Thursday, July 10, 2008

Whole Fools

"Steve Williamson of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 said his union supports the city's goals but has concerns.

As customers try to stuff more into fewer bags, his members have to lift heavier loads. And if some shoppers bring unsanitary bags with them, clerks will have to touch them.

Safeway's speaker said she is concerned about the impact on people with limited income.

Reusable bags can be bothersome. We have a big supply of them, but too often I don't have one with me when I need it. (Which means buying more, thus the growing pile.)

Worse, I show up at PCC with Safeway bags in the trunk. Carrying a PCC bag into Safeway is no biggie, but the other way around is socially embarrassing. Someone might think I buy white bread and produce that isn't organic.

There's a Whole Foods near work. I'd sometimes pick up lunch there, so I bought one of their reusable bags, but I always leave the office without it, which means I can't buy lunch at Whole Foods. The upside is that I've saved a lot of money. There's always another side.

One speaker said that grocers concerned about low-income customers could give them reusable bags.

Another mentioned a market that keeps a supply of reusable bags on hand for people who've forgotten theirs.

Some folks noted grocery bags are a small part of the pollution problem, but several said doing something about them is the easy first step in a broader lifestyle change.

That's how I see it. The problems we have with food, pollution and energy are going to change the way we live, whether we are ready or not."
-- Jerry Large, hopefully not another total moron with a regular newspaper column, in the Seattle Times

Fine, Jerry - here's how I see it:

Man, you are being such a NewAge tool!!

You eat waaay over-priced lunches at a store that's legitimately earned the knick-name of "Whole Paycheck," while buying so many re-usable bags you have a "growing pile" at home, and even in your car.

Speaking of piles, like the people of France, you admit you can't avoid stepping in dog crap.

Your elitism shines through in your comment that you find it "socially embarrassing" to advertise Safeway at the PCC, but - oh! - you don't mind insulting low-income folks at Safeway at all. Doesn't that make you an A-hole?

I could go on (and on and on - and just about these few comments you've made) but, instead, I've got a few questions for you, Jerry:

Having packed a few bags in my day - and seen how environmentally-conscience shoppers are too self-centered, and careless, to merely maintain shopping carts - how do such hypocrites think they're going to "save the planet"?

Since the New York Times declared that recycling is "the most wasteful activity in modern America: a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources," why is anyone insisting that everyone do it? Aren't the environmentalists the one's leading us down the wrong road?

Since the food problem has arisen from the ass-backwards insistence we move to bio-fuels, hasn't it ever occurred to the environmentalists that they're wrong? Or, like the idea you could buy a cheaper healthy lunch, is that just too much for you to swallow? Since many people, like those above, have already warned you - in no uncertain terms - of the cost of this nonsense, isn't the real problem that you guys don't listen?

These self-appointed guardians who are insisting on my "broader lifestyle change" - who asked them to do me any favors? Ever heard of "Liberal Fascism," Jerry? The idea that in a free country, you self-appointed do-gooders (who, as pointed out in my last two examples, don't know what you're talking about) haven't earned the right to tell the rest of us what to do? Who do they think they are?

Think hard, Jerry: this can't all be right - and wrong - at the same time. What's wrong with this picture, man? I'll tell you: You've been sucked into the cult of NewAge.

Escape the cult, Jerry - I'm telling you, man:

You don't want to be caught with your pants down when it all comes apart,....

(And you can blame "Eric in Seattle" for the tip-off: I do!)


  1. I agree with some points: he's a tool for storing and buying more 'environmentally friendly' bags. I've bought my supply and I re-use them. It becomes second nature after a while.
    Customers bringing in grubby bags? Then wash them dear Henry, wash them. This has nothing to do with recycling or environmental consciousness and everything to do with good old-fashioned laziness; the same kind of laziness displayed by customers who do nothing about this. The best thing to do is have 5-10 bags, which should be enough to carry everything and rotate the clean ones.

    Don't make the checkout chick lift the heavy bag; do it yourself. Also simple.

    I use branded calico bags in other supermarkets. No problems. Someone in Coles scolded me for having the bag inside out so the logo was hidden but it wasn't intentional.

