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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 6, 2010 7:27 PM. The previous post in this blog was That time already. The next post in this blog is Hot wheels. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, February 6, 2010

If you say so, I don't wanna do right

Now we've got Fred Meyer stores on TV telling us to use reusable bags for our groceries, because "it's the right thing to do." It is the exact same slogan that we get in stickers on our recycling and yard debris bins from the City of Portland: "It's the right thing to do."

This particular saying is starting to stick in my craw. At our house we recycle, compost, and do everything we can to respect the planet. If you'd like to remind me of the ecological pro's and con's of various consumer choices, that's grand. But when you tell me what "the right thing to do" is, I very much feel like doing the opposite, just to spite your pompous asininity.

You went to an Al Gore movie, and now all of a sudden you're the Pope? If I made the Kroger grocery store chain or the city government of Portland my moral compass, I would burn in hell for all eternity.

Comments (21)

Why be upset about preaching about plastic bags? Much more infuriating is the array of bumper stickers that often decorate cars in front of me and which offer profound judgments on just about any subject. A recent one proclaimed that "foreskin is not a birth defect". Y'know, I'd always wondered about that.

I think that slogan was borrowed from Quaker Oats.

Don't worry, soon it won't be your choice to make:

Never put an ounce of yard waste into a landfill, used public transportation thousands of times and road bikes many thousands of miles back in the pre-family days when it was feasible, drove vehicles with manual transmissions and four-cylinders, don't fly anywhere unless someone is dying or dead, have an Amish no-drive Wednesday, zone heat and cool the house, re-use and re-cycle all bags and packaging materials, discard peals and rinds into the garden, installed those squiggly bulbs years back, but I'm a pariah and a wastrel for not buying into the movement mantra, doing exactly as told and agreeing that I that I should be taxed and regulated into compliance.

Yet the fellow down the street who jumps into a cab to and from the airport at least every other week gets special subsidies and privileges for his hybrid SUV. And by the way, my walk is shoveled clear of 20 inches of snow; his isn't.

Now, now, don't fret too much Freddie/Kroger uses this ploy so you don;t recognize that 12oz is now a pint and 24oz is now a quart.
And the Attorney General, not long ago said the butcher putting his thumb on the scale was OK.
As for the city doing the sticker thing makes you forget the fees have gone up.
How are they going to say that recycling the city government is the right thing to do?

I agree. When I interviewed British Transport Minister Sadiq Khan, who was in Portland last September, he expressed admiration for our "drive less, save more" campaign precisely because it wasn't preachy. It appealed to people's checkbooks.

From that post:

"Khan was also impressed with Portland's ability to plan to include transportation in its future developments, citing the Pearl District as an example of this. He also liked our Drive Less, Save More campaign for its honesty: "In Britain, we've been using more stick, not carrot, telling people they need to change their habits because the planet needs saving," he said. "But according to the polling, the biggest incentives for people to change their habits are money and time.""

I hate nothing more than the assumed moral superiority of a Prius-driving, OPB-sticker-sporting Pacific Northwesterner.

When you tell me to go green, I tell you to go pound sand. Get out of my face, I'm not stupid, I've been thoroughly indoctrinated with all the information - now it's up to ME to make whatever choices I want to make. Government, get OUT of my life.

"But according to the polling, the biggest incentives for people to change their habits are money and time."

Actually, the majority of citizens in most cities, when polled, support the "stick" approach. In both Europe and the US.

For example, New York City residents overwhelmingly support congestion pricing in the city to reduce traffic. The City Council even supported it. The state legislature killed it--a typical scenario repeated all over the US.

And, he's entirely ignored the congestion pricing scheme in London proper--an unambiguous "stick" approach that, after being supported by a third of polled Londoners, proved so successful that now two thirds (or more) support it.

And in Portland, in fact, a key reason why so few of its schemes have worked is because they're "carrots". Carrots rarely prove effective--not because people won't chase them, but because they chase them extremely slowly, are often distracted and confused by other carrots, and eventually regress to the mean (do little or nothing).

I hate nothing more than the assumed moral superiority of Portland in issues like these, especially when it's rarely based on reality, or fact.

And continuing that congestion pricing success example: it's succeeding all over the world when adopted, in Europe, Asia, the UK, and it's even being tested in Africa.

I agree with Grady Foster on this one. I own a reasonable sized home with lots of green around it to suck up the carbon dioxide. Have only one car (and hardly a gas-guzzler but it is not a hybrid or bio-diesel), I take TriMet (a bus, one that is usually well-patronized and leads to standing-room only), can walk to stores and restaurants near my home; walk my son to and from school just a block away.

I don't get any incentives.

