Goodbye Big Jug!

Filling a hand soap dispenser from the Body Shop with cheap stuff may seem like a trick, but really I just want to re-use the dispenser. Really!
Filling a hand soap dispenser from the Body Shop with cheap stuff may seem like a trick, but really I just want to re-use the dispenser. Really!

Why do Americans have Thanksgiving on a Thursday?

Well, why not?

A deeper question is why, after they spend Thursday celebrating their families and expressing their gratitude for the richness of their lives, do they wake up early the next morning to fight the madding crowds and buy more stuff they don’t need?

Black Friday is tomorrow. It is a day of retail frenzy where stores reduce prices on a limited number of highly-desired products to reward the people who line up the night before. I would think sleeping in public discomfort all night would make me wonder how deeply under a spell of consumerism I am. Does it not occur to these shoppers?


As for me, I will be enjoying the Anti-Black Friday: Buy Nothing Day. An inspired concept by Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine, Buy Nothing Day challenges us to pay attention to the consumer-crazed culture around us–and buy nothing.

The dubious tradition of Black Friday has bled over the border into Canada, ostensibly to help Canadian retailers keep their customers shopping locally instead of crossing the border for bargains.

I told you about my Big Jug o’ Hand Soap, older than my kids and filled with questionable chemicals. Well friends, the day has arrived. O happy, happy day! I have emptied the Big Jug!

Hand soap is hardly something the stores are using to lure shoppers out of bed on Friday morning, but it’s the symbol that counts. This is a big jug of water with a little (mildly toxic) soap mixed in. A bar of soap takes up much less space in the distribution truck, requires less packaging and will last longer while doing the same job.

We have been convinced that the split second more time it takes to wash with solid soap is worth the overpackaging. Or maybe we find dealing with slippery soap too messy. The antidote to these impulses is the joy of doing the right thing. (A bar of soap demands we spend more time lathering, too, which makes for cleaner hands, right?)

Here is what it looks like when you take a series of selfies in a bathroom that really needs a good clean.

Yeesh that mirror is embarrassing. We do clean it sometimes, you know.

One final reason I am happy to be rid of the big jug is how easy it is to find local non-toxic soaps. Solid soap is so cheap and lasts so long you may as well get the good stuff.

Last weekend at a silent auction in support of the Haney Farmers’ Market, we outbid everyone for a set of soaps handmade by the marvelous Jennifer Zickerman who has a home-business called Field to Fork Herbs. She also happens to be my web-master. Hi Jen!

However, to tell the truth, I don’t think I’m going to need to buy soap much. Solid soap lasts a long time. We have so many bars we picked up in hotel rooms or had given to us that we’ll be OK for a while. Look how long it took us to finish that big jug!

That's some good soap!
That’s some good soap!

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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