Foiled again — by a recycled myth

(The Advertiser, 1986, January 13)

The guide Dogs for the Blind Association have been deluged with worthless cigarette packet foil because of an urban myth.

Last week alone the society was sent an estimated 32,000 pieces of foil by donors from all parts of the State.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association of SA promotions manager Mr Ralf Hadzic said yesterday a myth had been spreading that the association was collecting the packet liners to raise funds, or that it would accept 4000 foils for a guide dog.

"It's an urban myth that comes around every couple of years and we don't know how it starts or who starts it," he said.

Mr Hadric said that 20 years ago the myth had been that the association would accept milk bottle tops for guide dogs, but with the growing use of milk cartons it had changed to cigarette packet foils.

"They have no value at all," he said. "Even the scrap metal merchants won't accept them."

"One deli owner in Marion heard the story and set himself up as the local collecting agency for them.

"He told all his customers to save their foils and when he rang us to say he had collected thousands of them I had to break the news to him that it was a myth."

Mr Hadzic said the myth was perpetuated in slightly different forms.

One Belair man had sent in a few thousand foils because his daughter had told him she had heard that a blind girl at Quorn needed to collect 4000 to get a guide dog.

"We checked and there is no blind girl at Quorn," Mr Hadzic said.

"The ironic thing is that our service is free. If anyone contacts us wanting a dog we go out and assess them for suitability and then give them a dog and training at no charge to the client."

Mr Hadzic said a similar rumor had spread recently that people at Bedford Industries would get a new wheelchair if they collected 4000 foils...

"We are worried that people get sucked into this sort of thing and get disillusioned," Mr Hadzic said...

Cigarette companies were as anxious as the association to dispel the foil myth because their credibility was at stake.