got sick......

                                                              Don't try to figure out the why,.....if you want it to stop, tell the boss you appreciate the gesture but can no longer accept the stuff. If it keeps appearing on your desk, toss it in the garbage container in a common area.

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                So long as it does not kill him, or, if it does, the OP is first in line for the "estate," things could get a bit dicey.

                                                                Hunt

                                                              2. Next, you get his expired drugs.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: beevod

                                                                  +1

                                                                2. I'm one of the people who won't eat something past it's expiration date or "best by" date. I hate to think of just chucking the stuff in the dumpster in the alley, so I bag them up (or stack them up) on the retaining wall next to the dumpster with a note that says "take me" . They're usually gone within a couple of hours and if they are still there the next day I'll pitch them in (maybe once this has happened.) We know we have dumpster divers here in the neighborhood, might as well make it less difficult for them.

                                                                  1. There is no way to know "why" - so I prefer to think that he hates the thought of throwing away food and for whatever reason feels comfortable enough with the OP to pass it along.

                                                                    There may be folks at this workplace who would love access to the food. I have worked at a few places where we had a "free" box. Useable clothing, throw pillows that don't match the new sofa, and packaged goods all found their way in and usually found their way home with someone else. Perhaps suggesting a "free" box could be the win-win solution. Boss is happy the goods can be used, others who can use the goods benefit. In this economy there are many who would view this as a gift.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                      "There is no way to know "why" - so I prefer to think that he hates the thought of throwing away food and for whatever reason feels comfortable enough with the OP to pass it along."

                                                                      This is my take on it as well.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        Agree! I love the idea of the free box as well. What a great solution.

                                                                    2. Cook something using on of those gifts. Bring it into work. After your boss tastes it, mention that you used what he brought and see how he reacts.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                        Has anyone but me noticed that the OP never asked for advice about what to do? In fact, the OP seems to have a really good handle on that.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          Good point.

                                                                          I'm sure she is the only one here able to weigh the annoyance/weirdness against the benefits of her job otherwise.

                                                                          But; after a hard and frustrating day at my job, I would advise a pure d (old southern saying) screaming hissy fit. Threaten lawsuits and what not. : ) Alternatively make a big pot of gruel from everything he has given you and dump it out on his desk.

                                                                          Maybe the next boss will be more "appropriate".

                                                                      2. Well now I'm obsessed.... it makes me ask myself the following questions:
                                                                        Has boss witnessed OP eating nothing but obviously swiped packages of saltine crackers for lunch and worried about the nutritional imbalance of her diet?
                                                                        Does boss see OP's lower body mass index and leap to misguided conclusions?
                                                                        Is boss actually amorous of OP and the expired goods items merely an excuse to initiate dialogue?
                                                                        Is boss a kleptomaniac who regularly robs dollar stores (which always have expired goods!), and is trying to offload the overflow of his efforts?

                                                                        I'd ask him why! with a smile of course.

                                                                        1. Do not eat it. Place it into the proper container. Say "thank you," and smile. Just, do not eat it.

                                                                          Some people mean well, but do not have a clue. Others, do not mean well, and want your corner office, when you expire, due to food-borne illnesses.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                          PS - Do not eat it!

                                                                          1. Is there any way you can use the "gifts" to make something to bring to work the next day to share with your boss for lunch? I mean, if it's good enough for you to eat surely it's good eough for your boss too, right? Share the generosity! '-)

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                              Excellent, Caroline!!

                                                                              1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                I'm devious. '-)

                                                                            2. Thanks everyone for your advice and humorous suggestions! I'm new to Chowhound (about six months), you guys are a fun group.

                                                                              I believe my boss' gesture is one of kindness. He sees something in his cupboard that's about to be past its prime, doesn't want to eat it, and yet doesn't want to throw it away.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: UTgal

                                                                                UTgal, That's what makes life so interesting!

                                                                                You went from :" I'm both amused at the weirdness and annoyed. I would personally eat recently expired items from my home but I would never gift them! Anyway, just thought I'd share. Has this or anything similar happened to anyone else?" to..."I believe my boss' gesture is one of kindness. He sees something in his cupboard that's about to be past its prime, doesn't want to eat it, and yet doesn't want to throw it away."

                                                                                How about that!

