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Bottle Deposit Makes Life Shittier

Okay, for those of you living in states that don't have a bottle deposit law on the books, here's my advice: don't ever vote for one if it ever comes up.  Oh I know some of the arguments - it keeps trash off the highways, its eco-friendly and it somehow generates income for the state.  None of these arguments, including the ones I can't think of, are worth the niggling, every day hassle of collecting bottles in your house then carting them to some store to stand in a queue so you can feed a machine like the one above.  Mind you - this is a clean bottle return machine.  Usually they are covered with the syrupy spittle of thousands of old beer and pop bottles and if you look close you'll likely see a roach or two languidly mincing about lapping up said spittle and waiting to hitch a ride back with you to your house.  See that green button?  You have to push that to get your deposit chit after you've fed the machine all of your bottles. Usually this button is coated with congealed corn syrup and the bacteria from the fingers of nameless hundreds of people including that black toothed Meth-head you saw on the side of the road scrounging for cans during your drive to work.

They've had a bottle return law in Michigan since at least 1977 when I first moved here and in all that time I have never, ever seen a bottle return area in any store that was clean enough that you'd feel comfortable leaning against the wall, let alone feeding bottles and cans into a machine then having to touch the machine several times in order to get your chit, which you must take to another part of the store to return for cash. Never mind about the time it takes out of my life to return these things (fastest bottle deposit for 24 bottles I ever had was 15 minutes and I was running through the store), never mind that its a sanitation nightmare.  Never mind that the whole process makes Kafkaesque look like the height of rationality.  All of this is tolerable...or at least as tolerable as most of us are willing to put up with.  Ingrown toenail tolerable.  Its pain - but you can still walk and you can almost forget about it unless someone steps on your foot. 

The thing is....the thing that makes me.... that makes me want to spend some time throwing baby chicks into a wood chipper is when I haul a couple bags of cans and bottles down to my usual deposit place. The one that's at least moderately clean and bright. And find that half of my cans are rejected because "This brand is not sold at this store"   But they are!  There's a fucking stack of them right...over...there!  I can SEE them from this goddamned hellhole of a room!   But noone's told this machine that it's ok, so I either throw the $3 worth of cans away into non-recyclable trash receptacles OR I put the fuckers back into my bag and haul them BACK home. Keerist on a cracker!  I know, I know - I shouldn't let this sort of minor frustration get on top of me.  A person could develop a complex or something.  But shit!  Its been like this for decades here.  The system for returning deposits hasn't fundamentally changed since they replaced the human element in the system with these fucking machines which was about 20 years ago. 

So today I wind up with about a dozen tall-boy cans of Arnold Palmer (lemonade and tea) and Green Tea/guarana drink.  Both of which are the featured drink of the week as evidenced by the giant block of them standing just outside the door to the deposit room full of machines THAT WON'T ACCEPT THE EMPTIES WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK!  I'm so mad at this point that I know I can't speak coherently to a store employee or manager.  I decide to protest by placing my empties here and there within the display of shiny, new full cans. All the while I'm muttering to myself like a crazy person.  I curse Mother Nature and hopes she dies.  I curse the store and all its employees. There are people standing right next to me shopping for this stuff.  I just keep putting my cans into the display.  They think I'm mental.  And they would be right.  No one says anything about my gorilla re-stocking.  They leave me be and make no eye contact.  I travel home and stew about this for the rest of the afternoon until I calm down with a bottle of icy San Pellegrino mineral water while I watch a few episodes of "Party Down".  I chuck the finished bottle into my empty recycling bag that I absently walk around every day of my life until once a week when I have to haul it the store so I can have a machine reject the bottles because San Pellegrino isn't sold there even though its a "Beat the Heat" special all summer long.

And don't even get me fucking started on the slack jawed yokels that collect a couple thousand bottles in the back of their pickup like it was some sort of bottle deposit Christmas Club then roll into the deposit room with three or four carts full and proceed to tie up most of the machines for the better part of an hour cashing in their "fortune"....


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 7th, 2011 08:29 am (UTC)
I haven't encountered these things. My bottles (not many) just go in the same bin as other recyclables.

Reminds me a bit (less corn syrup LOL) of the Coinstar change counting machines. Makes you realize how dirty the change in your pocket is!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )