Monday, May 26, 2014

Returning empties. Grr.

Let's start by saying that my dad is an all around great guy.
But he has this thing, this "addiction", you could call it, and it's a bit maddening.
It could be worse.
It's not smoking after all.
It's Pepsi.
It's kind of a security thing. He always has a bottle with him when out and about and goes through about a bottle a day.

We're clearing out the "not-garage" and there are five bags of empties - or there were - mostly pepsi bottles.
The whole cleaning-out-the-not-garage is overwhelming. There is an awesome wooden chair we've had since forever ago, a kite, some camp chairs, various summer outdoor toys, some tools, etc ... and also these five bags.
I can do the five bags.
That would be huge.
So I load up the bottles into the back of the van.
My dad had suggested I bring them to the local redemption outfit in conjunction with driving Child F. to preschool.
We have no restaurant, grocery store, or bank - but we have a redemption center.

So on Monday I pick up Child F. and go a little out of our way on the way home to drop off the empties.
Only to find that the redemption place isn't opened on Mondays.
It's a small squat building painted red with a laundromat attached. It's dwarfed by the neighboring Methodist Church.

Grumble grumble.

On Tuesday I arrived with Child F. and found the front door unlocked. There were overpriced dusty bags of chips and a carpet that let's just say I was thankful to be wearing shoes. There was no one at the register, but I could see a small women at the back organizing many many bags of bottles.

"Hi," I began, "I have empties - where should I bring them?"
"How many bags do you have?" she asked.
"I'm not sure," I replied.
She looked around at the small mounds of bags surrounding her on the concrete floor and rough plywood tables.
"They have to be in clear bags," she informed me, "Are they in clear bags?"
"I don't know," I said, "I can check."
"And if there's glass, they can't be in the bag - they have to be in a box."
"Oh," I said, feeling less than confident about this transaction.
"Why don't you see how many bags you have and if they are clear," she suggested. "You can bring them to this door and I'll get you cardboard boxes to put your glass in."
"Okay," I replied, feeling hopeful.
In the van I discovered that there were 5 bags to be precise, white garbage bags with a mix of plastic and glass bottles.
I returned through the front door and reported my findings. After glancing at the bags in the store I said: "They aren't clear bags, they are like those ones," I pointed to be clear.
"Oh, as long as I can see through them, that's fine," she assured me. Phew. "How many bottles are there?" she asked.
"I don't know," I said, surprised at the expectation that I should know this information.
The woman looked uncertainly again around the room. "Well, I can't get to them right now ... maybe tomorrow morning. Leave your name and number and I can call you when I'm ready," she said.
"Okay, thanks," I responding, feeling certain that this was was not worth it.

It's impossible to fit all I need to fit into the van with the children when I need to bring them to their weekly visit - the only time I would be near another return-your-bottles-here option (a grocery store?). But I have a foster-training I need to go to with enough time between the visit and training to drop the girls off and switch cars. So I transfer all of the bags to the other car.

After a quick drop off of kids (one of whom was pretty sick, another one almost-sick, and all of the kids begging me not to leave (Del's exact words were: "you stay with us more, so tell them Daddy has to go instead of you!")) I made it to the training only 5 minutes late. Not bad. And there's free pizza. Yay.

The training ends, I talk to all the people who will let me (adult interaction is limited at times, and these are those times ;) )
I noticed that Target had a return station, so I try there first. It's closed. Grr.

Price Chopper is a short distance away and open 24 hours. So I head there. I lug the first two bags in and begin inserting the bottles. All the lids need to be off, a sign informs me. The bottles are all capped. I dutifully remove every cap, burning my hand with the friction. After a dozen, I give up on following the rules and just place them gently in the receptacle (you can't throw them, the machine informs me, even when I want to argue and say that I didn't throw!). I remember that I've seen others use a cart to move their many empties and I know I can only carry two bags at once and still have three more to go.
I find an empty cart and fill it with my remaining bags and ramp up the sketchy. I choose a different machine, hoping it's more tolerant of my throwing placing gently. I'm feeling slightly embarrassed realizing that it's not going to look so good if one of farm customers sees me returning five bajillion soda bottles!
But it's late, and the store is empty, more or less.
Most people probably choose to frequent the grocery store during daylight hours, at least this time of year.
Finally, finally all the bottles the machine will accept (they are ornery, these machines!) have been swallowed up by the machine. I print my receipt. Between the glass bottles and plastic ones (they have to go in different machines) and my two-trips-to-the-receptacles, I have five receipts. I do some quick addition and the grand total is $9.70.
It costs us approximately $8/round trip to go into town - town where the grocery stores, banks, and restaurants are.
One day, a long time ago, say 20 years ago, that was a decent amount of money. In the future, I will inform my father that his soda habit is going to cost him an extra .5/bottle. It's worth it to me to have the convenience of tossing the empty in the recycling bin at our house!
But I'm here, so I might as well bring the receipts to the service desk.
The lights behind the service desk are off.
I see the hours sign.
The service desk is not opened 24hours.
It's a warm dark night and it's time to go home.

p.s. In an ideal world I'm going to discover a beverage recipe that replaces my dad's desire for Pepsi. If I can find the time. And maybe maybe if I put it in a Pepsi bottle, that will help. Because Coke doesn't do it. He's specific.
In case you're interested, here's the first recipe I want to try.

p.p.s. I'm trying to blog, honestly. This post took no less than 4 days of me writing here and there. Busy life, you bet!

1 comment:

Her wonderful Dad said...

First off it's 'diet' not regular pepsi and I've been doing this for 35 years so it's probably not going to stop. And it's usually takes me two days to finish a bottle, sometimes three. And I found we can donate them to the boy scouts down at the side door to the Sunoco. And I'm sorry but the blog was fun. :-)