Etc...

Here come some more, boss

In recent weeks, operators of supermarkets have noticed an impressive spike in the numbers of people flocking to their stores across the southern Netherlands. And they're not happy about it. In fact, as a spokeswoman for the industry's trade association puts it, "It's obviously an annoyance." Because? Well, because many of these folks aren't coming in to load up on groceries. Instead, they want to redeem armloads of empty soft-drink bottles. And on top of that, they aren't even Dutch. They are from neighboring Belgium, where Coca-Cola already was selling its product in the identical size and type of plastic container that only recently has been introduced in the Netherlands. Oh, one other thing: Unlike Belgium, Dutch redemption centers pay a 30-cent deposit for each returned bottle. Speaking for the company, Marte van Esser took issue with a TV news report that the returns are "massive." There are, she acknowledged, "incidents, but I probably wouldn't use [that] word." And her counterpart over at the supermarket association said she doubts any of the returners are becoming "millionaires."

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