                                                                                1. re: UTgal

                                                                                  IF you want it to stop...here's my idea....FWIW

                                                                                  Boss hands you can. You look at the date and exclaim right there on the spot: "Hey thanks! Oh, geez, it's expired. Aww... too bad, cuz I really like that soup/corn/spam. Such a shame to toss it. Oh well, I guess that's what these dates are for though. Thanks for thinking of me." Smile at him.

                                                                                  Toss it in wastebasket in front of him.

                                                                                  Over.

                                                                                  .

                                                                                  1. re: thegforceny

                                                                                    I suppose if she hates or doesn't need her job that might be helpful. Just sayin'!

                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      Just sayin;', it's all in the delivery.

                                                                                      "I am firing her because she threw away my expired food gifts!" As if....

                                                                                      1. re: thegforceny

                                                                                        I think her discretion is commendable, mature and well advised. I'm trying to think of any instance in which tossing someone's unwanted gift into the garbage wouldn't be offensive or rude.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          When it starts ticking...oozing some foreign substance or is moving. Then all discretion falls aside.

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            LOL. Agreed.

                                                                                2. Well, I definitely think it is odd and even a bit bizarre, but personally, it really wouldn't faze me, not at all. Especially if it is stuff that I like.

                                                                                  I'm glad to hear that normally you wouldn't care to much about a recently "expired" item. People do tend to get weird over those called 'expiration' dates, as if the product magically turns lethal after a certain date.

                                                                                  It seems as though the gifting is well intentioned, and I'm all for NOT throwing away perfectly good food. To reiterate...I think what the boss is doing is _definitely_ peculiar...but it wouldn't be a big deal to me. I'd just use the goods up sooner than later.
                                                                                  Then again, you're not me.

                                                                                  1. My best guess is that your boss is one of those people who feels guilty about 'getting rid' of stuff whether he really wants it or not. So it sits there until it gets to the expiration date, at which point he says 'oh, this has to be used up RIGHT NOW, I'll give it to somebody who might be able to use it tomorrow', and you're the nearest candidate. If he gave it away before the expiration date, he'd feel bad because he was 'wasting' it, but as soon as that day comes around it needs to go immediately or the 'waste' will be not using it at all. It's not that he thinks you're a human garbage disposal, he's trying to be nice. I'm sure the stuff is perfectly fine - expiration dates are usually a guideline not a hard-and-fast thing. If you want to use it, go ahead, if not, take it home and quietly dispose of it for him, and office life can proceed smoothly.

                                                                                    1. This reminded me of a time a few years ago when I was volunteering at a local food bank and they were handing out expired foods. Everything from loaves of bread to boxes of mac & Cheese. I was disgusted. It wasn't just a few things, it was most of the items. I brought it up to the person running it and he said, "Its charity, they should be happy they are getting anything in this economy." I told him that was ridiculous and wanted to know where they were getting the items. He wouldn't tell me but I figured it out by the store brand names and couldn't believe the store was giving away expired food.
                                                                                      I am not super picky about expiration dates, on some things, but I think it is insane to think that someone who is having to go to a food back is being handed expired bread.

                                                                                      As for the OP, the next time I get something from him, I would act like I was so excited about an item and pretend to look it over when he was with me. Thanking him then shockingly notice that it is expired. Act like this was the first I was noticing and then politely put it in the trash and say something along the lines of I am bummed that it was expired but thanks anyways. I wouldn't mention anything about the other expired items. I would act like it was a simple mistake. Maybe he would be a little ashamed and quit bringing you expired items. But I've always been better than I should be at acting shocked or surprised if I need to to get a point across to someone. My Pops is the only person who ever knows when I am fibbing. So, if you can put on a little show of shocked surprise about an expired item, it might work. But if you can't fib, then I wouldn't try that at all.
                                                                                      I find that whole situation so weird. Good luck.

                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: HighHeels

                                                                                        Maybe I'm a bad shopper, or maybe the laws are different where you live, but I have been all over the three brands of bread I currently have on hand (Oroweat, Thomas', and Rainbo) and unless I'm blind, NONE of them have any sort of "best by," "Use by," or "Expiration date" on their packages. Most of my dairy simply has a date stamped on the container somewhere, though one buttermilk has a "Sell by" date on it and another has a "best by" date on it. I don't know of ANY food that is smart enough to go bad in one specific 24 hour time period. Well, unless it comes in a carton that makes ticking noises.

                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                          With bread, it's usually on the little plastic tab thingy that closes the bag. But day old bread for half prices has long been sold to those who need or want a bargain. I mean, some recipes call for stale bread.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            And what kind of bread do you buy that still has those little plastic thingies on them? I LOVE those! Seems that all of the bread I buy lately comes with a damned twist wires with no dates on them. Sometimes I really hate progress....!

