I don't know about you, but for advice on matters of high finance, I turn daily to Money Central on msn.com. As the self-effacing folks at this site so humbly put it, they "connect you with some of the best content from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Check back regularly." Thanks--I will!
The "Smart Spending" blog is a godsend in "today's world of rising costs and shrinking paychecks," when more and more people are turning to dumpster-diving to stretch their food budgets. Sort of a combination of Hamburger Helper and an obstacle course.
What? You haven't tried crawling through dumpsters to find discarded home furnishings, food stuffs and cutting edge clothing? What are you--some kind of snob?
According to Money Central, "dumpster diving is not only socially acceptable, a code of etiquette has developed" so that one need never fear embarrassment as one climbs into a colorful front-loading Waste Products International model along with a party of four--Emily Post for the Gabby Hayes-look alike set.
Archaic copyright laws prohibit me from reproducing this handbook of manners in its entirety, so an abridged version containing only the most important rules to observe when dumpster-diving appears below:
When in doubt, use the outermost utensil. How does one distinguish between the many items of fine cutlery arrayed around a dumpster's edge? Use this simple test. If you've already used your grapefruit spoon and your shrimp fork, use the utensil next closest to the discarded styrofoam pork fried rice container in the dumpster's center that you wish to eat from.
Boy-girl-boy-girl seating. When members of the opposite sex are arrayed around a dumpster, it is customary for the genders to alternate, unless a different arrangement has been agreed upon in advance. Thus, for example, under "Italian seating" rules, the men may congregate at one end for half-eaten chicken wings from T.G.I. Friday's, while the women sample rotten lettuce from the salad bar at Pizza Hut.
Avoid discussion of religion and politics. How many lovely dinner parties have ended in discord because one individual insists upon pressing his or her political or religious views upon others? "It is best to keep one's views about an election to one's self, and confine one's self to a bland discussion of how 'interesting' the campaign has been," says etiquette expert Rolando de Nehemi. "The mention of world leaders' names often touches off a psychotic episode among fellow dumpster divers."
Food comes out the way it goes in. If one encounters a piece of gristle in a meat dish, politely cover the mouth with a McDonald's napkin and gently expectorate the offending morsel into the same. "There is nothing so disgusting as seeing someone spit out food while you are eating," says Sarah Louise Chace of Miss Finch's Finishing School in suburban Ladue, Missouri. "Whenever this occurs in the warm atmosphere of a commercial dumpster or other large-scale trash receptacle, I gently chide my fellow diner by saying 'What's the idea of hocking a loogie, you bum you?'"
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection "Take My Advice--I Wasn't Using it Anyway."