    Calico bags are great if you're walking any distance as you can hang them over your shoulder and they don't dig into your hands like plastic does.

    It's amazing how rationally you can deal with this if you don't always approach it from the old left-right us vs them dynamic.

    There's nothing wrong with thinking about what you consume, what you pack your stuff in, and so forth.
    I'd say the grubby bag carriers are not among the thinkers but just following along with whatever is in vogue. There's no reason to either use your own bags, or not use your own bags, just because idiots do so. If that was the case, we would be unable to do anything at all.

  2. Leave it to good ol' Berko to back up the asinine:

    When you eliminate bags, pack your own bags, etc., you're eliminating people's jobs. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to become any more of the shopping "experience" than the guy who picks out what he wants and pays for it, thank you very much. This idea that it's now becoming work for me to do - when they're the ones getting paid - is bullshit.

    I'm not buying their fucking bag just because they've put them uop for sale. Do I look stupid to you?

    Dealing "rationally" with the irrational is itself irrational, Berko.

    You've lost the plot, dude.

  3. Having a bag that's easier to carry groceries in is irrational?! Whose lost the plot. Fuck's sake.

    You can do what you want. Struggle with your plastic bags as they dig into your fingers and you can't carry shit any distance.

    They need your petrochemical dollar.

    I could have bought calico bags from community fetes. Would that have meant I was buying into the irrational? Just because you've decided that plastic bags are better. Because you get them free with your groceries isn't much of a what you'd call a real saving when you consider how long cotton and, yes, reinforced plastic lasts when you use it over. I get plastic bags and I use them in my bin. I'm not a massive didact about it.

    I'm just saying it's perfectly possible to do, and just because you've made this chasm-defying leap to equating someone who can use exactly what he needs with some broad mystic Left NewAge, doesn't mean that that is always the correct position or that others have inevitably lost the plot. In doing so, you're behaving in the same way as the 'Christian hater' in that you examine the worth of something not by its utility or intrinsic value but by who extols its virtues - hippies or right thinking dudes.

    If you close a plastic factory you lose jobs but as you yourself said, there are so many uses for oil and the end of our dependency is a long way off. Given the multitude of oil price hikes and spikes and the way this is going bat shit crazy at the bowser, it might be time to start thinking about diverting our use into those areas that need it most.

    I'm not a jobs at all cost man of either persuasion. I'm sure there was a move against the loss of jobs for farriers but we all got through. What we need to do is adapt in the best way possible. You're right. That doesn't mean we should be fearful and defeated by the future. But it does mean we are in a position to see what the best way forward is.

    It was conservatives like Margaret Thatcher who steamrolled miners strikes and proved that there is real obsolescence in what we do for a living. Adapt or perish. Darwinian or Ayn Rand enough for you?

    I agree. I don't think being forced to do something is desirable. Mind you, that happens from the minute we walk out the door and sometimes even before then.

    I doubt that the legislators who are banning smoking in bars see their role as any different than that of the most rabid eco-warrior. They're clamping down, they're basing their actions on their belief. Every drug bust is an act of telling you what to do in no uncertain fucking terms.

    If it's freedom you cherish then let's not make it bullshit Orwellian freedom, let's make it the right to decide for ourselves what is right for our society and for ourselves. For some it's putting their half eaten burger in the bin and for others it's composting for their garden or keeping a worm farm.

    If you go getting cross just because someone has their own well or water tank then that just doesn't strike me as particularly rational or constructive.

    Our weir dried up. It had been five years drought and so we had to get water carted from the reservoir in our capital city. They carted it up in - and we well knew the smell and taste - a diesel tanker. What had been one at some stage. And the water was foul. But it was all we had to drink.

    My whole life I've been told not to let the tap run, not because I grew up in a vegetable cult but because we had to conserve fresh potable water. Other seasons it would be pouring out of the guttering and you couldn't use it all.

    The point is, in a funny kind of way, you do take a California (uber alles) attitude across state lines because you're reacting against this madness you see around you. I understand that, a lot of my politics is or has been informed by the same revulsion or disquiet. It's what makes you the artist you are.

    I appreciate your compliments, when they are given, and I'm glad you called bullshit on a couple of my ideas, or the way I presented them. It's what a good dialogue is all about.

