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In the State of CT, there’s a container deposit law where a consumer is required to pay a nickel deposit on a soda can or other carbonated beverages.   The idea is to incentivize recycling by ensuring the container is returned to a redemption center (grocery store) in exchange for the nickel.  To most folks, it’s not worth the effort for a measly nickel.  If anyone has experience with this, they’ll probably agree it’s a time consuming dirty job.

Despite the troublesome effort, I like to proudly say that I return soda-cans for the nickel deposit.

However, I’m smart about the process.

Several of my colleagues are complete soda addicts consuming anywhere from 1-3 cans per day.  Over the span of a month, these colleagues drink a lot of soda where it can add up to a decent chunk of change.

To avoid the time consuming and dirty can collecting task, I’ve asked these soda-drinking colleagues, if they were going to discard their soda cans anyway to put them in a cardboard box located under my desk.  Nearly all my co-workers had no problems obliging to my request.

The net result was a sizeable amount of soda-cans stacked neatly right-side up so that none of the residual soda spills out.  The only time consuming part is driving to the grocery store and depositing each can into the redemption machine.  Since I have to go to the grocery store anyway, the only real incremental opportunity cost is spent depositing each can into the machine, which doesn’t take long anyway to do.

Now, as an engineer, I’m making a perfectly good salary to obviate the need for this can collecting scheme.

By having to ask my colleagues to give me their soda cans, it could give them thoughts as to “why is this guy wasting his time” collecting soda cans for a minuscule deposit or revelations about my financial stability.

There’s a certain stigma when someone collect cans.  You normally think such an activity is relegated to the low income people or people in need of money.

To be exact, I really don’t care about what my colleagues have to say.  I don’t feel any embarrassment asking soda drinkers to drop off their cans in my little box at my desk.

In fact, several months after I started this soda-can collection effort, three other colleagues followed suit after seeing how effortless my process was and that no one really cared about the stigmas associated with collecting soda cans.

 

WHAT’S THE MORAL OF THE STORY? 

Newbie homeowners may sometimes be on the fence about renting out a room simply because your giving off signals about your financial stability to your neighbors.  After all, the extra cash is the number one motivation for renting out a room in your house.  The stigma associated with renting out a room amongst your neighbors may be enough of a deterrent to end all thoughts about renting out a room.

Here’s my advice to anyone that’s been in this situation:

Don’t think about what other people or neighbors will think, you’re only second guessing yourself.

Like in the case with my soda-can collecting gig, I never in my right mind would have imagined that three other colleagues would imitate my idea.  This may very well be the same scenario with your neighbors.  Once they realize how smart or acute you’re in making a little cash on the side, they might be envious and follow your lead.

 

{ 4 comments }
  • Jeffrey February 27, 2012, 2:29 pm

    That’s a perfect analogy for renting out rooms! Even if they don’t come around to how beneficial your idea is, it’s not always best to follow the beliefs of the masses.

    Reply
  • Buzz March 2, 2012, 8:49 pm

    I am with you on not caring about what anyone else has to say regarding things I choose to do. I usually rinse out aluminum cans and plastic bottles before collecting them, this helps keep the sticky residual liquid in check.

    Reply
  • Joe June 11, 2012, 7:58 pm

    Do people really worry about these things? Anyone who would judge you for renting out rooms is not someone whose judgement should concern you!

    Reply
  • Heather January 27, 2015, 11:18 am

    Thank you for bringing up this topic, it describes and experience that I am going through now renting out rooms occasionally at my townhouse. My new neighbors have complained to the board who are now stating that me renting rooms constitutes as a business and I must cease. This is unfortunate because it something that I enjoyed doing and was not harming anyone. I don’t see it as a business. Has anyone else shared a similar experience?

    Reply

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