Jeannette Walls is sitting in a taxi thinking about her outfit when she notices her mom rooting through a dumpster. That's a total killjoy, so Jeannette decides to go home instead of to the party she was planning to attend.
At home, Jeannette feels guilty because she has a home to go to. Her mother does not.
However, Jeannette says she has tried to help Mom before, but Mom doesn't want her help.
Still, Jeannette feels guilty, so she invites Mom to lunch at a Chinese restaurant.
Mom dumps some duck sauce packets into her purse while waiting for her food. Hey, it's always important to have an emergency stash of duck sauce.
Mom tells Jeannette that it's Jeannette's values that are screwed up. She lives a wasteful life in a fancy apartment.
Mom isn't ashamed at all to be "recycling" (1.1.22) food from dumpsters.
But Jeannette is still embarrassed. "What am I supposed to tell people about my parents?" (1.1.25), she asks.
"Just tell the truth," Mom says. "That's simple enough" (1.1.26).