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Bottle Deposits and Kidenomics

By Dean Norman

Not much is being said these days about bottle deposits. I suppose returning bottles is not important compared to other stuff that is happening.

I wonder how many people really bother to return bottles to a store? Five cents is not much. One could make an argument that if the deposit was more, then more people would return bottles.

I say one could make the argument because I may be the only one making it. Back in the day I would return a pop bottle for a two-cent deposit. A 12 ounce Pepsi cost five cents. Two-and-a-half empty bottles would buy another Pepsi. Five bottles would buy a Superman comic book or two double dip ice cream cones. A five-cent deposit today is way too little to reward people for returning bottles. A Superman comic book costs about \$6. So a bottle deposit today ought to be \$1.20.

Let’s compare the cost of double dip ice cream cones to yesterday and today. Last time I bought a double dip ice cream cone I think it was about \$2.50. Maybe \$3. If it was \$3, then a bottle deposit today should be \$1.20.

Well, I am making these comparisons from the day when the first Superman comic book was published in 1938. I was in second grade then and just able to read comic books. And able to go to the corner store with some pennies or empty pop bottles to buy pop, ice cream cones or comic books. Me and my friends would sometimes spend half a day searching vacant lots for empty pop bottles.

Not many of us Depression kids are still around. But I think many people can compare the kidenomics of their childhood to the economics of today. Let’s raise the deposit for bottles and cans to \$1.20.

— Dean Norman

Dean Norman is a cartoonist and humor writer, whose work has appeared in greeting cards, The New Yorker, MAD Magazine, The Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine and The Kansas City Star. He's also written comedy for cartoon shows and written and illustrated children's books. He illustrated a cartoon book for Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland Metroparks Adventures.

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