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My bottle return story

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Lahey, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Today I had the most difficult bottle return session. Just figured I'd tell my story and you guys can comment, laugh or tell stories of your own.

    Before work I bagged up my sorted grocery store beers for my weekly shopping trip at meijers. I grabbed what turned out to be a broken bottle and stuck it pretty deep into my right index finger, with a second much lighter cut nearby. I bled like a stuck pig, band aids barely took care of it. It kinda sucked, but oh well. Threw out the bloodied bottle..

    Then my trip to meijers. The machines barely took half of the bottles and cans I bought there. I used the phone provided to contact an employee.

    An older man came and immediately accused me of bringing back beers I didn't purchase there. I assured him that they were bought there and most of those beers were still on the shelves for sale. He repeated his point. I told him I'm 100% sure I bought them here. He wouldn't come off his point. I told him I'm not a liar. I told him his store has an issue not putting craft beers in the system and he's just giving me a bullshit excuse, in those words. After that he mumbled some shit, walked away and got me a receipt for the remaining bottles. It takes a real asshole to get me worked up, but he bit that nail right on the head.

    On the way through the store I went to the beer section. All but one of the returnables I had were on the shelf still, the other one ran out last week.

    All that for like 8-9 bucks, ugh. Any bottle return hell stories from you guys?
  2. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,791) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    I wish we had a deposit law here in WA. I moved here 18 years ago, and one of the first things that struck me was, for as environmentally green as this state was, and is, we still don't have a deposit law. It saddens me to see craft beer empties alongside an otherwise pristine trail.
  3. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I love deposits, I just wish it was possible to take all my returnables to one place. It's hard (sometimes impossible) to return all bottles to the correct store, but I try to be as organized as I can be to avoid arguments like the one in my story above. I always have meijers returnables sorted though, I know their stock and beer ages better than them.
    JrGtr, GreenBayBA, TheDoctor and 5 others like this.
  4. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,791) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Before I moved here, I lived in Upstate NY, where there was a deposit law. After a few years of arguments like you describe above, stores just started installing machines that read the bar codes. After all, it's only a handful of distributors that a given store deals with, and even if a given brand isn't sold at a given store, that store likely carries another brand from the same distributor.

    It's in the distributors best interest to keep the stores happy.
  5. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    The machines work well when they're programmed with the beers the store carries. These days there are so many one offs and seasonals that stores don't keep the machines up to date. They still have to take the beers they sell, but most people just throw them in the garbage rather than talk to an employee unfortunately. I went the other route and faced the wrath of a pissed off old dude. I get that some people probably do take the wrong beers there, but I was right and knew it.
  6. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,791) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Agreed. But, keep after it, they'll come around. Especially if you tag the breweries ,along with the store, on the more mainstream social media.
    GreenBayBA, Amendm and Lahey like this.
  7. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I don't do social media, this site is the extent of my online persona. But I'll continue to do my returnables until they get tired of dealing with me and program their machines, haha.
  8. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (795) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    NC with no returnables as well. 45+ yrs ago, the concept funded childhood with coke bottles.
  9. flaskman

    flaskman Aspirant (279) Aug 3, 2015 New York

    My returns are easy. I return mine to the trash can in the kitchen or the garage. I will sacrifice a nickle to get it out of my life. As far as recycling bottles goes "from the earth it came and to the earth it shall return".
  10. Amendm

    Amendm Devotee (457) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    I recycle as much as possible, the bar-code readers don't like craft beer cans.
    Last time I recycled cans, bottles and plastic I was left with 30 cans that would not scan. Mostly local stuff.
    GreenBayBA, flaskman and Lahey like this.
  11. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,197) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I dump them in one of Ripple Glass, co-founded by Boulevard, containers around town. No money return.

    Although that may stop. My area of town lost its Ripple Glass recycling bin due to a store closing and the lot being shut down.
    GreenBayBA, Jwhit, tzieser and 2 others like this.
  12. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,678) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    No deposits here in NH. I used to like collecting cans after family parties as a kid and getting a little extra money. Bought a crap ton of Garbage Pail Kids that way.
    swenny916, JrGtr, GreenBayBA and 9 others like this.
  13. Victory_Sabre1973

