Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rules and regulations

Y'all know the rules, we don't fuck with fools man - Method Man, "Rules"

So, I'd like to talk about rules for a bit. I am approaching this as an experiment after all, and without rules any experiment is doomed to failure.

If you've read through the old blog, you'll see that at one point, I was tortured as to what to do regarding "free food".  If you live and work in certain environments, free food is remarkably easy to come by. At my evening job, for example, it's not uncommon to find free sodas, free catering leftovers, things of that nature just lying around - and I don't mean half-eaten food or anything a normal person would find gross, I mean full meals that are waiting in a refrigerator for someone to eat them. In another, more social sense, free food is even easier to come by - most reasonable people, if they are able, will occasionally treat a "down on their luck" friend to a meal out somewhere. The main problem with this is that it obviously would skew my meal budget to an average of more than three dollars a day, even if I weren't the one spending the money. Take, for example,  a recent trip to a seafood restaurant with a friend, who'd graciously decided to take me out in response to NASA's most recent shuttle launch failing to launch. (I am an enormous nerd and have been waiting my entire life to see a shuttle launch "up close", and every time I've actually traveled to Titusville to watch one, it's failed to launch. Such is life.)

I ordered one of the average-priced entrees, split an appetizer with my friend and got a margarita. Glancing at the menu for the restaurant, I discover that I spent around thirty-seven dollars including my share of the appetizer. Thirty-seven dollars, for one meal! That's twelve days worth of food for someone living on a three dollar a day budget, wasted over the course of about an hour. (To make matters worse, I didn't even enjoy the meal.) Obviously, accepting free food like this would skew the average well above the accepted daily average.

But herein lies the conundrum - if someone actually on that budget were to be presented with a nice meal by a friend, would they accept it? Four years ago, I decided the answer was "yes", and I'm standing by that now. If someone offers me a free meal out, I'll take it, no questions asked. But I won't seek such things out. I won't attend functions to get free food unless I'd already be there. But if a meeting happens at work and there are doughnuts, screw it. Everyone else, regardless of budget, is eating them. I don't want to draw attention to what I'm doing, which brings me to my next point:

No one I interact with on a daily basis will know about the experiment. When people know you're doing something like this, something that requires self-control or a deviation from the norm, there's a segment of the population that wants to screw with you. There's also the idea derived from quantum mechanics that observing an experiment changes it - while that's not strictly applicable in this case, I don't want the people around me mentally tabulating what my lunch cost.

So, to sum up:
  • If I'm offered free food, I'll take it. I won't seek it out, I won't ask for it, but if it occurs naturally in a situation, I'll accept it to avoid drawing attention to what I'm doing.
  • I will not tell anyone I see on a daily basis that I'm doing this. While some of my blog readers know me "in real life", I don't see these people that frequently, and so they won't be tempted to change their attitude towards me and food. I wouldn't want to skew the results, after all.


VenomForMasses said...

hehe, so you sometimes travel to Houston to see a shuttle launch and it fails on ya every time?! lol, I would be like fml!!! :)

kxxthanxx said...

great idea for a blog, love it!

Alaina said...

I think this is a reasonable policy. It would be unrealistic for someone on a limited budget to not accept free food, unless they were extremely proud.

brn said...

great blog! followed ;)

3ggplant said...

Only $3 a day on food?! What do you eat??? Do you go for fruit or can you grow your own stuff? You must ATTACK dollar menus... Which would probably be more unhealthy. But this is a valiant effort!