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“Can Man” put out of business

“Can Man” put out of business

The Ithaca “Can Man” no longer can make a living, as reported by The Cornell Sun:

Joel Harlan — whose assistant calls him the “Can Man” — has collected empty cans and bottles from Cornell’s fraternities, as well as other locations in Ithaca and around Central New York, for 25 years.

In his heyday, Harlan says, he made $500 a week by collecting and redeeming empty cans — a job that he calls “picking.”

“I’m more or less the king of the can pickers,” he said. “When I die, I’m going to be dying a legend.”

But times are getting tough. Police ticket his van when he picks cans in Collegetown. The University prohibits him from picking on its property. And now, this semester, fraternities are holding fewer large parties due to strict new University regulations — adding another pressure to Harlan’s declining livelihood.

Another victim of Wall Street greed.  Oh, wait.


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VetHusbandFather | November 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I actually met this gentleman back when I was going to school. Ironically, his ‘heyday’ was created when New York decided to crack down on parties by requiring that all Kegs be registered to the purchaser. This was so that the purchaser could be blamed for distributing alcohol to minors if that keg was found at a party. But did this ‘brilliant’ nanny-state attempt to curb out-of-control underage drinking on campus actually work? Nope, everybody just bought cases of canned beer instead. This meant big pickings for Mr. Harlan (the can man), but what about Keg distributors? Cora’s, on Gun Hill, who had been selling Kegs to 21 and 22 year old frat boys for decades, was soon out of business. The big winners were Wegmanns and Topps, who could easily undercut small business prices on a case of Keystone Light. Thank you New York State, there were some small business casualties, but at least Freshmen and Sophomores aren’t consuming alcohol at Frat Parties anymore… right Professor?

    While I was in college, at Towson State (now just Towson University), a student got really drunk at the Rathskeller, went out to his car, passed out and almost froze to death. To fix this, the University decided that beer would no longer be sold in the Rathskeller…….in pitchers. You can buy as many cups as you like, but no pitchers. How this was supposed to “solve” the problem is beyond me. Sometimes I think they call it “higher” education because the idiots in charge are smoking something illegal.

[…] Can Man out of business […]

edgeofthesandbox | November 4, 2011 at 1:37 am

I thought this was going to be a post about inflation. I suppose the price of cans would actually go as dollar falls, invisible hand in play and all.

Interesting how someone can be “prohibited” from picking up liter; even get a ticket. I suppose if he was passing out flyers on the need to recycle – that’s altruistic (translates to “good”). Pick up cans to reedem for cash, that’s capatilism (translates to “evil”).

DocWahala – my fortune cookie says “One man’s trash, another man’s treasure”

Would he be arrested at an OWS event? Or would he be assaulted?