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Tupperware Trauma

Posted Tuesday, December 25, 2007, at 4:55 AM

It's 4:10 a.m. as I begin this Christmas morning blog, and though I've given it a name, who knows where it'll end up? I'll pay for this early-morning vigil, I have no doubt.

I tried to go back to sleep, but it was no dice...Aches and pains can't be ignored, and in a few hours I have to leave for my sister's house in Springfield to visit that side of the family...Not packed..two stories for this week's NSC not done...goats will need a hay supply before I leave...wrap that last present...start a fire...

This is a brain warm-up exercise and a diversion from the aforementioned aches and pains...As soon as I get a couple cups of coffee down, I should feel better...

My darling daughter went back to Memphis last night, leaving me with a much cleaner house than I had before she came, and a cabinet full of new plastic storage dishes. It's all a part of her program to bring Dear Old Mom into the 21st Century.

Here's how it went:

Darling Daughter: "Mom, here are all the bottoms that don't have tops and the tops that don't have bottoms. You have to get rid of them!"

Old Mom: "But those are real Tupperware, and I love that size!"

Darling Daughter: "But you can't use them if they don't have lids! You can keep the one that has a lid."

Old Mom: "But what about these cute little oval ones? Look! (Tap on countertop) This is good Tupperware!"

Darling Daughter: "No, Mom, they don't have lids! They have to go!"

Old Mom: "Well, okay, but these round lids fit that Tupperwear bowl right there."

Darling Daughter: "Yes, but you already HAVE a lid for that bowl. You don't need three lids that fit the same bowl."

Mom thinks about this dilemma and wonders what will happen if she loses that one lid to her favorite bowl, but (against her better judgment) she relents and lets the lids go into the trash bag, only to be haunted by the action the next morning at 3 a.m....What if the lid cracks? Now I've thrown away the spares!)

I admit I can now open up that cabinet door without having to catch something that comes crashing out at me...but I always figured that if the heavy items on the top shelf were secure, I could always handle the plastic items hurling down at me...

The new plastic containers are so elaborate, with their locking lids, that I have to be shown how to open and close them... And all my skill in knowing how to "burp" Tupperware is for naught - because these new 21st Century containers have little vents on top.

Conventional wisdom versus New Age Wisdom...What a dilemma!

"See, Mom, you can put these into the microwave! Just open the vent so they don't explode," says Modern Daughter.

"Explode?" I think, as I remember that jar of baby food that ended up on the ceiling...

I also have a new Black 'n Decker toaster, which isn't nearly as smart as it thinks it is. I am eating nearly-burned toast, as we speak. It seems that, once you push down the lever, there's no aborting the process, like you could with the old toasters. The new one just says, "Oh, no, you don't! This is the setting you chose, so this is the toast you get!" and it keeps right on burning.

And imagine my surprise when it GRABBED the bread! I literally jumped! That is SCAREY!!!!

This morning, after I made my burned toast, I unplugged the big black and silver creature, in case it decides to take over the house while I'm gone...

Heaven forbid there should be an unholy alliance between the Tupperware and the Toaster, while I'm off at my sister's house, blissfully unaware of the dark forces at work in my peaceful Tillman hideaway...

Maybe I should just call and cancel for this Christmas...

Naw...I'll give it a shot. Gotta enter the 21st Century sooner or later!

From the remote hills of rural Tillman, this is your roving report, Madeline, creeping ever so cautiously into the dawn of a new era.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I almost hate to tell you this, since you tossed your odd pieces; but the Rescue Mission usually has an amazing selection of Tupperware odds and ends. Check it out if you're not too proud. Personally, I love to pilfer through the treasures there, all in the name of a good cause.

-- Posted by gardengirl on Wed, Dec 26, 2007, at 11:29 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Do you mean I threw away my favorite little oval containers for NOTHING??????? I KNEW IT! I JUST KNEW IT!!!

WAIT!! I do believe that ALL THOSE BAGS are still out in the back of the pick-up, waiting to be taken up to the dumpster!!!!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I can go dig it all out again!!!!!!!

HI Maddie keep writing those blogs, they are much more interesting than all the political stories and much more truthful, from the snowy yards of Mich.

-- Posted by rusty nail on Wed, Dec 26, 2007, at 6:17 PM

MD, sounds like your Darling Daughter is a product of our "throw away" culture. This attitude by the current generation is a major cultural shift from the not too distant past. Saving things or fixing something when it broke used to be the norm. Most products today aren't made to be fixed -- I'll bet $100 that your new toaster was made to be thrown away when it goes on the blink. This also goes for saving money. When I was a kid I was taught to save money right along with brushing my teeth twice a day. For the last few years the US has had a negative savings rate -- which means people in the country as a whole are spending more money than they make. That would have been unheard of just 30 years or so ago.

