On Avoiding Bottles

When a baby is crying, the easiest thing in the world to do is to give him to his mother, because nothing pacifies a crying baby like a mother's breast.

True, as we said before, babies cry for reasons other than hunger — gassiness and wetness — but in my mind those are secondary reasons. Gassiness, especially, because a good burp is only necessary after a good eating. Wetness of course follows (all in good time). But most of the time it seems to be about being hungry.

Which is to say, feeding Animal with a bottle produces more than a little anxiety because I basically, er, suck at it. OK, maybe I'm not that bad at it, but it's way easier to plop the Monkey on a breast than it is to get him to believe that this plastic thing is a decent substitute for the real thing.

That's not to say that it doesn't work, only that it takes a while. The first day Jen left the house, it took approximately five hours to get through one bottle. Clearly I fucked up something. The next couple of times it went better — a good tip is that it's wiser to anticipate hunger than to let it crash down — but it still takes a long time.

A trick to forestall red-faced wailing is to take Squeak out for a walk. Not sure why this works but it does: He can go hours without eating. The only thing is that you can't stop, lest he wakes up and remembers that he's hungry.

So when Jen had to go out for work today, I decided I'd buy myself some time and go for a walk — read: take back the recycling.

I could have taken the recycling back any old time, but the fact is that I don't, and I haven't. When we do go out for a walk, it's not so I can hang out in back of the Key Food, so I've been neglecting the cans and bottles for a while. It's getting to the point where it's starting to look like a frat house on Sunday morning around here. So being that Jen was away, I figured I could take the baby out for a stroll . . . along with 25 pounds of cans and bottles to return.

Taking bottles back to the store is probably my most hated domestic activity. This is for several reasons.

One, the Key Food machines aren't programmed correctly, so many of the cans and bottles that they sell are often rejected. If they are rejected, you have to take them to the customer service counter, where they insist that they are only allowed to take back 20 cans or bottles at the desk. This is bullshit — the bottle law says stores have to take back cans and bottles of products they sell. They'll tell you to come back tomorrow, like this is your job or something. Not a big deal, just tell them to call the manager over and they'll take back the bottles or cans.

Two, because the Key Food machines aren't programmed correctly, it takes twice as long for the machines to accept your bottles. Not a big deal if you have 12 cans to return, but a pain in the ass if you're stuck behind a bottle collector who is unloading a giant trash bag.

Three, it's disgusting to save your cans and bottles, drag them back to the store and hand feed them into a nasty machine. We're better than this.

Now you may be wondering why I would go to great lengths to return cans and bottles. After all, it's only five cents a can — it's just another 30 cents on a six pack, which you're already spending upward of ten dollars on (if you drink good beer). It's because of two things: One, I don't like can collectors sifting through our trash — and they will — they'll walk up to your door and dig through your trash can. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I fucking hate this. But the thing is that I could perhaps learn to accept it if it weren't for the fact that the people who gain the most from a bottle deposit aren't the ones digging through the neighbor's trash.

That said, it used to be worse. Until 2009, unclaimed bottle deposits in New York didn't go to the state or the store but rather the bottlers themselves. And when so many people don't have the time or inclination to take nasty-ass cans and bottles back to a store that makes it difficult to return cans and bottles, the bottling industry makes a ton of money from bottle deposits. And you know what? Fuck those guys. Fuck them hard. They don't deserve more money. Grrrr.

After 2009, the State forced the bottlers to give 80 percent of the unclaimed deposits to the State. On the one hand, I'd much rather the State have the money than the bottlers. On the other hand, I don't want to give five cents for each beer I drink to the State. So fuck those guys, too.

Which is why I insist on taking cans and bottles back to the store, even though it's a total pain in the ass and even though I'm probably losing money in lost time.

And hey, shitbird, don't try to argue that bottle deposits are somehow better for the environment, because I actually like recycling. And that's convenient especially because we're already required by law to recycle — and lord knows the Department of Sanitation likes to give tickets to people who can't be bothered to sort their garbage. So if we're required to recycle and curbside recycling is so easy, why are we still taking cans and bottles back to the store (don't get me started on plastic)?

John Catsimatidis — who you might know from Gristedes — wrote an excellent op-ed about this back in 2006.

Which is to say, perhaps you saw me earlier today with a child hanging on to my chest and me lugging a large blue IKEA bag with 102 cans and bottles to the rear of the Key Food. And perhaps you looked at the cans of Coors popping out the top and shook your head after you walked by: "That poor child." Well, if we were free of this ridiculous bottle law, I could drink beer in peace and not have you judge me as I dragged my hungry, probably overtired child to the Key Food with 35 pounds of returns.

Of course I was dying to play the baby card. I was dying for a can collector to be there at the machine in the middle of unloading a giant plastic bag of returns and see me walk up with a baby and gesture to me to please cut in front of him. But there wasn't anyone there. There were only a couple of out-of-order machines.

Can Return Machine

No problem, I'd get to play the baby card again with the people at the customer service counter. So perhaps you saw me in the Key Food, waiting for the man behind the customer service desk to find out from the manager if it was OK to accept 41 bottles because the bottle machine was out of order. It was, though I'd have to use the can machine for the cans. "OK," I said cheerfully, which I meant to mean "Don't you see this baby I'm carrying?"

So maybe you saw me out behind the Key Food again, waiting for the can machine — whose "Error — Call Staff!" warning features an improbable cartoon of nice looking lady talking to a helpful looking lady — to be restarted because apparently someone tried to slip in a counterfeit can of some sort.

Can Return Machine

And maybe you heard my baby boy start to cry because I'd been standing around too long.

And perhaps you thought, "That poor child."

Well, you're right. It's not his fault. It's the fucking bottling industry. And fucking Governor Paterson. And the do-nothing-piece-of-shit-worthless legislature that actually expanded the bottle law back in 2009.

Simply put, it is because of them that this child must go without a bottle.

And because mean old daddy ran out of Coors and had to buy another 18-pack.

Posted: March 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Andy Rooney, The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , , ,