The Life-Changing Magic of Dumping Your Crap On People In Need

We’re KonMarieing the house. We decided to do this when our 10-month old baby who can neither walk nor read books about the Japanese art of tidying, took a book about the Japanese art of tidying off the bottom of an abandoned bookshelf in my parent’s house, and handed it to me, as if to say, “UB-YON!”, which is the only thing she knows how to say.

The KonMarie method of tidying was invented by a crazy Japanese lady named Marie Kondo, who was so obsessed with tidying as a kid that she would spend her recesses in grade school organizing the classroom bookshelves by hue instead of normal kid activities like eating Tide pods, which would probably make sense for someone obsessed with tidying. Her entire approach to tidying is to THROW. EVERYTHING. OUT.

She’s one of those weird success stories of someone with an extreme mental illness who made millions by convincing everyone else that they are the ones who are actually crazy, God bless her.

So you KonMarie your house by giving it a surprise enema so that all the garbage you have ever accumulated in your whole life – minus the things that you really actually wanted to find – end up on the floor in a pile that vaguely resembles your house on any given day anyway, except this time you did it on purpose. You have to empty out every drawer, cabinet, chest, closet, panel, safe, crawlspace, sinkhole, and portal to the Upsidedown.

Then you put on your HazMat suit and start picking the things up one by one and feel them intently in your hands, provided that these things aren’t oozing radioactive gunk and none of them have infected you with flesh-eating disease, at least as far as you can tell. If they have, then you need to get a new HazMat suit.

The idea of fondling all the junk in your house is to better determine if it “sparks joy”. If something does spark joy, then stop fondling immediately before anything dangerous happens and make sure you have no gas leaks. If it doesn’t, you either throw it out (KonMarie it) which Marie Kondo recommends, or you KonMarie it onto somebody else, which Marie Kondo warns you never, ever to do because it is inconsiderate, but…well…you know…Pearl Harbor.

My sister-in-law has been into the KonMarie method for years, but I never realized until now that we’ve been the KonMarie dumping ground for all her junk this whole time. We’ve since KonMaried all the stuff she’s given us back to the garbage, just like Marie Kondo says to do, because I listen to Japanese voices when they tell me to do things.

Now that my house is much emptier and I’ve fondled all of my stuff more thoroughly and intently than I ever thought I was capable of, keeping only what sparks joy without blowing my house up, I’ve come to understand a lot about opportunistically dumping junk on unsuspecting people in need.

I came across a Facebook post recently that announced that a local preschool was collecting donations for a family in real dire straits but not the band.

The story is typical and could happen to any of us. The wife is in the hospital, there’s a new baby besides a 3 and 6 year old now home alone with their in-way-over-his-head father who has to watch the baby so he can’t go to work and can’t KonMarie the kids onto somebody else, so they have no money and they’re desperate. So the post says thusly:

“We are collecting clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, and used towels, and money for the family.”

Under any other circumstance I would have considered this type of post to be very thoughtful. But having just finished Konmarieing a lifetime’s worth of accumulated junk, I suddenly understood that this poor family was about to be turned into a KonMarie Ground Zero Landfill at a time when the last thing they need is everyone else’s useless accumulated crap.

I found myself wondering, acutely, what exactly a family in dire need could possibly do with old clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, and used towels. After thinking about it for 3 seconds, I knew the answer. The father is home alone with the kids. He probably did not consult his wife because he didn’t want to feel like an idiot asking what he was supposed to do now, because that would mean getting yelled at. So he called one of his wife’s friends who people generally call who’s into community type something or other and she’s really uppity and “does things”. Here’s how the call went:

Dad: We’re in a bad situation. I can’t work and my wife is in the hospital and I’m alone with the kids and I don’t know what to do and I’m freaking out!

Poster: Oh wonderful! I can organize a donation campaign for you! I’ll post it on Facebook and get the local preschool to collect stuff. What else do you need? Clothing? Old shoes? Stuffed animals for the kids?

Dad: Uhh…sure yeah that sounds great. What else do I need?

Poster: What about towels?! We can collect towels for you!

Dad: Yeah, towels…Towels are great…

Poster: Got it. What about money?

Dad: Definitely money.

In all seriousness, the family probably lost all their stuffed animals when the wife went to the hospital. Maybe the kids lost all their shoes overnight now that their mother is temporarily out of commission. Maybe they threw all the towels in the compost bin in an ill-advised game of Towel the Compost and the father can’t clean the towels because the kids ate all the Tide Pods and he doesn’t know how to use the washing machine. Maybe he thinks he’ll burn down the house if he pushes the wrong button, like what happened last time and his wife yelled at him, which is why he needs all that used clothing.

Have you ever seen a used clothing drop off point? In my city there are many of them, and they’re always bursting full of old clothing that nobody ever picks up. It just sits there for years, evolving, a testament to the out-of-control clothing epidemic in the West.

There is, and this is totally true, a now former used clothing store that closed down (or as we like to say in the West “Clothesed Down”) because it became overridden with too many clothing donations and the owner just abandoned it.

This used clothing store died, it was literally suffocated, by people dumping their clothing in a rabid KonMarie frenzy. Now this former store, located right next to the beloved municipal tax agents, has bags of clothes literally vomiting themselves out of its windows, and people are STILL dumping clothes there. The rule of thumb is, if you see a mountain of used clothing, add to it as fast as possible in order to usurp city dumping ordinances.