MD, next time your Darling Daughter suggests you throw away a perfectly good item that happens to be missing its top or bottom, you might tell her about GG's suggestion. She's young enough that maybe she can be deprogrammed from "throwing" good stuff away.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Wed, Dec 26, 2007, at 7:58 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Oh, FJGuy, you've stirred up a hornet's nest, I fear!

Ok, keeping stuff is fine, but please if you collect those WalMart bags, 100 is enough.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Dec 26, 2007, at 9:25 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Oh, did I tell you - I am hereby a member of the "Anywhere but Walmart" Club?

IB, I've never bought anything at WalMart so I don't know what a WalMart bag is.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Wed, Dec 26, 2007, at 10:00 PM

The new toaster probably has a "cancel" button on it. Your daughter should have given you a tutorial on using the toaster after she finished the tupperware tutorial.

Additionally, I'm sure that if your trusty old tupperware lids haven't cracked in the THIRTY years you've had them, they're not going to start cracking any time soon! I bet if she'd known about the rescue mission's extra lids and bottoms, your daughter would have asked you if you'd ever REALLY go in there to look for spares to complete your items.

I don't think Darling Daughter is a member of a throw-away society at all. She sounds more like a member of the clean, orderly house society. :)

-- Posted by Youngest Child on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 8:47 AM

MD, hello there,I have a toaster like that and when I think the toast is ready, I just unplug the 'sucker'. Try that next time and she what it 'says' to you. Let us know.

I am the fella a few years ago when your daughter lived next door to me, her Wedding dress was being delivered and the Fedex man was gonna take it back to the Office, and I signed for it and'saved her day'. Did she ever tell you that story???

-- Posted by changedname on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 3:03 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Actually, Dexterite, I did have to unplug the Black n Decker creature to keep the toast from being burned to a charred crisp!

I guess I need to take YOUNGEST CHILD'S suggestion and READ THE DIRECTIONS!!!

By the by -- You can't be talking about my daughter, as she isn't married. Mmm...my son and daughter-in-law lived in Dexter when they were first married (2002) - but that's a story that I don't think I've heard before!! I must check it out!

YC, sounds like both you and DD might learn a different perspective from a most interesting book: "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder--How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place," by Eric Abrahamson. I found the book fascinating, and I agree wholeheartedly with his observations that what on the surface may appear to be a mess or disorderly, may in fact be much more organized than something that on the surface appears neat and orderly.

Since WalMart has been discussed in this blog, it is apropo that Abrahamson discusses that some small retail businesses have survived and prospered in the face of big box store competition precisely because they don't expend money on trying to be neat and clean. Instead they focus on providing high quality customer service. He observes that often times these stores have a cluttered messy look.

Also, YC and DD, you need to remember that you can never have enough bowls, even if the lid has disappeared. Bowls are handy to store screws, or paper clips, or any number of a hundred other items. I know you are well meaning, and I also know that there is time yet for you to join those of "us," which apparently includes MD, who see an orphaned item from the glass half full perspective.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 7:25 PM

FJGuy, didn't you see the Oprah episode on hoarding? Of course the subject in that episode had taken hoarding to the extreme, but her house was infested with black mold and she didn't even know it! She had to move out until the house was fumigated and the walls replaced. It's easy to let stuff accumulate and put off sorting through it and things can quickly get out of hand. Besides, when you can't find the Christmas gift you bought someone because it's lost in your stuff, you have to go out and buy another gift, and that doesn't seem very thrifty.

Your truly valued keepsakes--family heirlooms, treasured photos--should be displayed for all to share and remember but instead get lost in the mess of tupperware lids and other invaluable things.

Not everyone can be a neat freak, but you have to have some order and the ability to let go of unnecessary material things. As they said on Oprah, if everything's important, nothing's important.

-- Posted by Youngest Child on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 9:10 PM

FJ guy-really truly you have never shopped EVER at any Wal-Mart? How long have you been incarcerated? LOL

I grew up in their clean,spacious aisles. It is true they are poor neighbors,but what about all the big box stores? It is a loss for any community to lose independent retailers,but that's kind of how it goes in capitalist society isn't it?

The buggy maker went under because everybody preferred cars,barbers lost a big portion of their business when doctors and dentists replaced his surgical skills,and so on. Progress they call it,unless it's YOUR family business!

Have you ever saw the movie about Wal-Mart, "The High Cost of Low Price" ? It will make you feel guilty about spending too much in their aisles! It was of course one sided documentary,but the best ones usually are-ha ha.

