Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bootlegging detergent 

Hey, yo, got any Electrasol?

The Washington State - Idaho border has become a sieve for illegal smuggling of dishwasher detergent. Seriously. Washingtonians living in Spokane County, unable to purchase the good stuff in their home county because of a ban on the sale of detergents that have high amounts of phosphate as an ingredient, drive over the border to Idaho on Interstate 90, stop at their dealer's pad a Costco, load up and drive west back home. The route has become known as "phosphate alley." OK, I might have made up that last part.

The persistence of Spokane residents has resulted in the cleanest contraband ever.

It turns out the hard water in Spokane prevents the more eco-friendly detergents from being fully effective, and that people actually like to have their dishwashers wash their dishes so that the dishes come out, you know, clean.

There's nothing like the Law of Unintended Consequences. Not only are people burning more gasoline than they would otherwise, some who are obeying the low phosphate rule in Spokane are running their dishwashers longer and using more power and water -- using the brute force method to get those dishes clean.

Cue Glen Frey.

UPDATE: It is not actually illegal to transport the detergent across county or state lines, as is implied or stated in the first sentence above ("illegal smuggling"). The law forbids the sale of the high phospate detergent in the county. So, there's no need to make a clean getaway if you have a big load of soap in your trunk. Still, the Glen Frey tune seemed appropriate, and we provide a link to an alternative version as suggested by commenter DEC.


By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sat Mar 28, 09:48:00 AM:

Here is the music video of Glenn Frey's "Smuggler's Blues" (different from the Miami Vice clip):


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Mar 28, 09:57:00 AM:

Look for more laws to "fix" the problems cause by to old laws.  

By Anonymous Ron Russell, at Sat Mar 28, 05:02:00 PM:

Many rights were lost over the years in the name of "public safety" the new kid on the block now is "enviromental safety", might as wll get use to it. This new champion of the people will have us give up many freedoms we now enjoy. It's a monster and it hungery.

New to your blog, but will return. I like what I see.  

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