If anyone has seen the classic Seinfeld episode “The Bottle Deposit” than you are probably familiar with what I am about to tell you. The State of Michigan offers ten cents apiece to anyone that returns their empty bottles or cans. This became the form of currency that a great many of us abided by back in our younger days. Now, when most of us get done with a soda we toss it into our garbage can. In Michigan however, empty cans and bottles are something like a form of currency. See, once a week or so some of us would go into the garage with a garbage bag and fumble through the cut in half refrigerator box to collect cans. We knew that each can found put us one step closer to renting Rocky 3 for the fifty third time.
You couldn’t just walk in and give a video store your cans. One would have to take them somewhere else to get them counted, get your money and then go rent Rocky 3 for the fifty third time. This meant you had to go into that weird back room of the grocery store to count them and then inform the clerk of how many you had. Or depending on which store you went to, you had to stand at the customer service counter and count them out in full view of the other patrons. Who were likely looking at you like, “look at that poor bastard having to count all those cans.”
Some adults when it came to can counting took it to extremes. They would save up all of their cans for the entire year. Lord only knows where they would keep the damned things. They would then fill up what seemed like an entire conversion van with garbage bags of tin aluminum cans. The process of counting them would take upwards of an hour and then they would walk away with perhaps enough to buy a case of beer to start the whole process over again. It’s just like a certificate of deposit, just with cans and bottles. And it’s possibly dripping a mixture of several substances out of a partially sliced up garbage bag when you go to cash it in.