Friday, March 23, 2007

More Tusker, Please

In order to get beer here, it helps to bring back empty bottles. If you buy full beers without corresponding empties, it costs more. I remember it working this way when I lived in Mexico, too. This seems very simple to me, why don’t we do this in the States? Instead of rewarding people for bringing in their cans and bottles, why not penalize them for not bringing them in? Al Gore, get on it.

I wasn’t really sure how this worked, so I walked into the store with my empties, put them in my basket and started my shopping. A man came running after me and told me I needed to get a receipt. I asked him where to go. He said he would take the empties for me and bring me the receipt. I was grateful to him, but I wanted to know where to go so that next time I would not make the same mistake. No, he said, I’ll get you your receipt, please keep shopping. So I smiled, and shopped.

The six empties I had were for Tusker beer; when I went to replace them, the store only had five Tuskers on the shelf. Could I apply an empty Tusker bottle to a full bottle of, say, Nile (Nile is a bad example because their bottles are bigger, but I can’t think of another African beer at the moment)? Meanwhile the man who had run off to get me my receipt came back and I explained about the five Tuskers. He said he would find a sixth. The lady at the register rang me up. The man came back; he could not find a sixth. My question about getting a sixth of a different kind of beer seemed too complicated. The lady at the register re-rang me up, now only charging me for five Tuskers.

But was I getting gipped out of my sixth empty? Since it amounted to the equivalent of 60 cents, I decided to let it go.

Then the man who had been helping me the empties handed me my shopping bags and leaned in conspiratorially and said, “Would you like to take a bottle back?” Was he breaking the rules for me? I couldn’t tell. I nodded, yes, I sure did want that bottle back. He slipped me an empty Tusker, I thanked him, and left before anyone could ask any questions.

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