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The Jar Nazi

August 21, 2009

100_2484.1Since I am in the thick of canning season, I cannot pass up sharing my story of the “Jar Nazi.”  Personally, I love my canning jars, they have taken on personalities much like my quilt fabric stash.  Just like all that yardage squirreled away that will never fall to a rotary cutter, I have jars that I probably will not use for canning, for fear they will emerge from the pressure cooker in shards.  I have square jars I only use for pickles, and then there is the jars that only can have pumpkin pickles in them.  Then there are the jars I don’t like, that I put preserves and such in for Christmas gifts.  I don’t care if I ever see them again – when they come back I regard them haughtily, as if to say, “You will leave here again next Christmas!”  And you thought I was just weird about cow manure ;)  Now I am talking to my jars and admitting it!!

I have a hard time passing up farm/estate sales, so one day I stopped at a particularly interesting looking sale, and started to cruise the various areas of interest.  I am usually torn between fighting women for kitchen or sewing stuff, or to go to the barn and look for tools or cow paraphenalia.  I picked the kitchen this time and out of the corner of my eye I spied a pantry full of boxes of canning jars of all sizes!  I quickly pushed my way through the crowd to get to those dozens of jars and there was a very loud man just making a deal for ALL of the jars – I mean there were probably 25 dozen at least, stacked floor to ceiling.  He turned to me and barked, “Want some jars? – I’ll give you a good deal, $4.00 a dozen”
You know when a dog sees someone who doesn’t smell right to them, and they start that low guttural growl?  Well, I was growling in my mind.  I could plainly see the large sign that said CANNING JARS $2.00 PER DOZEN – OBO.  I knew he got the jars for less than the $2.00 and he wanted double.  No thanks.  As I walked away, his voice was still following me… “I sell jars on Craigssslisssttt” 

2yyp2ybWith my canning tail between my legs, I went to the barn, and found some garden tools.  A little retail therapy never hurts, but I could not get those jars out of my mind, I have been looking for a certain Kerr jar made in the 1950’s to freeze my butter in.  I love those jars.  Ball makes a similar style of wide mouth squatty pint, but it just does not make my heart sing like those Kerr square babies :)  And this farm looked like just the place to find such treasures.  Frugal people must have lived and farmed there, I reasoned and they probably hadn’t bought too many new jars.  What to do?  Keep looking I guess. 

Well, after I got home, I still couldn’t forget that jerk and the jars.  While I was leaving the barn at the sale, he was arguing with the attendants who weren’t going to let him through the patio door, he wanted to take a shortcut, and they were getting tired of him being so pushy.  I decided to stalk him on Craigslist.  *Ominous music in the background*  He was easy to find.  His list of canning  jars was stunning, a nice neat list, by size and use.  And lo and behold, he had a few of the ones I was looking for.  His location was in Hangdog’s old neighborhood, not too far away and his phone number was listed.  I printed off the ad and then promptly forgot about the jars for a while.

I called him several weeks later about the Kerr pints, and he barked at me over the phone, telling me the jars had been gone for sometime – how old was the ad I was looking at anyway!  He took my number and promised to call me if he acquired more of the that size.  He never did call, but I checked Craigslist and there his ad was updated and he had some of those jars!  I called, and he told me he lost my number, I had no idea what I was getting into, yet.  We made an appointment for me to pick up the jars and he proceeded to tell me how to get to his house.  I have a great sense of direction, and I also knew his area well, however, I was to write down HIS instructions “because no one ever finds this house, it is so difficult, long driveway and all, you know…”  I mean I live where there are long driveways, some a mile or more, in my neck of the woods two car lengths is not a long driveway!  Just when I thought the deal was sealed, he asked what I was going to use the jars for – I casually replied for freezing butter, not knowing this was a capital offense in the canning jar world.  He hit the roof, “WHAT!  BUTTER!  FREEZE IT, IN MYYY JARRSSS!!  THESE CARE JARS SHOULD BE USED FOR SELSA!!”  He definitely needed a Midol sandwich I could tell, and I wasn’t quite sure what dialect he was speaking, Kerr was Care, and salsa was selsa.  I got him calmed down, and promised not to be late, and to bring the right kind of box for the jars.  He was quite particular about the box.

