You may or may not have heard about the story of a woman in Detroit who, after her car broke down, began walking to work, and then found $15,000 dollars in a plastic bag on the side of the road one day. When you read this story, you might have some initial thoughts: what kind of cold world do we live in that a person has to walk to work (almost three miles each way) for nearly a year; how good does a person have to be, when walking to work three miles each way to a job that doesn’t pay enough for a new car or to fix their currently broken car, and just hand over that much money?
But my first thought is: who just picks up a random plastic bag off of the street? I’ve done a lot of walking in my life, and seen a lot of random things on the ground, and almost none of it is what I’d be willing to touch. (Raffy, however, would happily lap up most stuff he finds on our walks…) I was raised to believe that when I come across something on the ground that I didn’t put there, then that thing is trash, and you don’t pick it up.
Then I started working for Amy.
We play this game called “Is It Product, or Is It Trash?” Here’s how you play:
You look at something that’s on the ground in the studio.
You ask, “Is that product or is it trash?”
You pick it up.
(Optional) You ask Amy, “Is this product, or is it trash?”
If it’s product, you put it back — it’ll be handy at some point in the future. If it’s trash, you put it back — we’ll tear down all the boxes at some point in the future.
It might not sound like a game to you — and really, you’re right, it’s not. But we call it a game because what else are we supposed to do? Tell ourselves, “we’re surrounded by trash”?
Anyways, we decided to let you all play, and see how you do.
This box we have in the back corner of the studio.
It’s product! You can tell because it’s still in its plastic packaging. However, all those tiny boxes on the shelves behind this box? Trash.
This box we have in the entryway of our studio. And yes, that is a rug rolled up and stacked on top of the box. A rug that we bought for the Dallas market but ultimately did not use.
It’s product! There’s really no way to tell, you just do like I do and take Amy for her word that it’ll be useful later on.
This one should be easy. This box sits behind Amy, on the floor, while she packages.
It’s trash! You can tell because it has other boxes inside of it (this rule does not apply to all “Is It Product, or Is It Trash” rounds, as seen in Round 2).
This dirty, slightly crushed box we have in a different back corner of the studio, surrounded by other dirty, slightly crushed boxes.
It’s product! This is where we keep all our extra seed balls when I’m too lazy to assemble them all at once.
And finally, this box we have next to our shipping station.
Trick. It’s trash! Though these Self Care Decks are still in their original packaging, we can’t use them for anything. I don’t actually know why. Just like the town’s decrepit box in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” this box has been here since before I joined. And I just take Amy’s word for it that they're trash.