Sunday, August 20, 2006


I don’t mind tossing out your (paid-for) wrappers, bottles, or cups. Sometimes, though, it’s easier to point out the wastebasket behind you. If the register next to mine is not in use, you have an unobstructed shot at a trash can.

Be wary, though. Underneath the register are two bins. One is red, the other blue. The red one is a built-in bin lined with a clear bag. The blue one is a Rubbermaid container, probably not unlike the one you’re buying today.

The red one is for trash, and the blue one is for hangers.

If the red one is empty, or has only papers in it, it’s a reasonable mistake. If the red one is full of litter and garbage, well, people overlook things. It’s an easy mistake to make, but still an unpleasant one.

See, we reuse hangers. You’re allowed to keep them, if you like; just ask and they’re yours. But the ones you don’t take home end up back on the racks.

Now, when you throw out that last half-inch of Pepsi, or the used tissue, or the wad of gum, imagine that applied directly to the pretty sweater you’re buying. Yeah.

Of course, I have slightly more selfish motives. After all, Target employees – often cashiers – have to empty the hanger bins, which generally means dumping them from one bin to the other, and digging the strays by hand. Now, this shouldn’t be a big deal, and usually isn’t. But where there’s half a soda in there, it could end up on the floor and our clothes – and maybe yours, if you’re standing too close. And if it’s a dirty tissue or gum… We get to wear gloves when we deal with trash. Hanger bins aren’t supposed to have trash in them, so no gloves.

Disgusted? Me too. Red is trash. Blue is hangers.

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