We found his house in record time, despite the “long” driveway, and he yelled out the upstairs window to wait by the garage!  So Ruthless and I got out our milk crate and newpapers (big mistake, he said box) and proceeded to wait.  The garage door rolled up, and inside, there he was, in all his estate sale glory, just like we remembered.  The garage was like a little miniature Costco, with pallet racks and shelves all filled with canning jars, and other food storage type of containers, all neatly categorized. 

After chastizing me for driving a gas hog, and bringing a plastic crate and newpapers for the jars, he settled down and got out the jars.  Then he proceeded to tell all the reasons I shouldn’t be freezing butter, or canning, or even buying these jars. It was very strange, he has a regular ad on Craigslist, but he doesn’t really want to sell the jars.  Especially if you don’t want to use them for what he deems is the proper use of that particular size and shape of jar.  I took all of this “advice” with grain of salt, and got my jewels and left.

I did this several more times, buying several more dozen, and each time he began to get more irritated with me about the butter freezing.  And then I took an egg case box (holds 15 dozen eggs in flats) which really was a great box for packing these jars, he went ballistic, accusing me of selling the jars to restaurants.  He thought 50 pounds of butter for a year was too much for anyone, what was I doing with all that butter anyway?  Now he was the butter police!  We parted for the last time, on terse terms.  I sensed I was being cut off from buying any more canning jars from him.

So what does a self-described jar hoarder do to get more jars?  They enlist someone who understands the affliction.  I called my canning partner-in-crime. So my friend called him the next time he had more of my wide mouth pints.  She had been skeptical everytime I told her of the latest Jar Nazi episode, she thought I was embellishing the story just a tad.  Well, she was soon to find out, I was not exaggerating.  It was her turn in the barrel.  He quizzed her up one side and down the other, and then he asked her again - “Where do you live?  Do you know THAT Butter Lady?”  She feigned ignorance and tried to keep her voice from cracking.  She had carefully studied his ad, and memorized the “correct” uses of the Care squatty pint. She passed, but we had not studied enough, her and I, she failed the box part of the test too.  She vaguely remembered him mentioning box protocol, but in a hurry she grabbed some dusty canning jar boxes from her shop, thinking that would suffice.  She had no idea that she would be bringing in foreign dust, and molds to the inner sanctum of canning jars.  He had extra boxes for slackers, and he wanted cereal boxes he saved cut up for dividers.  She dutifully sat there and cut out cereal boxes.  I definitely owe her big time, she’s a true friend.  After all the lectures, she began to believe me.  This guy was unbelievable.  He cut her off too –  “No more jars!  How much selsa can you make??” 

By now, Hangdog was getting perturbed with us, he was wondering how much longer we would mess with this guy.  He really didn’t believe he could be that bad.  I think it must some tribal thing, you know guys stick together and all that.  So I asked him to get me just a few more jars, I promised I would stop this as long as I got a few more dozen.  He was looking for a 12 step program for canning jar obsession to enroll me in by this time.  But he still was unconvinced that the guy was really as obnoxious as we made him out to be.  Now it was his turn to run the gauntlet.  I am surrounded by people who enable me :)   At first the Jar Nazi was reluctant to sell to a man, he wanted to speak to the canner, luckily Hangdog knows enough about canning he could ad lib and hold his ground as the quizzing began.  They made an appointment, but the Jar Nazi would not give him the address until the day he was to show up.  Being such a frugal guy he had dial-up, so most of the time when you tried to call him about buying jars, you would get a busy signal because he was on the Internet making more jar deals.  So Hangdog tried off and on all day, and finally got through – he needed the directions, but not really because he knew where the house was, he just couldn’t let on that he knew.  He wanted to give a turn by turn set of directions and when Hangdog asked for just the house number, he received a lecture about how no one can ever find the house, blah, blah, blah.  Hangdog took a deep breath and told him he knew the area well, since he grew up just a mile away, so he assured him he could find the house with the address alone.  The Jar Nazi wanted him to drive a little closer and then call back, and that hit Hangdog’s buttons.  Let me tell you, that can be bad!  He had spent all day trying to call this man, he was within a 100 yards of the *&%!! house, he didn’t want to try to call back! 

