please pack light

… come on … everybody sing … do the right thing …

Although I was a bit late to the party, I watched An Inconvenient Truth a few weeks back. In my post-movie, environmentally-friendly haze, I decided that I’d try and replace all of the light bulbs in my home with compact fluorescent ones. You know, CFLs, those spiral shaped ones that draw little power and last for years and years.

I went to Home Depot the next day and found their massive selection of bulbs. I grabbed some for my outdoor motion-sensor lights, some for my bathroom lights, some for my kitchen, but could not find any bulbs that could be used with three-way lamps or dimmers… in Home Depot! where they have EVERYTHING! So I stopped at Albertsons on the way home — nope, none there either. They still have a big selection of incandescent bulbs, but I’m on a mission here.

I brought home those that I could use and put them in to use. I jumped online to find some dimmable and three-way bulbs. I was shocked and surprised to discover that they’re not that easy to find online either. The only place that I could find that sold what I wanted was an Ace Hardware Outlet in New York. This is crazy, I thought, but I placed an order anyway and as of yesterday, I have a bunch more lights and lamps using the CFLs. So, lesson number one is that these things are tough to find, but that’s not the worst of it.

I have a beef with packaging. The wasted paper and plastic that goes in to the packaging of goods for sale these days is crazy. On top of that is the way they do that hard molded plastic that’s secured by heat-sealing the pieces together into sharp-edged, ridiculously hard to open containers. You NEED a knife or scissors to open them, forget about trying to tear them. You know the ones I mean. Well, the CFL manufacturers, in all their environmentally-friendly wisdom, have decided to use such packaging for their products. I feel like, while I’m trying to do the right thing here, they’re fixing one thing and breaking another. Why not use compact, recycled paper packages, like regular bulbs are packed in? I recognize that the bulbs are a little more fragile, and that due to their contents they need to be secured a little more tightly, but it’s silly that one good move is offset by an equally bad one.

Mr CFL manufacturer, please, rethink your packaging. Mr CFL retailer, please stock more options. Mr Consumer, please do what you can too.

And after this public service announcement, I now return you to your regular schedule. Please move along.

2 Replies to “please pack light”

  1. dumb indeed….

    well done on finding the dimmer bulbs. i know you’re not meant to put the standard ones in there but i’ve used them for a while and they don’t seem to blow them prematurely

    anyways, one of the songs you sent came up on my ipod shuffle so figured i’d go on a hunt for your website again, which i (amazingly) still remember the address! tried looking for you on facebook

  2. You can put the regular ones in the dimmers, but when I did this in my kitchen (yes, I know, who the hell has a dimmer in their kitchen), the light switch buzzed constantly and the lights in the living room flickered. I’m having an electrician come out to check on things, because that’s just a little disconcerting.

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