Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 14 - Fear and the Trash

Those of you who know me know that I'm pretty bold and up for a good debate most of the time.  So those of you who are light-hearted, this blog might not be for you.  This is all about those coke reward points we throw in the trash or in the recycling bin.  It all started when my son came to live with me again at the age of nineteen when our foreign exchange students were here.  We were talking with him about how we had taken Felipe and Jula to Universal Studios and Disney.  He had been there when he was younger so I didn't think this would make him feel like we were doing more for our exchange students than we did for him.  He said, "Mom, but I wasn't tall enough to ride all the rides!"  Seems funny when you are looking up to your 6' 3'' son and he's telling you he wasn't tall enough seven years ago!

I then came up with a clever plan to start saving Coca-Cola reward points because I could cash in 1000 points and get him a free ticket to Universal Studios.  You with me so far?  Ok, it started with receiving the caps from friends and family, then progressed to picking them up off the ground at school, then pulling along side of the road to pick them off the highway, then to digging through the trash on campus, and finally to a weekly perusing of the neighbors recycle bins on recycle day.  Anyone who collects these reward points knows that you can only enter 120 points per week.  So in order for me to get the 1000 points it took over 2 months worth of collecting and entering the codes.  Each cap is worth three points so I needed a minimum of forty caps a week to maximize the effort.

For six months, I rode my bicycle at 7 AM in the morning and expanded my route to ensure my maximum 120 points and learned quite a bit about my neighbors.  If nobody is home, I stop, unscrew the caps, place them in my plastic bag and be on with my business.  If somebody is outside, I stop and ask them if it is OK to take them and most of the time they say no problem.  I have obtained enough points for my sons ticket and I still collect the reward points.  First because it is great exercise in the morning to ride the 4 mile route and secondly because I have since discovered that I could do the right thing and turn these points into donations to various non-profit groups.

I've also discovered that me doing the right thing isn't always appreciated by my neighbors. Now remember I had been doing this for six months and nobody knew, it wasn't until recently that anyone had been outside. Since I have shared my story with my neighbors at different points along the route, this is what has happened: 1) Some neighbors who used to use the recycle bin, started putting them in white trash bags inside the recycle bin, 2) Some neighbors stopped putting the coke bottles in the bins and took them to work so that I couldn't get them. 3) Some neighbors took the caps off  and threw them into the trash.  4) Some neighbors started drinking Pepsi after I talked with them. (you can't make this stuff up) 5) Some neighbors starting putting their trash in black garbage bags. 6) Some neighbors have power struggles over who wears the pants in the family and took it out on me. 

Let me explain the last one....I stopped at one of my neighbors and asked the husband if I could take his coke reward points every week.  He said yes and to make sure the papers were put back in the bin if they fell out when I lifted them to get the points.  No problem I responded.  The next week I went back and the wife was waiting for me.  She had the door open and was just sitting there. I smiled and waved and said your husband said I could have your coke reward points to which she SCREAMED at me, "I WILL NOT HAVE YOU LOOKING THROUGH MY TRASH."  I calmly assured her I wasn't looking through her trash and that I was collecting these for a non-profit agency.  She again SCREAMED at me, "I don't care what you are using them for."  I pleaded with her, I asked your husband already and he said it would be no problem.  She started coming at me and raising her hand and SCREAMED, "I OVERRULED HIM!"  Well God Save the Queen but we're not in Britain  (I was afraid to tell with my head!)

I thought to myself, what could she possibly have in her recycling bin that she would be afraid for me to see?  Or for that matter, what does she have in her trash?  Trash is public domain so if we don't want anyone going through our trash and fear what would happen if they would, then we shouldn't be putting it in our trash to begin with.  That is what shredders are for. So I did the right thing and left empty-handed and wrote her a note of apology emphasizing she was so ANGRY and what ever I did to make her so ANGRY, I was sorry for and this wasn't my intent.  I explained that I wasn't digging through her trash as trash day is Monday and I don't even go by her house on Monday.

Here's the other thing I don't get, what is the big deal?  Trash is going to be put in a landfill anyway. We put things out in the trash early so that if someone does want them, they can get them.  I hate to fill up the landfill with items that can be recycled.  The coke rewards aren't going to be used if they are recycled so I thought I was doing a good thing.  The irony is that Coca-Cola's motto is Have a coke and a smile.  I just wondered has she really been drinking the coke?  She sure wasn't smiling.

Above is a photo of a coke bottle made from RECYCLED computer motherboards.  We call it the MOBO Coke.  Even Coca-Cola isn't afraid to recycle!

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