By this time Hangdog didn’t know whose neck to wring first, mine or the Jar Nazi.  But he also knew he better not come home without those jars.  As Laura Ingalls, says, “what can’t be cured, must  be endured.”  I had sent him with my nice boxes I get cherries in, and of course, those didn’t meet the criteria of proper boxes, but Jar Nazi let it go, after all, he wasn’t dealing with the actual canner.  I won’t go into more details, but he gave Hangdog a thorough interrogation about where he lived, where he worked, what would the jars be used for, why his wife (the canner) could not just get the jars herself, and the most important question – “Do you know that Butter Lady that lives out east of here?”  By this time, Hangdog was convinced we hadn’t been making up stories about this nutjob – he was as weird as we had described.  He came home with the jars and made me promise not to send him there again!

I think I finally have enough jars, and we have many stories to tell about our trips to the Jar Nazi.  However, in our isolated bubble between my friend, Hangdog, and I, we still thought it was probably just us, and that we had been a little mean, tricking him to get more jars, when it was obvious he did not want me to have more.  And then while perusing Craigslist this past winter, we noticed ads with warnings about the Jar Nazi, they were hilarious and then his rebuttals were even better.  Now I know Craigslist shouldn’t be used for entertainment purposes, but these ads were hysterical.  It seems everyone gets the same treatment, so we weren’t the only ones.  He is still at it.

I sent this picture to my friend and this is what she sent me in return:

Dept. of Domestic Engineering
Office of Container Protocol
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir or Madam,
It has come to our attention that you may be violating one or more of this department’s regulations pertaining to canning jar usage, to wit:


1. You appear to have used two different sizes of jars for your garden peas. Since there can only be one correct style of jar for each use, one of these is obviously a glaring example of unauthorized jar usage. If you do, indeed, have a Certificate of Deviation, issued and signed by our office, it should, as explained on page 106 of the simple rules governing the issuance of said Certificate, be prominently displayed with the jars.
2. We notice that, in addition, you have been so careless as to combine Ball and Care brand jars to contain what appear to be all the same variety of pea. Once again, permission can be granted, in rare cases, for this deviation from the regulations, upon submission of the official Application for Mixed Usage, along with the empty pea seed packets, a picture showing the clearly-marked rows, and the labels from any Coates and Clark products that you used…
Finally, you appear to have failed to sort the peas according to their size.. This can easily be accomplished with the Kommon Kitchen Kaliper Kit, along with a 3-color wall chart indicating the officially-designated size ranges as well as the correct jar for each, at the special price of $59.95 + postage and handling. Operators are standing by.

We know that you, as a Concerned Citizen, will want to do the Right Thing. If you have any questions about your obligations, we will be glad to refer you to our Agent in your area, Jim, who is fully qualified to answer your questions and inspect your jar usage to ensure that it meets our criteria. In addition, he would be able to advise you on the number of jars of each type that you are allowed to own at one time.


J.R. Nazzi
Jar Enforcement Regulation Committee (JERC)

Office of Container Protocol
Dept. of Domestic Engineering
US Government

 Now, the moral to the story is:  If you need used canning jars at a reasonable price in the Portland area, this is the place to go, but whatever you do, DON”T mention that you know the THAT BUTTER LADY ;)        











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67 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2009 8:36 am

    Hilarious! Thanks for making my day. ☺

  2. janelle permalink
    August 21, 2009 9:07 am

    LOL! I don’t know how often you make it into town, but last night the Goodwill on 12th and NE Broadway had 4 or 5 big Kerr jars (2 quart?) that are squareish round and say Canada on them (that’s what I can remember). I would have nabbed them but (ahem) I have a problem too, but, living in a communal household just don’t have the space to store more big jars.

    As a woman who would love her own land to garden and such, I love reading your blog and knowing you’re nearby.

  3. August 21, 2009 9:08 am

    Thanks. I needed this today. :)

  4. August 21, 2009 9:18 am

    FDL, that was just too funny! =) Forget the butter lady – do you know the muffin man?

  5. August 21, 2009 9:50 am

    That was just too funny! Your friend’s letter is just too much!

