Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ban The Nip

I have always held a "No Interference" position when it comes to folks making decisions that I would not have made myself.  I feel bad, but their life, their decision.

Unless, of course, I was asked.  Then, I give my very best advice, referrals if necessary, and support.

The only other time I will speak up, whether I am asked too, or not, is when their bad decisions begin to affect me, and others.

Driving while impaired is one time I will speak up, or act up, depending on the situation.  I will take your keys if you are unable to drive.  I will hold those keys until a police officer comes, and then hand the entire package to them.  I've done it before, I will always do it, even if I don't know jack about you.  Your decision to drive could kill someone.  You've already decided that your life is not worth it, but the other person did not have a voice.  That's where we all come in.  We are the other persons voice by proxy.

So, when I see a scenario that is becoming increasingly more dangerous, and out of control, I will speak up, and I see one getting worse now.

A new nip found beside my front walk this afternoon.
All year long I pickup empty "nip" bottles from in front of my house.  Little empty bottles of vodka, Jack Daniels, brandy, Seagrams 7, Captain Morgan will litter my front lawn year round.  New bottles sprout over night as if planted the previous day.  I pick them up when I see them.

I have always thought it was a bit bizarre that they appeared on my lawn.  Why?  Well, the reason is that the package store down the street has a fishbowl of nips set up on the checkout counter as a point of sale feature.  Much like the candy offered in the check out line at Stop & Shop, the nips are offered for the convenience of those wanting to toss back a few before getting home for the day.

That is the only purpose of a nip bottle.  People don't buy nips to stockpile at home.  People buy nips to suck down, and toss.

They purchase one or more, go out to their car, and by the time they have headed north on Route 148 two tenths of a mile, the bottle is empty, and planted on my lawn.

Littering I expect.  I don't like it, but I live on a state road.  It's going to happen.  Drinking, and driving I expect as well, but making it convenient to do so, is something I don't want to see happen.

I would like to see nip bottles banned in town.

There I said it.  Boy, that's going to tick a few people off, but the neat thing is most won't say a word. It'd look bad.

They serve no purpose other than what I mentioned above.  People don't go to the liquor store, and stock on tiny bottles of liquor.  Unless, of course, they are the size of a smurf, and it's going to last the month.

If you want to be a grownup, and have a grownup cocktail, then buy a fifth of your favorite spirit, bring it home, and open it there.  The nip bottle may have served a function at one time, in a different era with a different mindset.  It is irrelevant today.

One of our living room chairs is about 15 feet from the road.  I never want to meet you while I am sitting in that chair. 

I am offering this up to those at the helm of our town.  I would like to see some conversation at the town hall about ridding the town of this useless, and potentially dangerous item.

I know.  I sound like some cranky old curmudgeon one step away from yelling, "You kids get off of my lawn!", but think about it.

The nip bottle serves what purpose? 

Placing a couple of dozen of them in a fishbowl at the register says what? 

Maybe it's me.  Maybe I just am tired of some people risking the safety, and lives of others for no reason.

But, that's how we curmudgeons roll.  Now, get off of my lawn.


  1. Its an idea with legs. BUT what about nippers stocking up in Holland, Brimfield, Southbridge or any other abutting town? My guess is unless one can tie the offending nippers to Sturbridge (practically impossible) any type of ban is a long shot. Yankee will scream bloody murder at any such proposal and as one of the biggest commercial retailers in town highly unlikely the Select-wimmen and Mr. Moran will ever take any positive action. But a good idea in spirit anyway. Those little bottles on the roadside everywhere really suck. People.--and it's mostly Swamp Yankee Kids in BeaterJeeps cruising at night doing the tossing I've observed-- can be such pigs.

  2. Instead of putting it on a local level, If you feel that strongly about the subject, a state tax on a nip of oooh say $0.25 should do it. You don't see many coke cans lying around as they are worth money. You even see people picking trash cans for them. The only reason they toss the nips is not to get caught in a traffic stop with an empty in the car. Maybe a NIP camera covertly placed, recording the plate number of the tosser as we do have a stiff fine for littering in place.

  3. I like the idea of a nip camera. A deposit on the nip won't deter those tossing them to escape having an empty. Regulating the size of alcohol containers for sale would be helpful, but I am sure it would have to be addressed at the state level. Not sure if a local ordinance would be valid...but dure worth looking into.

  4. Just finished Earth day pickup on New Boston Rd (Between Hamilton & first house north on NB) - would have filled more than 5 bags in that about 1-mile stretch if we'd been able to get more! Right on target about nips - get a deposit on every bottle, but also change the law so that ANY identifiable container can be redeemed. Try putting a crushed can or bottle into Yankee's machines and see how quickly it gets rejected - even though Ray Charles would recognize it as worth 5 cents!

  5. I was just having this conversation yesterday after picking up several nip bottles along side the road in Carlisle. I would never propose another tax in this state...people draw it like a gun in the wild west around heee. Trouble is, it just seems to end up putting an elected official in a nicer suit. Perhaps cut out the middleman and drop a deposit on them. At the very least it provides an incentive to not toss them out the window or dog walkers to pick them up. Manufacturers can be made to pony up as well as long as elected officials are Willing to sponsor legislation to support it. With proper encouraging manufacturers will do the right thing.

  6. I think that those that drink and drive could care less about a deposit fee, or tax. The method of sales should be controlled. Single bottles should be banned, and they should not be offered at the point of sale like a bowl of mints at a restaraunt. I hope this could be handled locally.


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