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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: pulltab.txt

Do you know someone who's collecting pull tabs from pop and beer cans for kidney dialysis? You'd better give them a printout of this!





Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
Subject: Pull-Tab Investigation results (long)


I headed up a "back-track" investigation of this BS once a few years ago 
in an attempt to find the source of the rumor and stop it.  What we found 
was very interesting:

At the time I was doing volunteer work for a charitable organization.  Our
local chapter of the American Kidney Foundation was getting call after
call after call from people asking where they were supposed to bring their
10 pounds or 20 pounds, or more, of pull-tabs for the "poor kid needing 
dialysis."

Well we got pretty tired of it and pretty angry, too (after all, if these 
folks had used the same energy for something REAL, maybe something good 
could have been accomplished).

We figured, maybe we could get these people to put their energies to some 
good use and actually volunteer for the American Kidney foundation.  (We 
couldn't have been more wrong.)

Well, we gathered up the names, addresses and phone numbers from the next 
ten people who called and asked them why they were collecting the pull-tabs.

The stories all shared one exact same quality:  they ALL entailed a 
"double-removal" from the source.  That is to say, the tabs were never 
being collected specifically for the person collecting them, they were 
never being collected for someone once removed from the collector, like a 
friend, a relative, a co-worker.

No, they were ALL for the acquaintance of an acquaintance.

Everyone said something like:  "My boss' secretary has a son who 
needs dialysis, I collect the tabs and give them to my boss who gives
them to his secretary so the kid can get the dialysis."

When we followed all the 10 stories back one step, the source receded one 
step.  In the Example, above, when we talked to the boss about his 
secretary's son, the boss would say, "No, no.  It's not for her son, I 
give them to her because her son has a little friend in school who needs 
the dialysis."

Then we'd follow it to the secretary and it would recede back yet another 
step, "No, it's not for my son's friend, it's for my son's friend's 
father.  He's the one who needs the dialysis."

Now by this time the plastic garbage bag of pull-tabs had been added to 
and passed down the line.  And its contents were growing at each step.

Each person said, "Yes, and I have three or four other people collecting 
for me, too."

Well, we'd follow it back another step and, yup, it'd recede yet another 
step.  The son would say, "Nah, my friend's dad is fine.  It's for his 
dad's sister."

Well, we tracked all ten of these back at least 5 steps before we quit 
and at each step it would recede one step further.

In two of the ten cases we discovered something  VERY interesting.

Now think about this a moment.  Collector  C  knows the person s/he gets 
the tabs from, person B but, usually doesn't have any knowledge of who 
person B gets the tabs from.  In the other direction, collector C knows 
the person s/he gives the tabs to, person D but, probably has never met 
the person that person D gives them to.  After all, how many of us know 
who the friends of our friends are?

Now, in two of the cases, the distribution went something like this:


                   _________ A
                  |         \|/
                  ^          B
                  |         \|/  the little "twigs" are people who collect
                  ^          C   for person C and give the tabs to him/her/
                  |         \|/
                  ^          D
                  |           \|/
                  ^ <---------- E

You, you've got it right!  In two of the ten cases, someone down below on 
the chain was giving the tabs to someone s/he THOUGHT was downstream from 
him/her when, IN FACT, the person was somewhere UPSTREAM from him/her!

Now, remember: there is really no way that E, who has friends D and A 
could even know that A knows B who knows C who knows D.  It's just too 
far removed.

Conversely, A has no idea that E knows D who knows C who knows B!

All A knows is that s/he's got a REAL DYNAMITE pull-tab collector who 
keeps giving her/him ever increasing quantities of pull tabs, fully 
unaware that they are just the same ones going around in a circle with a 
few more being added at each step along the way!

Another interesting thing was that, although we directly represented the 
American Kidney Foundation, the MAJORITY of the people we contacted 
REFUSED TO BELIEVE that there was no basis in fact for the collection or 
pull-tabs and that absolutely no-one was going to get dialysis as a 
result of their efforts!

They blindly continued to collect the be-damned things!

This really makes me angry!

Think of all the GOOD which could come about if the same effort were 
directed toward some real project.

BTW - I've since done some further research on the components of a UL and 
the "double-removal"  is incredibly consistent.  It seems that people who 
tell these things, knowing deep inside that they have no solid proof of 
what they are saying, feel that to say, "My mom needs dialysis."  That's 
just too obviously a lie.  Then again, to push it out three steps simply 
sounds ridiculous, "My boss' secretary's son's friend" is just too bogus 
sounding.

The double removal seems almost like a dead give-away that what you are 
hearing is probably a UL.

Sorry this was sooooo loooooongg but, I thought you might be interested 
in the details of the investigation.

+=========================================================+
| Stan Greene           |  Voice:         (805) 527-7362  |
| Data Connections      | E-Mail:  StanGreene@Delphi.com  |
| 1667 Royal Avenue     |     or:    Sorcerer@NetCom.com  |
| Simi Valley, CA 93065 | All opinions are solely my own. |
+=========================================================+

-- 
                                             sorcerer@netcom.com




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