TRAVEL HERE: A LAMENT FOR SAFETY PINS AND RUBBER BANDS
Have you tried to find a safety pin lately? You know, that thing that will hold some buttons on without sewing. If you’re not careful, they show a little bit when you fix a hem with them, but they’re great in a bind. I’ve never been much of a seamstress, but I can work miracles with a safety pin.
And they used to be so easy to accumulate. The dry cleaners used safety pins to attach your laundry tags, so you got one free with every item you dry cleaned. A never-ending source of one of life’s necessities.
Now the dry cleaners have some gadget that shoots little plastic doohickeys in to hold the tags in place. I’m not a fan of the doohickeys. If you get out of the house with one still attached, you can’t just unpin them. You can try to jerk them off, but sometimes the fabric is too delicate. If the label is in the collar of something, it could drive you to distraction. All that hassle and not a single safety pin.
Here’s the worst part. If asked a few years ago, I would have told you that I had enough safety pins to last a lifetime, even if I never took another item to the dry cleaners. However, a recent search revealed that I only had a dozen or so safety pins left. I may actually have to go out and buy some.
A part of me is wondering if this change from safety pins to plastic doohickeys has killed jobs or created them. Certainly the manufacture of safety pins must be way down, which would also reduce our demand for steel. However, making and marketing the plastic doohickey must have created a whole new industry and then even if every dry cleaner in the world had one, they’d need refills. But then you have to wonder how biodegradable plastic doohickeys are. Will our landfills one day be filled with plastic doohickeys? Is there a bird or a rodent we are endangering with this every growing pile of plastic doohickeys?
And what about rubber bands? At my house, rubber bands used to reproduce themselves like rabbits. I’d be forced to throw away handfuls of the stretchy bits to make room in my junk drawers for other junk. I just checked and I have exactly five. Rubber bands used to hold newspapers together, but then who still takes the newspaper – and even if you do, the papers come in a plastic sleeve so they earn income off the ads they put on them. I can’t remember when I had to take a rubber band off of something.
Besides newspapers, rubber bands held together all the other paper stuff you used to get and though we’re still not exactly paperless, we do think twice before producing the reams of it we used to pass around to one another.
I wonder how long my twelve or so safety pins and five rubber bands will last. Will I actually have to go to the office supply store and purchase some? Tell me, have you been faced with this dilemma?