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A Wasted-But-Less-Wasteful House Party

"More crunk, less plastic."
2021-12-18 12:00:00
Photos: Brandon McGhee

Greetings humans! My name is Riley The Sustainability Cat, and I’m here today to talk to you about my favorite thing in the world: house parties.

But if we don’t make conscious decisions at the grocery store, a house party can quickly turn into exercise in wastefulness. So today, let’s visit one of my favorite places, the supermarket, to see how we can throw a party with less garbage. I’m looking for delicious goods that don’t contain excess plastic and packaging. I’m looking for products that keep working long after the house party.

Supply chain? More like supply gang! Grab your shopping bag and get on the public transportation to Sam’s Club and let’s see what we find.

Ok, first things first - we’re going to need some proper tableware – not the paper or plastic kind. Here’s a pack of 16 for about 200rmb. Maybe pick up some reusable chopsticks while you’re at it?

And I bet you don’t have enough glasses in your house, do you? Luckily we can get eight of these for 60rmb. Not bad. I like to write my friends’ names on the cups with a Sharpie (which you can also get at Sam’s) for better hygiene and a personal touch.   

My grandpa Lotion The Moisturizing Cat always used to say, a clean party is a good party, and I strongly agree! I always leave these little bottles of hand sanitizer all around the house to subtly encourage my friends to keep it clean.

Alright I think we’re ready to have the party, yes? Let’s have some appetizers.

The first appetizer I always make for my guests is guacamole. And at 38.8rmb for a bag of six, guacamole will be in abundance at Riley’s house this year.

There’s no chip shortage over here!  

Sometimes I like to upgrade my guacamole and chips to nachos. I just get a big bag of fine cheese and go wild.

That guacamole goes fast, so I always have a backup. This is just an example of the many snacks at Sam’s, but I chose this one specifically because it’s just one big bag of snacks – not like those big bags that actually contain 20 small bags. That’s deceiving! Wasteful!

Now that our appetizers are sorted, we’re ready to cook some main dishes. I don’t care what you’re making – you’re going to need butter. 500g for 35.8rmb? Yes.

For example, you may want some butter and lemons to cook up one of my favorite dishes: king crab. 498rmb for the set.

And you’ll definitely want some butter for these steaks.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But Riley, beef is one of the least sustainable meats you can consume.” And to that I would say, I am a cat – I simply cannot survive on a plant-based diet. I’d like to. Just not possible yet. And when I do eat beef, I go for these these USDA Prime steaks.

Do you like to look uncouth? I know I don’t. And that is why we should never go to a house party empty-handed. And what better gift to bring than a whole leg of ham. Where I’m from, we used to have a tradition of having party guests put on a blindfold and try to carve a ham leg, but that is no longer socially acceptable. This also makes a wonderful Secret Santa gift!

Very important! It’s like my cousin Licorice the Bianmi Cat always says, you simply must make sure your guests don’t get constipated, so you should always offer them plenty of fruits and vegetables. The more colors the better. Sam’s has a ton of fresh fruit and produce like these sweet oranges from Gansu. I also sampled the bok choy and mushrooms. Tasty!  

When you come to Riley’s house, you better leave room for dessert. Making pie crusts is simply too tiresome, so I prefer to buy desserts and tell my guests that I made them. This year, I’m going with a 1.8 kilogram butter apple pie for 119rmb.

And I’m simply enamored with Sam’s new choco and vanilla cream puffs.


Boy, all of these desserts and butter are making me thirsty. And we all need to stay hydrated. Luckily, Riley’s pantry is full of these 24-packs of soda water for 81.1rmb.

But that’s not the only beverage in Riley’s pantry! Don’t you hate it when house parties only have wine and spirits, and you just want a cold can of beer? Luckily I exchanged 149rmb for a 24 pack of Chang tall-friends, weighing in at 500ml and 5%. That’s just 6.2rmb a can. Each sip feels like a little trip to Thailand, without all the skint whites.

Now you may want something bubbly for midnight. Some may prefer Ace Of Spades, but honestly I can’t tell the difference! Just 68rmb for a bottle.

“Siri, play ‘Careless Whisper’ by George Michael”.

Right, Riley likes a bit of scotch. Honestly, I choose this one because there is a cat on the bottle, and yes, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Smooth and endlessly satisfying, like a Tevin Campbell song. Some of the finest scotch I’ve tasted, at about 337rmb a bottle.

But for sheer volume and value, this one takes the prize for Riley’s Super Value Award 2021. Real big boy: a 1.75 litre bottle of Jack for 258.30rmb. Congratulations, Jack!

Of course, every house party must have some booze-free beverages too. I’m not terribly familiar with NFCs to be honest, but they are very popular these days and this looks like a fine choice at 19.8rmb for two liters.

And finally, one more tip! Stock up on these six packs of coconut water. Now only do they do wonders for my dreadful hangovers, but they make an excellent base for a chicken coconut hotpot!

Well friends, I believe we did quite well at the supermarket this year. Quite well indeed. Riley cares about you, so remember – don’t ride your scooter to the house party! Don’t let your friends ride their scooters home drunk! Better yet, just sell your scooter and give your money to Riley. And you know what else? Please stop with all the hard techno – you’re hurting Riley’s ears. It’s good to play some R&B sometimes. Keep your hands clean, use common chopsticks, and leave some gum around the house in the interest of fresh breath. And please, stop trying to sell last year’s MacBook Pro for this year’s price like we don’t know the difference between an Intel chip and an M1 Pro. Do you take Riley for a fool? Finally, I wish you a wonderful house party and holiday season!  


Peace & Love,

Riley The Sustainability Cat


Find all of Sam's Club's locations in Shanghai here.