Friday, March 9, 2001

Bottle Bill E-mails

Here is an interesting series of Bottle Bill events related to debate going on in Iowa:

From: "Emerson, Myra"
To: "Rex L. Bavousett"
Subject: Bottle Returns at John's Grocery
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 16:47:00 -0600

Hi Rex,

I was going to write to both you and Joe Bolkum, but couldn't find his e-mail address. The other day my husband and I were returning some bottles to John's Grocery here in Iowa City. We have done this before--they have a brand of ginger beer that we can't find anywhere else around here. But this time they said they have a new bottle return policy, which is that you have to go down a creaky stairway into their cellar, wind around many cases of beer, etc., and finally get to a small table where you return your bottles. I had to call out "Hello" before anyone came to give us a refund. Then we wound our way back to the stairs, and actually had to pull on a string to open the cellar door to get back on the main floor! I heard the person at the counter telling someone else they had to do this too, and there was a hand-lettered sign announcing their new bottle policy.

I believe this new "policy" was put in place to discourage people from returning their bottles. This will cause lots of bottles not to be returned anywhere, because John's carries many brands of beer (and wine too, I think) that aren't sold anywhere else in town. I think this at least goes against the spirit (and possibly the letter) of the Bottle Bill which is still the law.

From: "Foege, Ro"
To: "Rex L. Bavousett"
Subject RE: Bottle Returns at John's Grocery
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 17:56:37 -0600

Actually, I've returned bottles and I have had the interesting experience of going to the "cellar". Since "Dirty John's" has one of the best selection of wines anywhere in the state, we go there frequently. I personally did not have a problem with returning the bottles and retailers can evidently set the return policy. It is their decision whether or not to accept bottles or cans which could impact their business.

Thanks for taking time to let me know about this concern.
Ro Foege

Rep. Ro Foege
House District 50
Des Moines, IA 50319

Representative Foege,

You may not mind going down into a dirty cellar to return bottles, but what about people who are disabled and can't navigate the stairs? What about people who might be afraid to e down there alone? Also, I am not sure I agree with your interpretation of the law that retailers can refuse to accept bottles "which could impact their business." The law clearly sets out circumstances under which returned cans and bottles can be refused. John's Grocery's return policy applies to all cans and bottles that people bring back there.

Myra Emerson

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