YC, I saw that episode and I have been the "beneficiary" of many peoples clutter clean up! I really plan to sell some stuff with some friends of mine next year in the 100 mile yard sale, I think recycling our junk is better than filling the landfill with it.

MD,you haven't shopped at the rescue mission before? Excellent prices,and gardengirl is right,it all goes to a good cause! Tell your girl you are just too into living green to pitch usable,recyclable items.

If you have any old farm equipment that you can't use,find a spot on Hwy 25 because that really gets people to stop,especially in your area near Advance. I like the little store before you get to McDonald's, I think it's at Junction O -always good stuff there.

I have to start sorting things for the yard sale now,because May tends to sneak up on me.

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 10:37 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Good history lesson, YR! And so true!

So - Just exactly where is the Rescue Mission? Do I assume it's in Dexter? I need directions! I shall make a trip before I empty out the bags in my pick-up!

As for farm equipment, I do have two ancient combines, sitting like rusty sentinels at the entrance of my property, but I don't think I'm up to transporting them over to Hiway 25...

That little place at the corner of 25 and 0 is called the O25 Shop, and she has the wildest assortment of miscellany you ever saw - even swords!

WalMart, probably one of the greatest rags to riches success stories ever. Wish I had done it.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 12:04 PM

Wash your mouth out with soap!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 7:43 AM

The mission is located on One Mile Road in Dexter. Go South,and it is before the railroad tracks,on the right, I think it is right after you pass the Launder.

They have GREAT bargains,especially now that we know you don't hoard,you just live with the expectation of recycling an item some day-lol!

Let Oprah do a show on that some day!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 9:47 AM

Come on GL you know that the guy who started WalMart was just a normal every day guy trying to make a living. Maybe it outgrew him I don't know, but what he accomplished is what 99 percent of the other people in this world dream of doing.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 3:08 PM

I don't begrudge the fact that what Sam Walton did - especially at his age - was an absolute wonder, but the thing has become a Frankenstein monster! It's a juggernaut, rolling right over wholesalers, retailers, customers - huge tracts of land - It goes on and on!

I'm not so naive as to believe that all small town America's problems are caused by Walmart - but it certainly has contributed to the disappearance of much that was good about our country - particularly the diversity of products.

I, for one, am not going to contribute another dime to that monstrous conglomerate!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 7:19 PM

Youngest Child, I've never seen Oprah, so no, I didn't see her "clutter" episode. A teeter-totter only goes if someone is on each end, so I suppose "neatniks" are necessary to balance out those people who have the foresight to save the things that one day are realized to be a "keepsake."

YR, I was inside of a WalMart once with someone who picked up some film. I think that overall America would be a better country if WalMart had never existed, but since it is here, all I can do is not patronize it.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 9:52 PM

Sam Walton was a wonderful person, a true visionary who actually cared about other humans,and wanted others and their communities to prosper. His brother Bud,co-founder of Wal-Mart, was also a good person,and shared his brother's knack for starting a revolution in retail!

Shame their genes died with them. I think if Sam or Bud could see what became of their "Made In America" program,and their offspring's decadent,useless lifestyles, they would take a flame thrower to their corporate offices in Arkansas. I will never believe Sam or Bud would have stood for allowing human rights abuses,and basic enslavement in foreign factories that sell wares directly to Wal-Mart.

Yes, they were tough,sharp businessman but I don't think ruthless mercenaries who would sell out their own country for a buck,such as now run their company.They were good men who have people still trading on their goodwill,while putting a shiv in anyone's back who stands in their way.

I have a low opinion of corporate Wal-Mart today-

Sure they make a profit,so does the sex industry,drug dealers and illegal fire arms dealers and I don't admire any of them.

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Mon, Dec 31, 2007, at 9:12 AM

I am positive you are not equating WalMart with those illegal purveyors of goods who operate solely because of a demand.

I guess a whole lot of people don't think like you and I or they wouldn't have customers.

Doesn't make you feel wonderful.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Jan 1, 2008, at 2:45 PM

I.B., you are so sarcastically realistic that it's disgusting!

We don't wanna hear about supply and demand! We wanna keep our old Mom and Pop businesses, no matter how low-tech and inefficient they might have been!!

If I'd been appreciative of supply and demand, I'd have made a better grade in college economics!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 7:57 AM

Good morning on a great new year to you GL. I am not really trying to be sarcastic. I just kind of think that WalMart isn't quite as bad as everyone thinks. They provide employment for a lot of people and provide goods at a price that obviously the majority of people need or want. I think if we shut them down tomorrow we would be a lot worse off.