  6. August 21, 2009 10:07 am

    Now, THIS post is one for the AGES — my laugh lines are aching all the way down to my shoulders.

  7. August 21, 2009 10:43 am

    Too funny!!! Thanks for sharing. I have a thing for jars as well- but maybe not as bad as yours….

  8. August 21, 2009 10:47 am

    I am cracking up!! This is too funny, but so sorry you had to endure the Jar Nazi – something that can only be laughed at when it is all said and done. Your “letter” of violations harkens unto visions of our looming health care reform!

  9. August 21, 2009 11:04 am

    Wow, what an odyssey! If I lived in the Portland area, I’d be very leery about even calling the Jar Nazi. You must have wanted those Kerr jars pretty badly. Waht a great story. It’s not even a once-in-a-lifetime story…since you had to go back so many times. Funny.

  10. Colleen permalink
    August 21, 2009 11:05 am

    LMAO, N! That is so funny! Hopefully, it was funny at the time.

    I have a similar story but we called her the doughnut-nazi. I went to the doughnut shop one day with a list to keep track of what the people helping us move wanted.
    What a mistake! With a long line-up behind me, she barked: “Just give me that list!”, stretched her heft across the counter and grabbed it out of my hand. She stabbed the cash register and muttered commentary.

    “You don’t want a bran muffin. Blueberry muffin!” and threw one in a bag. “You’re getting all medium double double. Bag in or out with your tea? Hmph! It just says soup. Give me a beef barley!” she bellowed at her co-worker.

    I watched in amazement and didn’t try too hard to conceal my laughter.

    I was surprised she asked how I wanted my tea but had to return when I looked at it to find that it was completely white. I was polite. “Excuse me, I think you might have forgotten to put the tea bag in as it just looks like watery milk.”

    “I did not forget!” she spat. “You said ‘bag out’. I put the bag in. Put the water in. Take the bag out! What? You want the bag in now?”

    “Umm. Yes please.”

    Did you ask your jar nazi if he has any relatives in Canada? ;)
    (Sorry for hijacking your comments. Just couldn’t believe there are two of these people!)

  11. August 21, 2009 11:11 am

    I, too, am a jar squirrel. I love my one squatty, square pint, and had to go to my pantry just to see if it was what you’re talking about. Close, but mine is embossed Mason :-)

  12. August 21, 2009 11:55 am

    That’s hiliarious! Very funny Butter Lady! :)

  13. August 21, 2009 12:16 pm

    I miss the “free shed” at the landfill I used to go to at our old house. I scored many of my jars there, probably from people cleaning out dead grandparent’s houses. I was not canning a lot then, but I knew a good thing when I saw them and every time I saw canning jars, they went home with me. I want/need more jars, and I scour yard sales for them around here. I just scored an old box of kerr pints for $1.

    Loved your story on the jar nazi!! Wish I could go there and get some jars from him, too, even if he’ll give me a hard time!

  14. Genevieve permalink
    August 21, 2009 1:40 pm

    I feel torn between laughing and crying reading this…………….when I started reading it, I thought to myself “Jar Nazi” well, she’s never dealt with the guy that I’ve dealt with……… I kept reading………….then certain things started to sound similar…………….multiple phone calls, long driveway, call back when you’re closer, why are you buying the jars, yelling from the upstairs window, cutting out the cereal boxes for packing,etc…………………..I caught my breath……………..yes it was the same “jar guy” as we call him in my house. When we lived in Portland and all I wanted was pints and quarts, that was bad enough! We endured the same questions and same anger for forgetting boxes…………………..My husband came with me, along with our 4 kids and after 45 minutes or so my husband was ready to leave……………..he gave me the look! I quietly said “how much do I owe you”, he said I’ll figure it out after I get all the jars boxed up” I said “we don’t need to box them up because we live really close”, he said “yes we do”, I still really just thought he was being helpful, but that he was a bit “off”, so I pushed it a bit and said, ” no, really we don’t need to”………………..the look on his face……oh my………he looked right at me and almost yelled……..”I RISKED MY LIFE FOR THESE JARS AND YOU’RE NOT LEAVING UNTIL EVERY SINGLE ONE IS BOXED UP”……………………………………………..
    It was right then that I almost cried, and I would have if it hadn’t scared me so much! My husband and kids, were playing near the street, so he didn’t even hear it………………….
    I don’t know how I managed to get out of there, but I won’t go back. I have sent 2 different male friends that now live with us on a farm……………………I thought it would be fine………………………… think buying jars for butter is bad, try buying it to sell raw milk in………………….he made my friend give him my number so he could talk to me and tell me how illegal it is to sell milk in half gallon canning jars, I again, pushed the issue, telling him it isn’t, so I got an earful about him going to court and paying fines for it…………………………..this man is NUTS! My friend actually went and bought milk bottles that day from him (all he’d sell me, now that he knew I have a cow) and actually talked him into “allowing” me to buy 1/2 gallon jars…………………..he has a way with people I guess :)
    I still look at his ad on Craigslist sometimes and wish he was normal so I could buy more things from him, I just can’t bear the thought of it………………………….
    Thanks for posting this. I’ve always wondered if other people have had the same thing happen with him or not!!!!

