Ask Erin: Falling produce and recruiting volunteers | Kitsap Week

Ask Erin - Richard Walker
Ask Erin
— image credit: Richard Walker

Dear Erin,

I have a question —it’s not the most significant thing— but it happened to me the other day and I was just wondering what to do.

I was at the grocery store buying an onion.  When I picked up one onion, another fell to the ground.  (This can also happen with apples, oranges, green beans, what have you.) I didn’t want the one that fell to the ground because it was much larger than what I was looking for.

Should I have bought the one that fell to the ground?  Left it on the ground for the produce folks to take care of?  Returned it to its place with the other onions?

-- Puzzled in Produce

Dear Puzzled,

I took your question straight to the produce experts at Central Market.

I spoke with DJ Carpenter who has been a produce clerk for 12 years. He said, if you are able to, let a produce clerk know. Depending on the item, a fall from the ground could damage the fruit or vegetable. You are not obligated to purchase the item.

If you are shopping during an off-time and there are no workers in sight, Carpenter said to place the fallen produce on a different display. For example, stack a dropped apple in the onion display. This will alert the produce folks that something was amiss.

Carpenter also said customers should always feel comfortable returning produce that isn’t up to standards.

And as a reminder, washing your produce is always a good idea. You never know who handled the broccoli before you.

*      *      *

Dear Erin,

I’m in a neighborhood of many homes with a homeowners association. It seems like the same people are volunteering for positions on the board.

How can we encourage new residents to join the board? Even getting long-time residents to participate is difficult. They like to complain, but don’t step up to help.

We should all really take turns as the positions are volunteer-based.

Any suggestions?

-- Neighborly in North Kitsap

Dear Neighborly,

It often seems like the same 20 percent of the people do all the work. Some people are born to dig in and help out, while others are more comfortable watching from the sidelines.

Current board members should have a plan for recruiting. Who could be next in line? Draw up a list of potential neighbors and write down their strengths. For example, Holly McGreenthumb is an excellent gardener. Pencil her in for the grounds committee. Danny Disco throws great parties, write him down for the social committee. And Penny Nickel, who balances her checkbook to the exact cent, would be an excellent treasurer.

Once your list is complete, divvy it up and get to asking. Make sure you all use positive words to describe the position. People are usually flattered to be asked, especially when they are complemented on their skills.

*      *      *


Last week’s column addressed bringing a small token gift when attending a dinner party. A reader wrote in with a question regarding when to cease thanking.

Dear Erin,

When do thank you notes stop?  If you do a favor for someone and they give you a gift or flowers to thank you, are you required to thank them for the thank you gift?

-- Obligated in Olalla

Dear Obligated,

Don’t fall into the thank you cycle, otherwise it will never end. If you send a thank you note for the flowers, will you expect a thank you note in return for thanking you for thanking them for thanking you? A nice verbal “Thank you so much for the gorgeous flowers” is plenty and leave it at that.

— Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo 98370 or email Questions can range from advice to practical issues.


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