I Love My Wife but I Won’t Sort Grapes for Her

Yesterday, I noted that although my wife and I will do just about anything for each other, my wife is not willing to buy my lottery tickets for me. I also have an errand that I cannot bring myself to perform for my wife. When I am in the grocery store, I won’t buy grapes.

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 goods. 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?

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7 Responses to I Love My Wife but I Won’t Sort Grapes for Her

  1. Ann says:

    LOL You definitely should not feel guilty breaking open a package of grapes and only taking what you want! Until a handful of years ago, grapes were piled up and you picked out your own bunches in the quantity you wanted. Although removing single grapes (unless their rotten) may feel strange, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with picking out/breaking off the bunches you want… just like the bananas.

    I happen to love cabbage and refuse to pay for any wilted, ugly, aged outside leaves and break them off.

    I do have a problem cracking open a package of grape or cherry tomatoes, though I’ll thoroughly check them and not take a package if even one damaged little tomato is in there.

    Anything where the price is per package and not by the pound, I won’t open, but anything I pay by the pound for is subject to inspection, sorting and redistribution — fresh produce is too expensive to pay for something you can’t use!

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  3. KC says:

    I live alone and cannot eat an entire package of grapes before they go bad. I often take a bunch out of a bag to make it a reasonable portion for me. I never thought of removing single bad grapes before.

  4. Jo says:

    My problem with grapes is a little different. I like to taste one to see if it is sweet enough, however a bit nervous to do this for fear of getting accused of shoplifting. You probably think this is a joke, but I am from South Africa and certain shops would prosecute for that.

  5. Dr. Sardonic says:

    If you’re getting your fruit at Whole Foods or some similarly high-octane vendor, pick away, my friend, and bill the store for your trouble. Anywhere else: produce is priced “as is”. As it wilts, it’s moved down the food-chain (as it were) via urban produce cooperatives until it ends up in the low-rent fruit stand on the corner

  6. Anne says:

    I believe our local stores sell grapes by unit, not weight. I.e. they say “$1.99/pound” but you only have the option to buy a 2 pound clamshell at 3.98, and that will be the price you’re charged, no matter how many grapes you remove.

  7. Gail says:

    I hate the way they package grapes now. They sell them by the pound but put them in 2-3# batches in those bags. This has been going on for a couple years now where before you could pick up what you needed. I’m the only one that eats grapes and no way could I get through 2-3# before they go bad, so I break into the bags and remove what I want. One store does have a sign prohibiting this action although it says to get a produce person to help you if you need a smaller batch–I don’t have time for that nonsense, so I don’t buy grapes there. I too would like to taste test grapes as one grape will generally give you an idea is your batch tastes sweet or sour (ick) but I don’t go that far. Maybe I should get my stuff sorted by the produce guy and do a taste test.

    I’m getting tired of buying high priced produce and finding it is lousy when you get it home. I would love to be able to take a bite out of apples and peaches to be sure they are in good shape before buying but that isn’t an option, so I buy chocolate instead.

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