This isn’t going to end well.

In a ridiculous moment of overreaching idealism the state of New Jersey passed a save the planet law and one phase of it begins Thursday, November 4. In the same legislation that bans single-use plastic bags (that phase begins in 2022) plastic straws will no longer be allowed to be given out unless a customer specifically asks for one.

Which, of course, they won’t know they’re supposed to ask.

Which will lead to thousands of variations of the following hostile exchange between customer and window clerk.

“Hey, you forgot my straw.”

“I didn’t forget sir.”

“You see a straw in dis bag hotshot?!”

“No sir you don’t understand, we’re no longer -“

“Nah kid YOU don’t understand there’s no goddamn straw in here now give me a straw.”

“That’s what I needed sir.”

“Needed what?”

“You to ask for a straw.”


“Sir, here’s your straw, it’s just that there’s a new law that we can only give out straws upon request.”

“Well how was I friggin’ supposed to know dat!?”

“There is a little sign back on the speaker, sir.”

“I didn’t see no sign!”

“It’s there sir.”

“You got a bad attitude you know that kid?”

“And you now have a straw sir. Thank you for asking for one.”

“Aww should I say pretty please next time? Go f#%* yourself, how ‘bout dat?! Why didn’t YOU just ask ME if I wanted a straw?”

“I can’t sir. You have to ask me. That’s how it works.”

“Oh my freakin’ God!”

Burns out of parking lot so fast straw blows out window.

So if you work in the restaurant biz get ready for a nasty earful as people try getting used to this.

Here are the numbers that are supposed to make our eyes pop open and say gosh I guess we really DO need to cut back on plastic straws. Last October Clean Ocean Action volunteers collected 10,601 straws or stirrers. That’s the entire state. It’s not that many. Not in the overall scheme of things.

The fifth most common item found on the beaches of our state in 2017 was a straw. 30,000 of these godless creatures were picked up off our beaches by volunteers that year.

Okay, so maybe, just maybe, littering is the problem and not straws? Because there is this brand new thing you know, it’s called recycling? So perhaps instead of banning things we could crack down on the actual problem which would be slobs?

The straw law is going to be annoying and cause more problems than it’s worth. But the problems associated with next year’s plastic bag ban?


The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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