Drifting Away: A Sailing Story

The new 'survival' game: Urban Foraging

I ran across two news articles this week that used a new term to me: "urban foraging." Let's take a look at what they are talking about.

Steal this Continental breakfast: The Urban Forager's Guide, Vol. 1
"Times are tough, so many people are searching for hotels with free continental breakfasts.Problem is, some of those eating aren't guests, says Hampton Inn manager front desk clerk Alfonso Tobenas. That's right. Folks walk into tourist hotels and pose as guests to gain access to morning chow. Who would do such a thing? Lots of people, according to local hotel insiders. "It is what it is, bro, times are tough and they're hungry," Tobenas says. "They're just trying to beat the system and save a buck. The first time you're going to get away with it, the second and third time I'm going to ask you to leave. Tobenas says some people even regularly rotate hotels for their free breakfasts, but he recognizes their faces after a while. When he spots them, he lets them eat free-of-charge so they let their guard down. Then he confronts them and asks for their room number. At that moment, they realize they've been found out and generally leave without incident."

Hey! Urban Foraging is like, so five minutes ago. Now it's CREATIVE Urban Foraging

Woman Uses Dating Site to Get Free Meals
"A New York woman is being scrutinized and praised after people learned that she used a dating website to procure $1,200 a month in free meals. According to Business Insider, 23-year-old Jessica Sporty was deep in debt. Sporty found it difficult to live on her $45,000 annual salary after spending nearly $1,500 a month in rent, paying her credit card bill, and buying food. So she signed up for Match.com and was quickly going on five dates a week. Sporty even created a spreadsheet with detailed information on each of her dates, limiting each guy to a maximum of five. Sporty was taken to high-end New York restaurants, and one of her dates even bought her a $200 bottle of champagne."

The dishonest woman was praised? In the first article, it went on to give tips for how to better scavenge for food at some of the smaller hotels, actually giving tips on how to steal the breakfast more efficiently. In the title to the essay I put 'survival' in quotes because the woman had an income of $45,000/year, a roof over her head and clothes to wear. Therefore her stealing isn't a means survival but simply a sinful way to satisfy her own desires for fancy food.

Back in the 80s it was called dumpster diving but Urban Foraging has a gentrified ring to it and that is the term being used now. But there is a difference between the 80s and 90s dumpster diving and today's urban foraging. Back in the day, dumpster divers did so usually because they were making a behavioral statement that our consumer culture threw out too many goods that were usable, even food. They "dove" to retrieve what was good but destined for the landfill and considered themselves part of a Green Movement. Even the impoverished who dove to either supplement their home or to survive, stayed within ethical boundaries.

In that time, dumpster divers used to scavenge for what was obviously thrown out. Today's urban foragers steal. However, the shocking thing about both those articles is the response: praise and kudos for the thieves.

Isaiah 5:20 says "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" As the Geneva Bible Study guide succinctly puts it, Woe to those "Who are not ashamed of sin, nor care for honesty but are grown to a desperate impiety." They prefer their own reasons to Godly commands. For those who are lost to God by reason of their rebellion and rejection of Jesus, this behavior is to be expected, sadly. Paul wrote;

"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)

But hopefully the people acting this way are not Christians, because we are called to be holy and act righteously. Peter wrote,

"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." (1 Peter 2:11-12)