Monday, February 27, 2012

And The Swag Goes To...

Last night ended the awards season with the grand-daddy of them all – The Oscars.

The Oscars have always been my favorite awards show (probably because I want to win one).

But this year, my favorite awards show was The Writers Guild of America Awards (of course I’m partial because my husband produced them).

I love to get all dressed up and I got to see my friends as well as some of my favorite celebs.

When my friend and I got to our seats, we found a program and a box of chocolates.  I had not eaten all day (so that my dress would look good) so by the time we sat down, I was ready to gnaw my hand off.  The chocolates were a happy surprise.

The evening was hysterically funny and everyone had the best time.

At the end of the evening, we said our good-byes and made our way towards the door.

Suddenly I paused a moment.  I felt as if I had forgotten something.  I did a quick check but I had everything I came with.

We continued out the door and I stopped abruptly.  “My Swag Bag!”

I turned around and ran back inside only to find…nothing.

Where was the bag of unwanted things that I will either give away or never use?  Every awards show gives away “The Swag Bag!”  Or at least I thought they did.

After my initial shock was over, I suddenly realized that the chocolates were the swag.

And I wasn’t disappointed (and not because I was starving).

Don't get me my days before I turned eco-psycho I was all about a bag of free stuff.

But now, I try to consume less and I’m pretty much married to the eco-friendly products I use so I was actually relieved that I didn’t have to go home and empty out this bag of things I felt guilty about getting rid of because someone went to a lot of trouble to get.

There are actually two definitions of Swag from the Urban Dictionary.  One describes it as appearance, style or the way one presents themselves.  The other is actually an acronym for Stuff We All Get.

I like the “way one presents themselves” definition better because I want to present myself as someone who works hard to make choices that are better for our planet.

S.W.A.G. – Someone Who Acts Globally!  Hmmm…

So if the WGA awards weren’t already the cream of the crop of 2012, they certainly became that by eliminating their Swag Bag.

If you must Swag, then think about this:

1. What did this item have to go through to get to me and my guests?
2. Will more than one person actually use this?
3. Would I use it?

Once your rules are in place, use these ideas to make your Swag Bag one that means:

Stuff We All Gobble-up
 1. Use a fold up, reuseable bag like a Chico that fits nicely in your purse or pocket.
2. Add fruit to the bag instead of wasteful, processed, packaged foods.
3. Enclose a card for a free issue to a magazine rather than the actual one.
4. Make sure the items are high-quality and not junk - like maybe an organic t-shirt.

But the best Swag of all is Spending the Weekend Amongst Good-friends-and-food.

Now that’s some Swag I can get on board with.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'll Have A Grande, Cafe Attitude with Extra Waste

The old saying is fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.  What is it if you fool me 400 times?

That's my relationship with Starbucks.  Actually, my relationship with the coffee giant is more like the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

In past blogs, I've talked about their use of the small, plastic plugs in their cup covers to prevent spillage, the cardboard sleeves slipped over the reusable mug and the making of my drink in a cup which is then poured into my reusable mug.

But the other day was the visit that broke the camel's back.

I was craving a Peppermint Mocha.  I handed my reusable mug over to the barista with my instructions: non-fat milk and no whip.

She took the mug, placed it down on the counter, then grabbed a paper cup and wrote my order on it.

"Excuse me...but did you just use another cup to write down my order?"

She looked at me blankly. "Yes."

I felt my blood pressure rising.  I tried to take some deep breaths.

"I'm sorry but I gave you a reusable mug.  The whole point of the reusable mug is to not use paper and save the trees!"

But she didn't care.  She called the next customer over and told me to wait "over there" for my drink.

"I want to cancel my order and speak to your manager."

The manager came over and I told him the story.  His reply was a simple "She's not supposed to do that," followed by "The cup won't go to waste. Those are the cups we use."

Can you say "contradiction"?

I knew at that moment that this was a regular practice.  And it still didn't solve the tree problem, which I pointed out.  By this time, the barista was not a happy camper and she began to yell at me. "I don't give a damn about the planet!"  To which I replied "You will when there's no planet left for you or your kids!"

At this point I knew that it was time to exit the store.  I took my cup back - sans the Peppermint Mocha.  I was not about to give my $5 to a place that didn't give a crap about our planet.

From that moment on I decided to boycott the coffee chain.  I figured out how to make my own peppermint mocha using organic, fair-trade coffee and cocoa.

The next time you go into an establishment with your own cup, take a look behind the counter.  Are they really using your mug?

Or are they fooling you too?