I wonder how high the mountain of used clothing and old shoes and towels is just outside this poor man’s house now. What if all the crap was KonMaried right in front of his door while he was out visiting his sick wife and he can’t get back in his house without hiring a crane? Worse, what if the donations came when he was IN his house and now he’s barricaded in by the KonMaried refuse of the entire neighborhood? What if the police never rescue him because they think his house is now just another de facto legalized dumping ground for used clothing?

Somebody get me my HazMat suit. I’m going on a rescue mission.

 

 

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A Free Market Look into the Stupid Israeli Plastic Bag Law

Here we go again. The government is setting another price control. This time on disposable plastic grocery bags.

I shop with my own reusable bags. My wife’s grandfather, may he live long and prosper, gives us a bunch of crap every time we visit the US. Among the crap he gathers at retiree broker conventions is occasionally useful things like the bags the crap comes in. We shop with those bags because we are one of the few that are environmentally conscious. And we don’t like having plastic bags everywhere in our house.

But being environmentally conscious is not a good trait to have. I’m not bragging about it. It’s a form of OCD. It’s a compulsive thing we have, my wife and I. I don’t wish it on others. In fact, I’m a big fan of littering from a moral perspective. See Defending the Undefendable, page 205. Read it for free. Autodidactify.

That said, I have no problem at all with people who triple, quadruple, and quintuple bag, take bags right out of the dispenser just to play with for fun and throw in the garbage, etc. Why don’t I have a problem with this?

Let’s grant there there are environmental problems that may kill us all one day. Let’s say landfills will inherit the Earth. Why is it happening? Well, whenever the price for a good or service is pushed below the market rate by force, you end up with a shortage on the sell side and an excess on the buy side. If bananas are 10 shekels a kilo, then if the government comes in and says you’re only allowed to sell them for 5 shekels a kilo, there will be too many buyers (an excess) and not enough sellers (a shortage).

The key is, it’s the same exact thing with dumping garbage. If the price of dumping your garbage is zero, then you will have an excess of dumpers, an excess of landfills, too much trash. The price of dumping is set by government at zero by force of monopoly. No private company is allowed to come into the market to try and compete with the government for the service of dumping people’s trash.

And now, lo and behold, people are dumping, because the price is zero. And the government suddenly has a problem of how to get people to stop dumping so much. So instead of getting out of the dumping industry and letting the free market price the service so people will have to pay to get rid of their trash, or perhaps even be paid for organic trash, the government intervenes even more and messes with another price, that of plastic grocery bags.

And on our side, we try to make people “environmentally conscious,” to voluntarily control themselves when there’s someone messing with the price mechanism. If bananas were decreed to be 5 shekels a kilo instead of 10 and suddenly there’s a shortage, you can do one of two things. You can either ask people to voluntarily restrict their banana consumption, or you can push the price back up to equilibrium at 10. 

Same with dumping. We can either waste our time educating people about landfills to alleviate the dumping excess, or we can push the price of dumping to equilibrium by freeing the market. Educating people to be environmentalists won’t ever work. It’s a lost cause, and it’s stupid. The answer is free market pricing.

It’s to have private companies figure out what to do with plastic bags. An entrepreneur buys a plot of land and starts a dumping business. His interest is to preserve the capital value of his land and make money, so he’d obviously prefer organic trash over toxic waste. Organic trash he pays for, because it makes his land more fertile so he can sell it to a farmer when it’s full. Toxic waste he doesn’t want, so he jacks the price way up for dumping it, and separates it from his organic pile to cordon off any problems. If anyone mixes toxic waste in with the organic, he charges a major premium. Or, alternatively, he separates it himself to make it easier on his customers, investing in that capital.

Another entrepreneur comes in and figures out a way to turn plastic bags back into oil like this guy, who sounds like he smokes too much pot.

So he starts collecting, or maybe even paying for, plastic bags. Why does he do this? Because private dumpers charge such a high price for dumping them since they ruin the capital value of dumping sites, and there is a need in the market to lower the price for dumping plastic bags.

In such a case, where dumping is not free but rather a service that you pay for just like any other, people will use much less plastic bags because the price for dumping them is so high. Prices are how humans divide resources on the planet. There is no other way to do it.

That’s why being “environmentally conscious” is nothing but a form of OCD. There is no benefit in trying to make people “environmentally conscious”. There is no point, and it should not be a goal. There is no way in hell or on Earth that we will get enough people to voluntarily care, for no economic reason, about a landfill somewhere that they don’t see, enough to be able to actually tackle the problem. People care about their wallets. Environmentalism cannot work for the same reason that socialism can’t work. Because there is no way to divvy up resources without private property and free market prices.

Every single environmental problem on Planet Earth is a result of government monopolies and price controls. Every single one. Water, air, dumping as well.

What will happen now that the government is forcing a minimum price on bags? The stores that cannot afford the capital equipment necessary for this mess, like bag counters and whatnot, will not be able to comply. Cashiers will be sitting there counting bags manually, causing longer lines. It will be a big mess.

There is no need for such a law. All you need to do is get the government out of the dumping business and let private entrepreneurs figure out how to get rid of trash in the most cost efficient way possible. All the government does is take it from you and stick it all in a landfill, organic, toxic, and everything in between all together. Why? Because they just take whatever land they want for free and just dump on it. Would a businessman who bought his land with his own money do such a thing? No, he would dump in the most efficient way possible to preserve his purchase and even make it more valuable.