1.06.2013

Dented Cans

Grocery shopping, circa 1970
When I was a child, all our canned food came from dented cans. I know that sounds strange, not to mention dangerous, but that was how my father shopped. 

My father did much of the grocery shopping until the day he died. When my mother was faced with actually going into a grocery store after my father's passing, she had no idea where to find anything.

Although they no longer do this, it used to be that the grocery stores would take a box and fill it with dented cans and cans that had lost their labels. This was more common in the 1960's and 1970's, when labels were not as reliably glued in place as they are now.

They would wrap the box in clear plastic, and give it a very low price. They could then sell off their unmarketable inventory. My father used to come home with these boxes of dented and mystery cans all the time. You never knew what you might end up eating on any given day. Anything - from corn to cat food - could be hidden in those cans. Either my father snuck a hammer into that store, or they had some really careless stock boys.

We all lived through the dented can years, despite the questionable odds. I guess for my parents, that was living on the edge.
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