Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives

For Six Weeks, Liberty Residents
Won't Have to Wash Dishes

By Dan Hust
LIBERTY - February 11, 2000 — The Stone Age met the new millennium Monday in the Liberty High School cafeteria.
About 130 families from around the Liberty area gathered inside the school to test out the newest gizmo in throwaway dishes: Dixie’s Rinse and ReUse Disposable Stoneware.
In a sense, these volunteers were returning to their ancestors’ days of eating off the nearest available stone, but this time, it was stone melded with high-tech plastic – and probably a lot cleaner.
In fact, clean dishes is what the night’s meet-and-eat affair was all about, as organizers repeated their slogan several times to attendees: “We want to liberate Liberty from dish duty!”
Touted by Dixie, its parent corporation Fort James and its PR firm BSMG Worldwide as a modern approach to mealtime, the new stone plates are supposed to be able to stand up to 20 cycles in a dishwasher and 250 degrees Fahrenheit in a microwave (they’re not recommended for use in an oven).
As part of a pre-release marketing trial, Liberty residents got a chance to sample the 11-inch compartment plates and their companion 20-oz. bowls Monday night, filled to the brim with salad, bread, spaghetti and cookies – all prepared by the cafeteria staff.
“Who could refuse to try out free dishes?” laughed Terese Fimognari of Liberty, who was enjoying her meal with Arthur Allen and Jean Olesen. “How could you go wrong?”
All three liked the dishes, their disposability and their sturdiness.
Others weren’t so sure, however.
“I don’t know why somebody would want to wash it,” observed Linda Eckers of Swan Lake, who came with friends Bill Liblick and Helene Rothstein. “The idea of ‘disposable’ is to dispose, not to wash.”
Both Eckers and Rothstein agreed that the colors of blue, green and “eggshell” were dull and unattractive.
Liblick, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure that he’d avoid purchasing the plates once they become available at the end of April.
“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s why I’m participating in this trial.”
“He really wanted to come out for the free meal and plates,” snickered Rothstein. “He’s one of those coupon shoppers.”
Regardless, those three and everyone else at the dinner will have to report their observations and comments to Dixie during the next six weeks, as no one could eat dinner until they filled out a form agreeing to do so.
Respondents will be remarking about such things as who used the plates, who washed them, and even who argued about washing them, in addition to listing the time it took to prepare, eat and clean up after dinner. They’ll also tell what they did with the time they supposedly will save by using Dixie’s dishes.
In the end, Dixie hopes the response will be positive, while locals hope the exposure will be beneficial.
“I think it’s pretty unique,” said Liberty Village Mayor Kevin Mullen. “We were picked for this out of all the towns in America.”
“It’s time that Sullivan County and the area gets recognized,” agreed Liblick.
BSMG Worldwide representative Meggan Needham said that, although 100 families were solicited at the school and on the street, 130 showed up and will participate in the survey. At its completion around April 26, the village and Dixie will host a celebration to introduce the plates to the general public, said Needham.
When released (they’re already available in New England), the 11-inch plates (10 per package for both standard and compartmented), the 9-inch plates (15 per package) and the 20-oz. bowls (18 per package) will sell for $1.99 a package.

top of page  |  home  |  archives