business news in context, analysis with attitude

In response to the continuing series of stories and emails that we’ve been posting on the subject of recycling, we got the following email from MNB user Julia Hildy:

“Having consumers recycle a simple, lightweight, thin plastic bag is not the problem. Being taxed for it is another concern. But the main issue is still not being addressed. Getting all consumers to recycle the excess plastic packaging, shrink wrap, four-color laminated cardboard, unusual and not easily recyclable plastic, take out food cartons, plastic cutlery and packaging ... and the list goes on ad, that's a problem.

“I wish each citizen would go to their local landfill and see all the stuff -- both totally useless or that could have found a purpose but for a simple fix - that is being dissed daily. Think about it: if you throw out 4 to 8 bags of stuff a week, even when it's compressed, how much cubic space of landfill space did you personally use last month? Multiply by twelve to determine what you used last year? What about within the last decade? Add to that what your neighbour used up? Your street? Your city? Makes a discarded plastic bag and any associated tax seem like a whimper in a windstorm by comparison.”

Responding to our story yesterday about The Coca-Cola Co. launching four new vitamin-enhanced NutriWater products that will combine vitamins and minerals with light sweetening, one MNB user wrote:

“I understand the fact that adding vitamins and minerals can alter the taste of bottled water, but so does sweetening. Most fortified waters are sweetened so significantly not only does the taste not appeal, but it often doesn't satisfy a thirst-quench, needing a water chaser. Although this suggests 'light' sweetening, I'll place odds it's too strong.”

We made a comment yesterday in which we questioned whether factory outlet stores cheapen the brands that operate them. For this simple expression of intellectual curiosity, we received an email reprimand from an MNB user:

“Outlet stores are a necessary part of merchandising.

“No store can sell every item in season, with no leftovers. This happens even to garage sale merchants. A merchant must find some way to move the unsold merchandise. Leaving it in the store, in my opinion, cheapens the store particularly because old season items have a shopworn look. A
merchant who chooses to sell the merchandise to a third party at a loss does not make as much on the items as he would if he sells them in an outlet setting himself. His other alternative is to donate these items to charity and take a tax write-off. As a consumer, I do not want merchants to buy stock in quantities that ensure sale of every item for them because that would mean that they did not purchase enough for the demand and customers would go wanting.

“Perhaps to people in the right income bracket, outlet stores cheapen the product. To some people, outlet stores and clearance racks are they only place within their price range. None, except the very rich, can afford to shop in every store and not have to consider the price of anything. It is a sick society indeed that fails to recognize and accept that fact.”

Just to be clear, we understand that the outlet stores serve a purpose and have a lot of appeal to folks who want brand name quality at cut-rate prices. (Including Mrs. Content Guy, by the way…) We actually were just asking a question, and now are worried that we are the symptom of a sick society…

Ah, well… We’ve actually been called worse.
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