September 22, 2010

The UK Treasury is considering replacing the copper in some coins with nickel steel as an economic measure. The scheme has been met with protests, but not from monometallists “€“ rather in the impressive shape of the Automatic Vending Machine Association. The Association worries it will cost their members £100m for the recalibration of thousands of machines dispensing such life-sustaining items as “€œcappuccino”€ and fruit-flavoured condoms. It made me wonder what other unlikely-sounding associations are out there, standing up for their sectors in the face of incredible indifference.

The global food industry serves up some treats “€“ the American Pie Council, the National Chicken Council, the Brassica Growers Association, Yes Peas!, the British Leafy Salad Association, the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate & Confectionery Alliance and the Ice cream Alliance. I am indebted to the latter for an important insight:

“€œIn one very important way all ice creams are the same as they are all gorgeous.”€

No-one is immune from the desire to chum up by sector “€“ not even construction’s horny-handed, hard-headed hard-hats, who like to get down and dirty with the National Association of Sewer Service Companies, the Concrete Block Association, the Clay Pipe Development Association, they Flat Roofing Alliance and the painful-sounding Federation of Piling Specialists.

In the internet age, we all have the human right to become an organization and annoy the world.

The rag trade offers the International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives, the Japan Socks and Stockings Manufacturers Association, and the good old Glove Guild “€“ which sounds like a handy group. Then, bringing up the rear is the Owners”€™ Association of Underwear (Turkey). Even closer to the skin is the Association of Tattoo Designers Against Copyright Infringement.

Even our joys are organized, with a National Association of Toy & Leisure Libraries, a National Farm Attractions Network, a World Association of Zoos and Aquaria, a National Christmas Tree Association, and an International Association of Puppet Theatres for those who are the marionette kind.

There are also myriad selfless professionals representing the vital interests of the European Network of Health-Promoting Schools, the National Chimney Sweep Guild, the Compressed Air and Gas Institute, the American Association of School Personnel Administrators and the National Association of Knitting Teachers of America, who could probably tell some good yarns.


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