    I don't agree with you about the idea of selecting what works best for you at any given time as being asinine. There are subjects of greater interest than what kind of bag you find suits each purpose but I'm happy to address whatever topic comes to hand, and since you revisit recycling so often I thought it must hold some importance to you. And you'll find that is what I was doing.

    And I'm sorry but I didn't realise that other people delivered groceries for you. Everyone here, except the elderly and infirm, carries their own purchases out to the car. Or pushes them out in the shopping trolley. Whichever, depending how much you want the weight training. I carried mine home a mile and a half on steep hills so the concept is, well, foreign to me.

    When I have a car I use a bag with good handles so I can just carry it and put it in so it stands flat and doesn't spill. But, yeah, hikes either evenly weighted soft material each arm, roughly the same weight or switch often, or use a backpack. Then you have to think about your lower back.

    I shifted truckloads of super from the time I was young, chopped wood, I'm big and strong. Why should I use a material that forces me to expend less physical effort? I need to do everything I can to keep healthy because I do like chocolate and pork rinds and I like to balance that. Nobody be they hippy chippie drippy flippy or goddamn Mississippi is going to tell me what to do. It cuts both ways.

  4. "They need your petrochemical dollar."

    You give up your socialist/communist bent so easily - how do you ever expect to be taken seriously?

    It's all irrational because it's pointless: there's no problem any of this bullshit is solving, Berko. You're just getting off on telling people what to do. Is that really who you are? A fucking small-time fascist? Big man with a pin head? Fuck, dude, get a clue.

    Message to Berko: we'll never be oil-free. Got it? The whole idea is silly.

    "Adapt or perish. Darwinian or Ayn Rand enough for you?"

    Sounds more like Hitler to me. Forgot about him, didn't you?

    "If it's freedom you cherish then let's not make it bullshit Orwellian freedom, let's make it the right to decide for ourselves what is right for our society and for ourselves. For some it's putting their half eaten burger in the bin and for others it's composting for their garden or keeping a worm farm."

    Yea - but as the article clearly shows - they're not about to allow such an option: this is about controlling the people who want to put the burger in the bin. You're a liar if you say it isn't.

    I'm short for time but I want to make this clear for now:

    Devising nonsense solutions, to non-existant problems, is the kind of madness that brings down societies, Berko. As complex as our society is today, with so many lives at stake, you fuck this up now - over nothing but your "feelings" something's wrong - and it'll be a long, long - looong - time before it'll function right again. And, once the safeguards are gone, that's when the real killing will begin.

    Think hard, Berko, because that's what we're talking about here - real life - not some bullshit pie-in-the-sky kumbaya session.

    I gotta go.

    I'll speak.

  5. Quick comments:

    Well I said, they need your petrochemical dollar. I'm not using that many plastic bags.

    When did I say I was a socialist/communist?

    How can the current usage of disposable plastic, made from oil, be a non-existent problem when the price and availability of their primary ingredient is experiencing such major problems? The argument on extent of usage must rest on the cost and availability of the substance they're made from. Does that make sense?

    Individuals using a hemp or cloth bag is at worst a neutral act. It doesn't involve a costly recycle project, which may offset the savings of not using natural resources, in fact it doesn't involve any cost at all. Whereas the continued use of plastic does.

    You're being very generous in defining what a 'fascist' is. Not famous for explaining their acts, for a start. I don't demand that you see things from my position, I just argue my position well when it is put under attack.

    I'm not sure if you could fit all Mussolini had to say to Abyssinia before he invaded, in a thimble.

    Since you make 'irrationality' such a big part of your discourse I have gone out my way to avoid using the language of the big l Left and given you concrete examples. If you want to judge the rationality of an act, you have to do so on the basis of how well an impartial observer, reading the transcript, could be convinced of its viability.

    Will his flight plans get off the ground? What happens to the invisibility cloak in a downpour?

    That's more important than whether the thing is eco-friendly or assists business programs; do people want or need what I have on offer?

    You accuse the left of being liars and yet I am being completely candid and you're not stepping up to the plate.

    I'll annoy you but not by lying to you.