                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                              I see them all the time, and we hardly even eat any bread. Joseph's low carb pitas and sandwich thins, and Weight Watcher's rye, I think.

                                                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                            I just checked my bread I have that is a Kroger store brand and there is a stamp on in that says "Best if used by April 17" and then there is a line under it "TH 12 3550941915 1B" So, I am not losing my mind. And even tho I obviously don't eat my bread very fast, LOL. The issue I mentioned earlier wasn't where it was a day old, these things were way past expiration dates. The bread was over a week. And the non-perishables were months past the date. Like I said, I am not that particular but I feel that when some people have to push aside some personal dignity to go to a food back and then to be handed expired food I found that just in very poor taste.

                                                                                            1. re: HighHeels

                                                                                              "Best by" is not an expiration date. And depending upon storage condtions, breads keep for various lengths of time. Food banks I know won't accept donations of expired foods, so either yours is, or they're not distributing things in a timely, well managed way.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                A few years ago I found about a third of a loaf of "gummy white bread" in the back of a cupboard that had a "best if used by" date that was at least six months past. The bread was still soft, no signs of mold, and looked "edible." I didn't eat it. I figured it had to be made out of embalming fluid and flour!

                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  You should have donated it to a food museum.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    Or to one where it could be laid out with the other mummies.

                                                                                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                    oh, I've gotcha whupped on that one...

                                                                                                    Years ago, my ex and I decided to relandscape the front yard - we were digging up the bushes along the front of the house, when we uncovered a styrofoam McDonald's box (this was when they still used styro boxes) -- half afraid (but morbid curiousity won out), the ex opened it...and we were pretty shocked to find a half-eaten cheeseburger that looked and smelled (no, I didn't get my nose close - the smell wafted past) like it had been put there the day before.

                                                                                                    We could document that the bushes had been there at least 5 years -- so that sandwich had been buried at least that long-- in Florida, where it hadn't ever been subjected to freezing temperatures in the winter.

                                                                                                    Now THAT is scary.

                                                                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                Oroweat's dates are really hard to find/read. In my experience the dates are usually stamped somewhere in the vicinity of the "oroweat." Sometimes only part of the stamp is legible and sometimes I can't find any at all. I don't buy those, of course.

                                                                                              3. re: HighHeels

                                                                                                I still don't understand the fuss.
                                                                                                More often than not, the "best by/"use by"/"sell by" dates listed on foods (especially dry foods and canned foods) are arbitrary and ot an indication that the food has 'gone bad'.
                                                                                                Like I posted earlier, the whole gifting scenario is weird, but at the same time, I'd just use the stuff up and be done with it.
                                                                                                I'm more offended by the notion of throwing away perfectly good food.

                                                                                              4. The retailer Marshall's sells popular but older food brands all the time as new. Coffee, chocolates, popcorn, oil & vinegar, jam, etc. Not one product was fresh stamped and coincidentally in many cases they place the price tag over the expiration date imprints. While receiving this stuff may or may not land in a regift situation, I wouldn't enjoy these products.

                                                                                                1. OP here - It's almost May 1st! Time for more food! ;-)

                                                                                                  I did keep and am consuming a bottle of unopened syrup he gave me. It's absolutely delicious. Stonewall is the brand I think?

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                    In my father's kitchen cupboard is a box of Café du Monde beignet mix with a 'use before' date of February 1996. Do you think it's still any good? ; ) My mother must have purchased it on one of their trips down there. (She died 4 years ago).

                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                      Mix up a batch, fry them, eat one-if you're fine 24 hrs later, it's probably ok...& make sure there's no weevils or moths in the mix, honestly, I'd just pitch it, find a recipe online & make from scratch, if I wanted beignets.....

                                                                                                      1. re: thistle5

                                                                                                        I forgot the semicolon to indicate my intent of the question was to be humorous. If I was going to the effort to make beignets I'm with you, I would not use an ancient mix, I would make them from scratch. I cannot remember the last time I deep fried any food.

                                                                                                        1. re: thistle5

                                                                                                          Hey! When I lived in Turkey in the '50s, and bought flour on base that had LIVE larvae in it, I contacted the base vet in alarm. He told me to just go ahead and eat it, it was rich in proteins, but recommended I NOT sift it because it would only clog up my sifter!

