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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Sticker shock

  • Some items are made to be thrown away.
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  • Some items are made to be thrown away.
    They're antithetical to recycling.
    You're at the supermarket checkout aisle, for instance.
    You make your purchase and are rewarded with the receipt, which you instantly throw away.
    That is, unless you irresponsibly dodge the handoff and hustle away. Then the cashier instantly throws it away, muttering justifiably, "I hate it when people dodge the receipt handoff and hustle away. It's irresponsible."
    Another glaring example of a consumer item devised to be discarded is, ironically, the color "green."
    I refer to the artificial plastic grass consumers buy to line the bottom of their Easter baskets. This synthetic substance, which can be purchased by the bag, has no other useful purpose known to man.
    It barely suffices as artificial Easter basket grass, yet somewhere, someone is actively engaged in its mass production.
    This stuff is thrown away moments after the last bunny-shaped peep has been freed from the basket's confines to roam a child's palate.
    However, there is one item among the products created solely to be discarded that is not only representative of the perfidy of a throwaway society, it's really quite irritating, as well.
    I refer to the little stickers maniacally affixed to individual pieces of fruit.
    Who's responsible for this outrage?
    If the spread of this egregious practice could be traced back, I suspect it would lead us to the Chiquita banana, and its comfortingly familiar blue-and-yellow Chiquita sticker.
    There was nothing inherently evil in this display of fruit-brand pride.
    It said in graphic terms more eloquent than any Shakespearean sonnet: "Look at me. I'm a banana."
    In its defense, it must be noted that this sticker is applied to the banana's non-edible skin, which will be removed. This gives the ingester the option of ignoring the sticker entirely.
    And the stickers are applied judiciously. They don't appear on every banana in a bunch. That would say arrogantly, "Look at me. I'm so a banana."
    At some point over the years, the practice spread to other, far less suitable fruits - the apple, the pear, the peach, the nectarine, even the plum.
    Whether stacked individually on produce shelves or grouped together in bags or containers, each and every fruit is now affixed with a tiny sticker that cannot be ignored lest the consumer risk eating it along with the juicy bounty of this nation's fecund fields.
    At what point in our history did the following conversation take place?
    Fruit purveyor 1: You know what would be a good idea?
    Fruit purveyor 2: What?
    Page 2 of 2 - Fruit purveyor 1: Attaching a tiny, difficult-to-remove sticker to every individual piece of fruit we sell.
    Fruit purveyor 2: That would be awesome!
    If only there were some way we could journey back in time and stop this conversation from ever taking place.
    Those who would take this matter lightly, be warned.
    At what point will every strawberry, raspberry and blueberry be stickered to irritate a whole new generation of omnivores? At what point will every grape in a bunch be so desecrated?
    The time to act is now.
    Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England's Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.com.
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