Tuesday, May 12, 2015

random and true

This is one of my favorite products:

It's a great everyday lotion, and it's amazing on sunburns too. (especially since my favorite after sun cream was discontinued. thanks a lot, neutrogena.)

Anyway, it's a great lotion. Not too smelly, not greasy, does its job well.

Except in one way.

Take a look at that package design. Notice anything?

It's so convenient--stable, pumps out just the right amount, fits in the cabinet.

And so inconvenient, because of course the last 20% of the product is in the bottom of the bottle but away from the pump. At best, it requires taking the lid off and using the stick part of the pump (what is that called, anyway?) to scoop it out. At worst, there's significant waste.

I am not into waste. I hate wasting things--whether it be lotion or food. So I am the girl whose bathroom is littered with bottles of lotion, propped up upside down, trying to scrape out the last few drops. My refrigerator is full of leftovers (my friend Elizabeth insists that one day I'm going to get some horrible food poisoning from my leftover habit, but 34 years of solid food suggests otherwise). My laundry room has a bottle of detergent that I have literally squeezed. I use my sonic toothbrush until it stops vibrating before I change the batteries. I have, on one occasion, mixed coffees because I didn't have enough of either to make the cup. (two things: 1. This is not recommended. 2. Never do this with wine.) I turn off lights when I'm not in the room, and my TV/DVD player are almost always unplugged. I keep my thermostat at 80 in summer and 60 in winter, because to heat or cool more than that seems wasteful. I have blankets, after all, and a fan and open windows.

So this lotion bottle irks me. I want for manufacturers to think of these things. It's obviously possible to get both the convenience of the pump along with non-wastefulness, as lots of Aveda products are packaged that way. Help me out here, lotion-makers. I should not have to spoon lotion out of the bottom of the bottle.

I could offer a witty reflection on our throwaway convenience culture, and how we are destroying the planet with our consumerism and laziness. I'm pretty sure we all know that already, though.

Instead, I'm thinking about how often we think something seems great--it has 90% of what we want (convenience, aesthetic, quality) and so we go for it...without realizing that the 10% matters far more than it would seem. How do we, as individuals, as families, as churches, as political bodies make choices that sacrifice the 10% (whether that 10% is sustainability, or people)? What seems like a small thing worth compromising, like a design that doesn't all all the lotion to be accessed, or a million families' food security, or a veteran's mental health care, or a potluck with paper plates, or a few flowers on Mother's Day, or a mere pronoun...those seemingly small things add up: to an aching and groaning creation, a dramatic increase in suffering, a lifetime of hurtful theology.

In other words: while compromises must be made, be careful about what they are. The lotion bottle could just as easily have compromised the pump and still been great, without leading to waste. The real dishes can go in a dishwasher. The children who go to bed and to school with full tummies learn better and become productive members of society. The person who hears expansive language finds themselves in the Divine story rather than cast away. And so on and so on.

Everyone is compromised (thanks RAF), the question is: how will we manage those compromises?

dear Aveeno: please solve your lotion bottle problem. love, a devoted fan.

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