                                                                                                          uhhhh.... FYI, I threw it away and bought Turkish flour.

                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                            I kind of figured you wouldn't be using that mix, but I'd bet that deep-frying would cover up a lot of problems (like Caroline said, added protein)...

                                                                                                      2. re: UTgal

                                                                                                        While some food may not be expired, I wonder how much of it is stale. Popcorn is an example that comes to mind. Stale gourmet popcorn has graced my desk on many occasions. Not a fan of stale carbs in any form...but I'm sure they aren't expired items....just past their prime.

                                                                                                        1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                          Is it that delicious raspberry syrup? Love that stuff--just pour into a small bowl and eat with a spoon.

                                                                                                          1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                            Certain sweet things like syrups, jams, jellies, etc. - so long as they're not, like, DECADES old - are perfectly fine if somewhat "expired". The only exception to that are commercial citrus "curds" (lemon curd, lime curd, etc.), which tend to develop a dark color & unpleasant texture if kept around too long. Been there, done that.

                                                                                                          2. Our office is a toxic waste dump of expired, if not disgustingly rotten food. Somebody brings these .99 cent bags of candy and puts them in the cabinet. This isn't the oldest bag, just the only one that had a clear date. I've been here 12 years and some of them pre-date me.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: kengk

                                                                                                              No one with enough initiative to throw that crud out?? :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                Nope. I find our work kitchen to be an extremely interesting experiment. I suggested throwing some three month old bread away one time and got my head bit off. Even though she who brought it will never eat the candy, there would be hell to pay if somebody put it in the trash.

                                                                                                                If I brown bag to work I put my lunch in a cooler with an ice pack and leave it in my car.

                                                                                                                1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                  I would, too. GROSS.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                    The key is not to "suggest" anything. Just wait until no one's looking, then toss. Cover up the evidence in the trash with a piece of paper.

                                                                                                                    Kitchen cleanouts should never be handled democratically. What's needed is absolute authority and total discretion.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                      It would be like throwing Louis Pasteur's Petri dishes in the trash.

                                                                                                                      I have neither authority nor discretion. I long for authority, I'm OK with the lack of discretion. If I had authority, getting their expired food thrown out would be the least of their worries.

                                                                                                                      I would add that this is a ten person office. Nowhere to run to, no place to hide.

                                                                                                                    2. re: kengk

                                                                                                                      My friend's Dad had a bit of a tic that way. He had lived extensively in developing nations and remained active in charities supporting them. No food was to be thrown out, ever. But... he did not himself eat stale food. Their fridge was a nightmare.

                                                                                                                  2. re: kengk

                                                                                                                    o_0

                                                                                                                    LOL!!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                      kinda like my parents pantry!

                                                                                                                      i found stuff expired in like 2004 in there last week....

                                                                                                                      we've moved twice since 2004

                                                                                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                        Just cleaned out my MIL's pantry a few weeks ago after her death. I had hopes of donating the food to the post office food drive, but they were dashed by the "best by August 1997" dates on a few cans.

                                                                                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                          Same with my dad's house. I don't know that there was ever anything he considered to be inedible. Best by or sell by dates were, in his opinion, a trick corporate america plays on the public to get them to spend more money on food. (maybe a bit of truth to this...)

                                                                                                                          He was also a bit of a hoarder. Sadly, it was too overwhelming and everything was tossed, it was just too much to sort through.

                                                                                                                    2. i am posting in this thread mostly just in case an answer to why the gifted food is expired is ever found.

                                                                                                                      so strange!

                                                                                                                      1. How about you call him one morning and announce that you are not feeling well and will not come to work that day. Then, when you show up at work the next day or so, he will probably ask you about the illness and you say that it was the weirdest thing: you had (insert name of one of his "gifts") for dinner and soon after you fell violently ill.You could also add that a doctor at Emergency Room diagnosed your symptoms as consistent with consumptioin of expired canned goods...

                                                                                                                        1. Just noticed this post today and think it's one of the funniest I've seen on Chow.
                                                                                                                          My boss buys an inexpensive packaged cake every few days and leaves it sitting around for everyone to pick at. When the remains are good & stale, she offers them to me with an air of magnanimity, "For your kids."
                                                                                                                          Well, I am a single mom, but when I want to give my kids a treat, I bake them something fresh & homemade. So I just say, "No, thank you," and leave it at that.
                                                                                                                          Does make me feel a bit odd, though.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: almond tree

                                                                                                                            I wouldn't feel "odd" at all. I'd feel normal, & with a good healthy dose of self-esteem.