But the person who bought a BRAND NEW construction, 3000 square foot condo in a "leed certified building" complete with air conditioning (which my home lacks), and owns two Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrids even though the Streetcar is on the ground level, AND drives to the airport (because he's an airline pilot - like the radio commercials said)...gets tax breaks up the yoohaw.

Oh, and not to mention, he has to drive further away just to buy groceries because there aren't any grocery stores in SoWhat.

Eco, most people support congestion pricing in Manhattan because most people don't own or drive their own car in Manhattan. If you don't own a car and take taxis everywhere and some pollster asks if you support congestion pricing, you say "sure, why the hell not."

I'm with Matt: "I hate nothing more than the assumed moral superiority of a Prius-driving, OPB-sticker-sporting Pacific Northwesterner."

Amen to that. I find attmepts to legislate left-wing values just as odious as legislating right-wing values.

One more thing: do any of you listen to the OPB fund drive? I find the direct appeal to listeners' sense of superiority to be hilarious.

"You are the informed ones in this community. You are the ones making a difference. You care enough to follow local news and programming. Get a reusable OPB tote so people can see you at the grocery store." Blah blah blah.

So if watching an Al Gore movie doesn't make you the Pope, what if the Pope says it? ;) Although, of course, he tends not to get quite so specific as reusable grocery bags.

Eco, most people support congestion pricing in Manhattan because most people don't own or drive their own car in Manhattan.

First, Manhattan is only part of New York City. Second--wrong. In fact, over half of New York City residents own a car. Despite a 53% public transit use rate.

I find attmepts to legislate left-wing values just as odious as legislating right-wing values.

The congestion pricing in NYC was proposed (and supported) by Republicans.

"I hate nothing more than the assumed moral superiority of a Prius-driving, OPB-sticker-sporting Pacific Northwesterner."

"I hate nothing more than the assumed moral superiority of Portland in issues like these, especially when it's rarely based on reality, or fact."

How about: I hate nothing more than people who don't know what's worth hating?

Here are some suggestions for what to hate: war, poverty, torture, bigotry, greed, environmental degradation. The list goes on and on.

Getting all bent out of shape over the perceived self-righteousness of a largely imagined class of hypocritical liberal do-gooders seems pretty weird and neurotic. Also, it distracts from the real problems.

"Here are some suggestions for what to hate: war, poverty, torture, bigotry, greed, environmental degradation. The list goes on and on.

Getting all bent out of shape over the perceived self-righteousness of a largely imagined class of hypocritical liberal do-gooders seems pretty weird and neurotic. Also, it distracts from the real problems."

In other words, you're a liberal who is feeling self-righteous.

Occasionally, I shop at Fred Meyers. Over time, I noticed the attendants in the self check out lanes would routinely "fluff" up the plastic bags on the wire rack in the bagging area when traffic was slow. They would remove a few bags at the front of the racks until they got to just the right bag. They would stick their hand in that bag to fluff it open, readying it for the next customer. The bags that were in the way of the bag in the "sweet" spot....were tossed! Perfectly usable bags, just inconveniently lopsided or several clumped together and in the way.

Finally, after seeing this fluffing practiced over and over at several different locations, I wrote to Freddie's corporate headquarters. In good faith, I reported this repeated disregard for both the environment and the corporate bag-budget by the impatient bag fluffers.

Never got a response, let alone 'thank you for letting us know'. What hypocrites!

Now let's see if THEY have changed their ways and stopped this wasteful fluffing's the right thing to do!

Like Grady Foster and others, I've tried to be gentle with the environment since my mom was hauling in recycling in Boise 40 plus years ago.

But, when it came time to replace my old oil furnace, I replaced it with another, albeit more efficient, oil furnace (and a really sweet programmable thermostat, as well). Do I get any tax credits? No, one has to purchase a gas furnace to get any rebates/kickbacks/credits. However, when I have yet to replace my furnace 50 or 60 years from now, and those "high-efficiency" gas furnaces have been replaced two or three or four times during that time frame, who in fact is the most environmentally correct?

I agree with your point, but one minor fact correction.

The City of Portland doesn't collect residential garbage.


Portland's residential garbage and recycling service is provided by 21 private garbage and recycling companies franchised by the City of Portland. Garbage rates and rules for garbage collection are set by the City. Garbage and recycling companies bill homeowners and landlords directly.

The waste bins I have been supplied have "City of Portland" written all over them. Especially on the offensive stickers in question.

The City of Portland doesn't collect residential garbage.

You're arguing semantics, of course. The government doesn't lift the can--but it does everything else in the process. In effect, the City of Portland *is* responsible for collecting your garbage.


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