Tyson's is kind of the same way. They control the chicken market. Did you know that one of the largest runways in the United States was built by the government in Arkansas and the real sole purpose is to allow Tyson's to ship chicken overseas. A million pounds a day goes to Russia alone.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 8:48 AM

Corporate Wal-Mart is bad. They treat people badly.

I have worked for them, I feel I know what I'm talking about. When Sam died,an era died with him.All of his good ideals and honesty went down the pipes,along with the "Made in America-buy American with Pride Program" remember that gem?

Wal-Mart is financially a hair above McDonald's, but I enjoyed working at Mickey's far more than Wally World.

We live in a small rural area where only certain products are available to us at Wally,so I do shop there.I think that all the other big retailers try to emulate a winner,and their employees may have bad feelings towards them too.

Which successful retail giant has a true "Made in America" program?

The head of Nike had the audacity to state that "Americans do not want to work in shoe factories,that is why 100% of Nike is made overseas" That is a big fat lie,since a lot of people in this area would have loved to have kept their shoe factory jobs!

Nike is no better than Wal-Mart, they go to wherever the government standards are lax,the workers will work for pennies with little safety standards,thus maximizing profits while decimating the American shoe industry and victimizing Third World countries under the pretense of "progress". Our own government is screwed out of trillions of dollars of taxes by these pirates and there are many of them.

Wal-Mart just does it with a soft Arkansas accent,quickly being replaced by Northern lawyers and Ivy Leaguer's (sp?)who are fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 11:29 AM

Little touchy huh. I never worked for them so I will have to take your word about the work environment. The way you describe it sounds about like most other large organizations that I have worked for though.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 1:19 PM

I love Target so much more than WalMart. Target donates five percent of its income to community programs. That's $2 million every week, according to several websites. Plus Target has lots more cool stuff and shorter lines than WalMart.

-- Posted by Youngest Child on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 10:39 PM

Wow, YR, that information is dynamite! I had heard such rumors but didn't know the full extent of it.

I.B., bless your little status-quo heart, your philosophy is, "That's the way it's always been, so it must be okay!" However, I suppose the "big guys" in any era have their dirty practices. That's why they're the "big guys."

I agree with you on Target, YC. Lovely merchandise - and I can get through the checkout with my sanity intact!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 7:28 AM

I too have pledged to buy anywhere but Walmart. I'm sure that my absence will not drive them out of business. It's not going to be convenient for my, but enough is enough.

It should be noted that Walmart was buying huge amounts of stuff from overseas even while Sam Walton was hyping his "Buy American" program. It may be that there were no US manufacturers of these products, but I don't think so. The corporation does seem to be increasing the practice now that Sam is gone.

It should also be noted that Walmart has the largest database on who you are and what your shopping habits are of any retailer in the world. I've read that the FBI and the CIA actually drool over the thought of acquiring Walmart's database. I'm kidding about the drooling, but not the database.

-- Posted by Ducky on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 4:59 PM

YR, interesting you bring up Nike. Its humble origin is as amazing as many other multi-billion dollar corporations. But it has never changed what it does, only the scale. It was started in the mid-1960s to distribute sports footwear made overseas. Its original product was footwear made by a Japanese company. To this day Nike distributes products made to its specifications by manufacturers overseas. YC probably knows of the many human rights complaints in overseas factories supplying products to Nike. It isn't because of any grand design, but it has just worked out that I've never bought any Nike branded product.

Ducky, you are super sharp to bring up that WalMart is on the cutting edge of the push to make the U.S. a total surveillance society. WalMart may have the most data on shopping habits, but Google has the most raw information about people, since it keeps the data from all the searches a person makes, it keeps the emails to and from GMail users, etc. Info about a person's buying preferences is so valuable that many stores offer the bribe of a discount card to induce people to surrender the info. CASPIAN is a citizen group opposed to the practice, http://www.nocards.org For several reasons, WalMart hates CASPIAN with a passion!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 5:40 PM

Don't I remember something about the U.S. Government trying to get Google's records???

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 8:08 PM

I am not really status quo, GL. I just know that when and if you become the largest goat farm in the world I will be proud to have blogged with a successful person.

Everyone has data on customers. You have to know about them. Why would you try to sell steak sauce to a car dealership. Why waste your time. You won't be around long doing that.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 9:53 PM

Thanks for the vote of confidence, I.B., but I wouldn't even WANT to have the largest goat farm in the world! I have a strong aversion for business enterprises of any sort.

Not a very practical approach to life, is it?

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 6:25 AM

It might be a happy approach. Ever been around highly successful business people. Not really happy.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 7:25 AM

M D, it would have been your son and dil, I had it wrong. Sorry.

-- Posted by changedname on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 2:08 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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