                                                                                                                            1. re: almond tree

                                                                                                                              that's where I'd be soo, sooo tempted to make something fresh and homemade, and have my kids make a tag saying "for Mom's boss from almond tree's kids"

                                                                                                                              But unfortunately, your boss sounds like the sort of insensitive dork who wouldn't get the hint. (not saying she's a bad person...just a little clueless)

                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                Looove your idea - but you're right, she wouldn't get it.

                                                                                                                            2. I'm sorry, but: WHAT?

                                                                                                                              Are you saying this is food he's bringing in from his home and giving to you? Every month? Because that would be really weird, even if the food weren't expired. Unless he had reason to believe you had trouble obtaining your own food.

                                                                                                                              Or is your workplace somehow food-related? That would make things less weird.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                Yup, from his home, every month.

                                                                                                                                No, not a food related industry.

                                                                                                                                Today's gift was little late, being the 14th and all...some Giandino chocolates, past best by date. :-)

                                                                                                                                1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                                                  Good God -- even the CHOCOLATES were out of date? This is getting curiouser and curiouser.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                                                    Did you ever consider that you are the victim of an experiment?

                                                                                                                                    Something about Pavlov's dog...

                                                                                                                                    ; )

                                                                                                                                2. a variation on your topic - and what a dilemna your situation must be ... very odd and a good lesson for those of us in any gift-giving situation ... no matter how righteous and generous we feel we are being ...

                                                                                                                                  we know someone who is very keen on Grocery Outlet http://groceryoutlet.com/-- which, we all know, is kinda how TJ's started out and now of course TJ's is all mainstream trendy and cute -- but anyway, there are some things we've been gifted that make me wonder - like weird cookies and stuff - i am surprised when i read the labels and they say -- made in USA (product thereof) -- and not some crazy overseas food factory. But , i have now shopped at GO and i like it!

                                                                                                                                  another friend loves to shop at "dollar store" places - and brings odd-ball candy and stuff as "hostess gifts". I have to say, it kind of scares me - and also, how old is the stuff (or was it made in China and still labelled "organic" for eg) ...

                                                                                                                                  i know people who put their "expired" (but not perishable) food goods in the food bank donation bin. Gee thanks. That can of beans cost you how much? i know some people don't like to "waste" food -- but put it in the compost or feed it to the crabtrap or something.

                                                                                                                                  ps - i never trust any gift basket -- except for the wine ; )

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                                                                    While I am no fan of cheap food, even if it comes from the dollar store it should not be very old. And lots of American name-brand snack food is made in China nowadays; that doesn't *necessarily* mean there's something wrong with it.

                                                                                                                                    But yeah, I agree with you; if you have an excess of expired foods, a food bank is not a good place for it.

                                                                                                                                  2. I would simply tell him that you appreciate his generosity, but you're all set with food. Start a box in an inobtrusive area for the whole office to contribute to a local food panty. Notice "out loud" when the next "donation" comes in that's past its prime.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                      Frankly, that's drawing the rest of the office into what's essentially a one-on-one drama. This is between the OP & her boss.

                                                                                                                                      And food pantries do NOT accept expired food. For which I don't blame them. As I've stated before in this thread, folks down on their luck don't deserve to be gifted with expired food. They're having enough problems.

                                                                                                                                    2. That's just freaking weird and I don't know how I'd handle it.

                                                                                                                                      That being said, I eat stuff past their sell-by date and from dented cans all the time. I work at a co-op and such things become free for employees.

                                                                                                                                      That's my haul from today...bananas that will be frozen for baking & smoothies, coffee that a customer put in a grinder then decided she didn't want (so we had to grind it and write it off), tomato paste that came in minus label, cans that came in from a shipment with slight dents, and a jar of jelly that was dropped while being stocked which popped the safety seal.

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jackie007

                                                                                                                                        but that's so different -- YOU opted to "adopt" that food, and YOU make the choice whether it's past the date or too dented. (and with things like the jelly -- you know why the safety seal was broken)

                                                                                                                                        It's a whole nuther deal to box it up and give it to somebody else!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                          Oh yeah, I agree. I'm a basically a food Nazi and if I was the OP, I'd be totally weirded out.

