Let me tell you this story that illustrates our lives:
Graham's paycheck came late earlier this month, leaving us with a zero balance.. and no way for Graham to pay the toll on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to pick me up at the Seattle/Tacoma Airport.
So he gathered up about $2.25 in change around the house.. And had this brilliant idea to go recycle a large bag of cans we'd been saving over the past month or so to get the extra cash to pay the toll. (Mind you, the toll was only $4. Yes, we were that poor.)
Graham drove all over Brem Brem, circled the grocery stores for recycling centers, and asked customer service centers at all of them if they recycle there. After many blank stares and vague directions, Graham finally received a clear answer: cans could be recycled at the recycling center which just so happened to be closed for the night... but it would only be for FREE. Washington doesn't reimburse people for recycling, which is why you don't see homeless people in Seattle collecting cans in shopping carts.
You see, in Portland, you get 5 cents per can.. Meaning Graham would've gotten enough money to pay the bridge toll, pick me up on time, etc..
Instead, Graham had to take the long way to avoid the bridge---60 miles down to Olympia, then 60 miles up to the airport--when it only would've been 60 miles straight to the airport... received a speeding ticket along the way and picked me up 30 minutes late for my flight that arrived at 1:15 AM.
So anyways, we ended up saving these troublesome cans because we were too lazy to get rid of them. When we were packing to go to Portland for the weekend, I had the brilliant idea to take the cans with us for a big profit--i.e. we had not paid the redemptive value at purchase and we would make a profit over the original soda purchase.
After Graham's cousin's farewell on Sunday, we stopped at Fred Meyer, the Northwest's Super Target/Wal-Mart, to recycle our cans and collect our cash.
Something went awry and over half of the cans were not processed by the recycler... and we wasted a half hour trying to force these recalcitrant cans through the recycler. The trouble makers were then tossed into the trash angrily.. although I considered giving them to an unsuspecting homeless person.
With our pitiful net of $1.90, we bought ourselves a 1 Liter Dr. Pepper for the drive home and called it a day.
I don't know if Graham will ever recycle again.
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