The Sweet Smell of Consumerism

Marcel Proust wrote in The Remembrance of Things Past, “when nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory.”

I agree.  When I smell a certain type of grass, I’m transported back in time to my aunt’s home inConnecticut – a place where I associate my fondest childhood memories.  Florist shops always remind me of the many funerals I attended as a child.  What most people consider an unwanted musty smell, also reminds me of my aunt’s basement and good feelings.

I can’t see a thing without my glasses and my husband claims I have selective hearing, but I have an acute sense of smell.  Because I have this gift, I always have a wide selection of body washes, perfumes, potpourri and candles on hand.

But what I think of as normal personal hygiene and good housekeeping has been taken to a whole ‘nother level.

As much as I love the scent of vanilla in just about anything, I really think Glad Products has gone a bit too far.  Glad, along with other companies such as Hefty have, in my opinion, created a “problem” which really wasn’t a problem in the first place and have now convinced the consumer that they have a solution for this non-existent dilemma.

They’ve created odor-blocking garbage bags and Glad has gone so far as to make them in vanilla, fresh lemon and fresh clean scents because consumers need an “olfactory cue” in order to trust that the odor-fighting bag is actually working.

If you’re thinking, “doesn’t Leona have anything else to write about?” think again.  The WSJ devoted over a half a page to smelly garbage.

After I read the article, I had to say to myself, “is this really a problem?”  Apparently it is.  According to Glad’s 2008 survey, 60% of people believe if they can smell the trash, the house is not clean.  Well then, why wait until the trash starts to smell?  Why not just throw it out?  Where’s the problem?

On the same page, the WSJ reported on garbage cans, the size of furniture, which open and close using infrared sensors costing upwards of $250!  If you’re going to use such a huge can and not fill it up for 2-3 days, of course your garbage is going to stink.  Easy solution.  Use a smaller trash can.  I use biodegradable 3 gallon trash bags in our trash can and our garbage never smells.

People mentioned in the article say they freeze their garbage before throwing it away.  One such person said, “it’s better than putting smelly things like fish or meat in the trash to sit for days.”  Well, why is it sitting for days?  I don’t get it.  How difficult is it to walk to wherever the garbage bins are and throw out the garbage?

I’m all for innovation, research and development.  If someone comes up with a product that can make my life easier, I’m all for it.  But is smelly garbage really a problem that needs solving?  Take the damn trash out!  What’s the big deal?

The “odor-cutting technology” is designed in part to persuade consumers to keep spending and pay more for the bags.  I guess that’s also the American way.  Convince people there’s a problem and offer them a solution which costs far more than common sense.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • Sabrina

    And just for the record, dollar stores have been selling cheap, scented bags for years. They didn’t do a good job at eliminating the odor, but they existed nonetheless.

    I’ve used both Glad and Hefty; I prefer the Hefty, they seem to do a better job for me. So well in fact, there’s a trash bag in the bedroom & I can’t smell the diapers. I take out the trash every 2 or 3 days & these bags are great…

  • Sabrina

    try living on the 4th floor, having a hard labor, c-section gone wrong and a slow recovery in an apartment so small the fridge door can’t open all the way because the sink is in the way.

    These bags, used also with the blue sassy bags for poopy diapers were a godsend.

    Even without, there’s nothing wrong with opting to leave a bag of trash to fill (less waste). Even before my pregnancy, I sprinkled baking soda or charcoal in bags to try & limit the odor until the bag filled (the issue is usually limited to the summer; poor air conditioning).

    Anyway, to each his or her own. I appreciate the bags & am glad they’re there. They do work & if you see it as waste, no one’s making you buy them. If you don’t like the many available scents, unscented is available.

  • Roger Ward

    The beauty of consumerism is that you always have the right to say no …. and I do, almost always. As a confirmed and resolute Luddite, almost nothing new piques my interest. If it’s not simple, basic and necessary, there’s no room in my life for it. (Right now I’m trying to figure how to retrieve messages from the $19 cell phone that my girl friend bought for me. Maybe I should just toss it!)

  • Vince Ricardo

    Trash bag technology can only be stretched (sorry) so far. After all, they’ve had drawstrings and been “hefty” for years now. They had to add SOMEthing to make purchasing trash bags “fresh” again.

    When does the “clean linen” one come out? I cannot wait for my trash to smell like freshly washed and dryed clothing. Heh, seriously, just take it out.

    • Vince Is Funny!

      OMG! SOOOOO Funny. I had to email your comment to all my friends and acquaintances; because it is SOOO FUNNY! OMG. You should be a comedian! You should go on world-wide comedy tours, because you are so funny! Wow.

  • Ron

    No one has to buy it. The beauty of the free enterprise system is that we get to choose what we want to purchase. If there are enough consumers who want scented garbage bags, they will survive in the market place. If there aren’t enough consumers, the product will fail as have 1000s of other products.

  • Nancye

    Although I like the lemony smell of Pledge furniture polish, and room fresheners, plus shower gels with various fragrances, I agree with you. Enough is enough!!! Take the “stuff” out. Frankly, I can’t imagine a vanilla fragrance along with the smell of garbage. Ughhhhhhhhh…gag…