What Dies First on an iPod
County Tipperary Kenya

Tracking What I WEEE

DICK O'BRIEN sniggers when he weees, Adrian Weckler gets hit for WEEEing at every turn because shops know he has received complimentary gadgets WEEE-free, Brian Greene tenaciously points out other rubbish charges while forsaking the WEEE under his nose. Not me--I'vd been WEEED on and I'm counting the bills. Since December 2005, I have paid at least €130 in WEEE charges. I need to figure out whether I can claim that back as a tax refund. WEEE is everywhere. I went to Dublin, bought a keyboard, and paid a euro in WEEE. They smile at me when I walk into shops, right before they WEEE on me. It is demeaning to be WEEED upon.

My comeback lately is to unpack all newly purchased stuff at the cash till. So yesterday, I asked a Grafton Street shop assistant to cut open the form-fitted plastic surrounding a RS-MMC card and to take back all packing materials surrounding the Bluetooth keyboard that I had just bought. It took yer man nearly four minutes to unpack everything. Then I played dumb and had him install all batteries, slot the RS-MMC card into my Nokia N70 (he did it wrong) and explain to me how I could get the phone to see the keyboard. After he provided incorrect information, I thanked him and left the shop. I'll offer a DIY tutorial next month once I make the generic keyboard work. It's not behaving at first go.

At the end of the first quarter of 2006, I plan to use John Handelaar's FaxYerTD database to present the Irish Environment Minister with my WEEE fee. (Has anyone else noticed that John Handelaar's phone number is as Googleable as his name? Make your number part of your title and you too can be the only person in Google with your name. Better still--all elected representatives should follow the Handelaar best practise of number after name on web properties. Now, back to my mini-rant.) The Minister was the TD who told me, along with millions others listening on national radio, that waste charges would not be passed along to consumers. Right so. Now someone should pay for that declaration of faith in the consumer electronics waste recovery system. If I took the products back to the Dunmore Recycling Yard in Kilkenny, I would have to pay yet again. So shouldn't I get some money back as an incentive not to dump my disused consumer goods at my TD's constituency office? Shouldn't the estate of the recently deceased get a credit from the State if they hand down household appliances from generation to generation? Just some thoughts as I watch my beer money get sucked out of my pockets every time I feed my gadget habit.