                                                                                                                                      2. The oddest thing about this is the fact that your boss just leaves the stuff on your desk without telling you about it. I think it's fine that it's expired as long as he tells you about it and asks you if you want it.
                                                                                                                                        I have a work colleague who is really picky about food - won't eat expired food, won't eat bananas if they have any hint of brown on the skins, will throw away food items that she finds she doesn't like rather than grin and bear it or remake it into something else.
                                                                                                                                        She knows that I am on a tight budget and hate waste and am not very fussy so she happily offers me all the grocery items she buys but ends up not wanting. However, she always runs it by me first and tells me why she is giving it away.

                                                                                                                                        Maybe your boss thinks he is doing you a good deed, even if the food has expired, but thinks he might embarrass you if he discusses it. Did you maybe have a recent conversation where you may have mentioned that you are happy to eat expired food? Maybe that stuck with him and gave him the idea.

                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Billy33

                                                                                                                                          Maybe the fact that the OP is happily eating and accepting these food gifts is why the boss keeps offering them?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                            OP never said anything about having eaten them.

                                                                                                                                            I think I'd just start tossing them.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                              OP here - It's almost May 1st! Time for more food! ;-)

                                                                                                                                              I did keep and am consuming a bottle of unopened syrup he gave me. It's absolutely delicious. Stonewall is the brand I think?

                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                              Really, I thought the UTgal mentioned a chocolate bar the other day and the mention about the syrup. UTgal, have you consumed any of the gifts? If not, then I def. misunderstood some 30 comments back...but if not, what are you doing with the gifts, lol?!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                Yup, May was chocolate. Everything I've tossed except for the syrup which I'm using. It's so good. I threw away the chocolate. The one bar I bit into a few months ago (before realizing it was past its best by date) tasted really funny. That's when I checked the wrapper and was prompted to start this thread. :-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                                                                  I'm also sort of fascinated that there's enough expired food that this trend keeps continuing....where does all this stuff come from, why is there SO MUCH of it, and why does it hang out in the pantry for so long?

                                                                                                                                                  yes, I've found things hiding at the back of the pantry that have passed their sell-by....but it's pretty rare, actually!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                    Lol!!! I agree. Is he cleaning out a bomb shelter or something?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                      the only thing I can figure is that his wife goes apeshit every time she goes to TJ Maxx or Ross, and brings home boatloads of stuff that she bought on clearance, but she doesn't actually cook, so it just sits there and collects dust in the pantry

                                                                                                                                                      Bossman freaks out and cleans out the pantry....he doesn't want to toss it, because, well, that shit costs MONEY, but his wife insists on buying all this crap, and she just hasn't been quite right since that incident with the Pomeranian and the cheese grater..

                                                                                                                                                      ....so, tired of having the struggle with his wallet about what to do with it, he decides to be the magnanimous benefactor -- he knows UTGal cooks and she talks about liking food -- so YEAH!!! Let's give all this shit to HER! She'll use it!

                                                                                                                                                      (filed under "Give it to Mikey")

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                        Pomeranian--Ha!

                                                                                                                                        2. You guys have it all wrong, he's sending you a message like the fish in The Godfather. He's telling you " you may be past your prime, but I'd still tap that". It's a compliment.

                                                                                                                                          1. It's the first of the month, UTgal -- what's this month's magnanimous donation?

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                              Nothing so far! Can you believe it? LOL

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for thinking of me. :-D If I get goods in July I'll post.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                                                                LOl -- maybe he reads CH. (it's that fascinated horror/horrified fascination thing in me....)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  "LOl -- maybe he reads CH."

                                                                                                                                                  I was just thinking the exact same thing - lol!!!!

                                                                                                                                            2. The very first thing that I would do is read this THREAD: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564054

                                                                                                                                              Do not do it. Decline, or shovel it into the trash.

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                              1. what kind of a nucklewad do you work for? that is weird.
                                                                                                                                                have you asked him what's up with the expired "gifts"?
                                                                                                                                                "Dear Mr. Hoznedgroomer
                                                                                                                                                I think it's time you consider shopping at a retailer or grocer that regularly checks the dates on their products. I'm sure you're not aware of this issue but each item you've given me is outdated. You see Mr. Hoznedgroomer, I am a bit fanatical about checking dates on food items, because if they're beyond date they instantly fly from my hands into the round file."

                                                                                                                                                1. I think it's a passive-aggressive thing. My mom gives my husband and myself expired food all the time, as she buys a lot of groceries but eats out 90% of the time. Sometimes it's moldy perishables. She is wealthy and not senile. We just see it as a nuisance that fills up the trash too fast.