    Victory_Sabre1973 Poo-Bah (1,628) Sep 15, 2015 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    No deposit here in Minnesota. My apartment doesn't have recycling, but work does, so I take everything that can be recycled and dump it off at work.
  14. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (47) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    Slightly off-topic, but if you haven't had a tetanus shot in the last 10 years you should probably call your doctor. (I speak as someone who sliced up my thumb about a month ago - 6 stitches).
    mambossa and Amendm like this.
  15. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,084) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I don't get the whole concept. First, if environmental concerns are the issue, then why exclude water bottles, tea bottles, Gatorade bottles, etc. from the deposit? Second, what difference does it make to the grocery store if you're redeeming bottles and cans that you didn't buy there? They should be able to get their money anyway. Deposit laws make the retailers de facto tax collection agencies. Yeah, I get that there are space and sanitation issues, but, hey, unintended consequences, right? Third, I'd bet a month's pay that the legislators who enact these deposit laws have never spent one minute in a bottle & can redemption center. These places are colossal pains in the ass. They are filthy, the wait times can be unbearable, and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason governing what they'll accept and what they won't. (As if politicians would give a damn anyway.) Fourth, I see all sorts of pop and beer bottles and cans lying by the sides of the roads and trails anyway. Pigs are going to be pigs. Like Ron White says, you can't fix stupid.

    Sorry. I'm going to take my meds now.
  16. HopsDubosc

    HopsDubosc Disciple (362) Apr 24, 2015 Vermont

    Redemption center has incredible beer selection. Every time I return bottles, I spend at least 3 times that much on new finds. The horror!
  17. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (307) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    That's an odd story. Owner of a liquor store, may be a prick- but employee at a grocery store, not "their money" what the hell does he care? I have never not even once experienced anything close to what you are saying.

    When I worked at a retailer (long time ago) they instructed us "don't confront a customer even if you KNOW they are shoplifting."

    The consensus response "don't worry, we won't."
  18. TriggerFingers

    TriggerFingers Disciple (334) Apr 29, 2012 California

    Out here we pay the the same CRV for glass bottles as we do for aluminum cans. You get quite a bit more $ back when taking aluminum to the recycling center.
    GreenBayBA, Amendm and Lahey like this.
  19. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    It was really odd. I assume he just was having a bad day or he's been hassled for bottle returns a lot... either way it was some pretty crappy customer service. Not usually an issue at those stores though.
    Prince_Casual and Amendm like this.
  20. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Oh come on, I hate the doctor. Can I just wait till I'm about to die then go?
    SierraNevallagash and jvgoor3786 like this.
  21. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Nvm, I'm gonna get that tetanus shot tomorrow if possible. The internet scared me into it.
  22. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,026) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I've lived in states that have a recycling deposit (Massachusetts) and states that do not (Arizona, New Jersey). Personally, I am a much bigger fan of the "no deposit" states. Not only do you get to pay a bit less for your beer but the effect of getting a few nickels back in return does not change my recycling habits. I always recycle regardless if there is money involved or not. I wonder if they took away the deposit system (in those states that participate) if recycling would take a big nosedive?

    @Lahey I did this a long time ago. A bomber had a strange glass defect near the bottom of the bottle, it had a really tiny sharp glass shard sticking out of the side. One small little poke had me gushing blood all over the Shaw's Supermarket beer isle (Prudential Center, Boston). Annoying as hell.
    jcos, meefmoff, dcotom and 4 others like this.
  23. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (909) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I would've gone straight to the store manager and lodged a complaint. And people rarely piss me off. That guy sounds like a stubborn fool.
    #23 rgordon, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  24. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I was so mad I just wanted to be done with it, not many people get me feeling red in the face. I really hate getting managers (I believe he was an assistant manager anyway) I'm really a non confrontational kind of guy, but I learned at a young age not to be a door mat. Just hoping he doesn't treat other customers like that or his job won't be there for long.
    Troutbeerbum, rgordon and Amendm like this.

    ECOBOOSTINST Aspirant (213) Jul 7, 2016 Iowa

    This is
    This is kinda why I gave up on returning all together. Most craft brands were never in the system and would get rejected. Not to mention the putrid smell inside the area in which you have to redeem. I get MI has a little higher charge(10 cents?) than Iowa(5 cents), so there is a little more incentive to take them back. I just give mine to the neighbor kid who uses them for whatever fund raising they are doing for school sports.
    GreenBayBA, dcotom, Lahey and 2 others like this.
  26. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,344) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    More horror stories: I use three stores in town for my beer purchases (one is a Meijer store) and try to remember which beers that I bought where to avoid issues, or at least know if a store carries that particular popular brand even if I bought it elsewhere. I've had only a few bottles rejected by the Meijer store's machines like you, @Lahey, even though I know I bought them there. But the machines are nice if you don't go during non busy periods because I hate standing there in a line to wait for a machine to become available. Then you have one machine for bottles and a different one for cans. Waiting twice in line is bothersome to me. Then the collection bin behind the wall fills up and shuts off the machine and you have to wait for someone in back to exchange the dumpster!

