Making haste to buy stuff that makes waste

Wednesday, December 26, 2012   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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At long last, our dream has come true, freeing us from a drudgery that has oppressed so many people over the past 500 years or so – namely, having to use our hands to open a bottle of wine.

Yes, the electric corkscrew is here, and just in the nick of time for that fabulous New Years Eve party you're throwing! Not just one high-tech cork-puller is offered, but an entire bazaar of wine-opening gizmos is available from such enterprising purveyors of completely-unnecessary convenience as Epicureanist, Metrokane, Oster, Ozeri, Waring, and Wine Enthusiast. New York Times writer William Grimes describes the devices as "sublime pointlessness." He has a point there, since popping a cork is not one of life's great burdens, since beaucoup, super-cheap, super-simple extractors have long existed. These manual tools are not merely low-tech, they're no-tech. Even drunk people can use them.

But where's the pizazz in those? As Grimes describes the zippy, battery-powered cork gadgets, one places the cylindrical device atop a wine bottle's cork, presses a button and," with a hum or a whir, the corkscrew spiral, known as a worm, insinuates itself into the cork, easing it upward and out of the bottle." This is showbiz, baby – and one-upsmanship, too, for you're quietly saying to bedazzled guests: "Hey, I've got one of these and you don't!"

However, if you want to counter such smugness, here's a free tip: many good wines now come with twist-off screw caps, so bring one of those, and you'll be sipping your fruit-of-the-vine while electronic-man is still trying to position his worm.

Does anyone really need this stuff? Of course not – zillions of them will end up in landfills in a year's time. To wean yourself and others from such excess, check out Annie Leonard's website: www.StoryOfStuff.org.

"It Comes With a Twist," The New York Times, December 13, 2012.

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