SICK IRONY, A QUESTION OF VALUES

           “I had just learned that the owner of the store was battling cancer caused by twenty years of spraying lacquer.”

Protecting the environment and living a healthy, safe life style are not values adopted by many painters.

On more than one occasion I have heard a painter say, “Hell, I clean my brushes with gasoline.” When asked how he disposed of his used thinners, another responded, “I feed it to the apple tree.”

“Responsible” often loses to “cheap and easy.” Most of us fail in this way at some time or other, placing expediency or personal gain before the interests of the community. On a recent trip to promote clean, safe, effective Dizzolve Brush Cleaner, I encountered yet another example of failure to care. At a small store in the in Southern California, the manager, Billy, said, “It’s all about price point. Your stuff is too expensive. Our contractors use kerosene and acetone.” I tried to explain that Dizzolve is reusable and a quart will clean forty brushes, ten times a quart of acetone. Then I said, “It also decreases toxic waste because it is reusable! How do your painters dispose of their used solvent?” “I don’t ask, I just sell it,” he replied.

The real shocker came when I asked whether he was concerned about the damaging effects of solvents on the painters’ health. “Not a bit,” he said: And here is the kicker: I had just learned that the owner of the store was battling cancer caused by twenty years of spraying lacquer. I had bumped into him in the parking lot before entering the store. He said his illness kept him from work; he hadn’t been in the store for nine months except to sign checks. He had just finished three months of the most extreme chemo therapy and he needed two months to recover before his operation. After telling me lacquer caused his cancer, he added, “To which, of course, stuff like yours is the answer.” Then he told me his step son, Billy, was managing his store for him, the very person who, I later learned, didn’t value Dizzolve. I wish I could say this was an isolated incident.

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