    One of my three store is all manual for returns and they group each bottle type and scan them to check to be sure they carry that beer. And the third store could care less.

    But two issues that really irritate me are when I know a store carries a certain brewery's beers, just not the specific beer that I'm returning, and reject it. A Bell's bottle is a Bell's bottle is a Bell's bottle dammit, why does it matter?! Or if you bought a beer at one Meijer store but the next Meijer store won't take the bottles! Sometimes I think the states that don't have deposit laws are better off.

    And don't get me started about the difficulties due to the 10-cent deposit in Michigan vs. 5-cent difference in close-by states, Kramer!!
  27. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (171) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    I can say for MA the whole bottle return thing is dumb. Towns that have trash collection have required curbside recycle pickup. Towns that don't provide trash collection you pay for trash but not for recycles, whether that's to bring to the dump or to have a company come to your house. There's no point in bottle deposits because who would throw out a bottle or can into trash that will actually cost you money when you can separate it and not pay for it? Those who would probably wouldn't return it for the money anyways.

    Most people recycle but don't return for their 5 cents which means the money collected for deposits just goes back to the state. The only reason the deposit exists really is for the state to make money, not to save the world! I'm not one of those "I hate the government and they tax everything" type of people but the bottle deposit is really just a tax given the current state of recycling.
  28. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,430) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I take offense to the fact that you had to mention that it was an older man. That had nothing to do with the fact that he was an asshole. Me=older man. :wink:
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  29. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,563) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I moved from NY to NJ in 1996, and it's so much better just using the recycling bin. These stories make it sound like it's still a nightmare for drinkers who enjoy variety to do what should be a simple process of redemption.
    tzieser, Bitterbill and Amendm like this.
  30. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (47) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    I hate the doctor too, but I was bleeding all over the floor and didn't have much of a choice. And if you were handling dirty bottles, definitely don't mess around.
  31. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    No offense to older people, haha. If I was 60 and had to deal with some 32 year old shit-hippie looking fella (shaggy beard and slouchy hat) and his returnables, I'd probably be salty too haha. I just had a bad day and wasn't putting up with it.
    #31 Lahey, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  32. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I'll be in the doc's first thing tomorrow for my booster shot. Seriously, thanks for caring man. No one else mentioned tetanus, I thought that was only from rusty metal.
    meefmoff likes this.
  33. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (386) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    For as much money as I spend at meijers shopping (I assume you also do), they should take all brands they sell with a smile, whether they sell that particular beer or not. That would cover pretty much every michigan brewer and most major out of state brewers. They benefit from their size, being able to get large amounts of most beer they want. Gotta pay that back in the returnable area.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  34. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,791) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    IIRC, at least in NY, the deposit stays with the store, so that they have the money to refund with, without going into their pocket.
    tzieser and Lahey like this.
  35. scream

    scream Crusader (760) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    We do not have mandatory recycling here. I do remember though that one used o able to buy cases of beer in returnable bottles. That has been gone for a long time. I used to bring a cas of empties and $3.10 and get a new case of Rhinelander. Kiss those days goodbye
    GreenBayBA, surfcaster, Lahey and 3 others like this.
  36. chimneyjim

    chimneyjim Initiate (151) Jun 23, 2004 Oregon

    Used to be a hassle to return them to the stores, although not as bad as the OP's experience. Oregon now has stand alone redemption centers. Clean, swift machines that take plastic, glass and cans and 99% of the brands.
    GreenBayBA and Lahey like this.
  37. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,026) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Yeah it's a real pain in the ass. When I visit family in MA I leave all my beer cans so they can be redeemed. Unfortunately those stupid scanner machines do not regsiter the vast majority of craft beer labels like Finback, Trillium, Bog Iron, etc. I guess the solution would be "don't use the machine, go to the sorting guy" but it's still a pain in the ass regardless of all that.
  38. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,288) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    The redemption center here by me is an absolute shithole. Mold on the walls, on the plastic carriers you put glass/plastic/cans into. Smells gross.
    I always use the proceeds from taking bottles back to get more beer!
  39. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,511) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Agree on recycle, we have a separate can just for that and everything we use that can be is tossed into it for recycle. We get zero money for it but try and do the right thing as is reasonable. I also wonder if folks stopped getting back money if they would be as faithful in recycling as they are now.

    LOL my wife always laughs when the can is dumped because all the glass beer bottles making tons of noise in the truck, she says the neighbors must think we are massive party folks lol. Well I guess I will take that title.
  40. MJS08

    MJS08 Aspirant (283) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    That's funny. We listen for that sound each Thursday around 7:30 AM. A bomber or two adds a touch of bass and a distinctive thud to the higher pitch of the smaller bottles.