Zippo- an outlaw company (good for them!)

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 by Militant Libertarian

by Kent McManigal

About a week ago, I had an experience that showed me, again, that even the most innocuous of government monopolies is still a bad thing.

Out wandering the wastelands on the edge of town with my daughter I found an old Zippo lighter. Being obsessed with fire starting methods/tools, I kept it. The cap was missing and the “wheel” was rusted in place, but I know Zippo repairs or replaces their lighters for free, “forever”.
When I got home I went online and found the address for the Zippo Repair Clinic, packed up the old lighter, and headed off to the local post office.
The clerk took the package and asked the standard “anything hazardous, fragile, or flammable?” question, to which I replied “no”.
She held it carefully, looked at it suspiciously, and said “It says ‘Zippo’, what’s in here?”
I said it is a broken lighter.
She looked shocked and said “You can’t mail lighters!”
I said that I followed the packaging instructions on the Zippo site (and why would they even have a mailing address at all if you couldn’t mail anything to them?), and I had mailed lighter to them before.
“They might still have residue!”
“No, this one was very, very dry. I’ve mailed them before.”
“You just didn’t get caught that time” (paraphrased- my attention was slipping)
She pulled out a full-color, government brochure detailing all the things the government has arbitrarily declared to be “dangerous” to mail (which UPS and FedEx can still mail, I suppose).
By this time I wasn’t really listening anymore, but was trying to figure out how I was getting this to UPS or FedEx. But she kept lecturing for a bit anyway.
So, I left the post office with my package, and as the “proud” owner of a full color, government brochure (slightly used)… had an idea, and went a few blocks, across the state line, and mailed my package without incident from New Mexico.
Zippo emailed me to confirm receipt of the lighter, so I emailed them back to inform them that according to this officious postal clerk, mailing their lighters, under any circumstances, is a serious crime.
I guess it’s a good thing I’m already an outlaw.
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