    • September 16, 2009 11:34 am

      So, I guess I was warned. I did read this post and laughed till I cried and felt such empathy for your plight. Now, several weeks later, I decided to research and find some jars that I really wanted and needed. I want the 1.5 pint freezer jar made by ball that hasn’t been made for many years. I have 3 of them, and my grandmother has several more, but I really need more of my own. So, I find the add for local jars, email and then call and about the time the guy picks up the phone I think, “I wonder if this could be that ‘jar nazi’?” Well… it was. Did you know that Ball only made those jars for 10 years and they were specifically made for canning asparagus? There is no other purpose for those jars, especially not the freezing of garden produce (which is part of the name on the original boxes – you know, FREEZER JAR). Anyway, if I am to obtain these jars I will have to either prove that I grow a lot of asparagus or prove that I can asparagus by bringing a jar of canned asparagus with me, and then he still may think that I’m going to use the jars for some other purpose and then I still won’t be able to get them. Oh, too funny! At least I was warned so I didn’t take his head off when he began his 10 minute diatribe on the misuses of his jars. And, no, he didn’t mention “that butter lady,” yet. I might still hear about it when I go tomorrow to pick up jars. First I have to run to the store and buy some asparagus and get it canned so that I can prove that I have the right to buy his jars!

      • September 16, 2009 12:13 pm

        Hanna, LOL when I was allowed to buy from him he continued to tell about the rarity of those pint 1/2’s and how some woman, “the Asparagus Lady” was teaching classes and needed all his jars that size. About the time he was going to cut me off, I asked him about the Asparagus Lady and he said she wasn’t buying jars from him anymore since she lived in Hood River which was too far! Now I know he just stopped selling them to her. Good Luck! Doesn’t he specify pickled carrots too for those Ball jars??

        Let me know how it goes :)

        • September 16, 2009 1:18 pm

          Yes, the add says “great for full size Asparagus, Green Beans, Carrots, etc.”, but when I spoke with him on the phone (or more accurately, listened to him rant) he specifically said that those jars are only for sale to people who can asparagus and were created ONLY for canning asparagus. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to get 2 boxes from him. And I’ll remember to bring my own boxes which I’ll empty of my own canned goods first so I can have the approved mode of transportation for them! I’ll let you know if I can actually get them. By the way, do you need more jars? While I’m there I might as well commit suicide and ask for some of those square CARE jars for some ‘selsa’ that I might need to make with all my tomatoes!

        • September 16, 2009 3:05 pm

          Hanna, that is too funny! I probably have enough now – don’t burn your bridge with him until you have to!! He might let you have more later… . Hopefully tomorrow will be cool enough he will keep his bib overalls buttoned up on the side :O Just another warning, I’m no prude, but a chubby guy in overalls showing skin is kind of over the top for me!

  15. Heather Havens permalink
    August 21, 2009 1:55 pm

    Oh my goodness that was hilarious!

    Could you tell me again the jar’s specifics?

    Kerr, pint, squatty, but were you only looking for square, or was round OK?

    I have an idea….


  16. August 21, 2009 2:10 pm

    omg, my dogs are afraid of me and my husband wants to share my medicine! I had to tell him about your blog and he’s laughing too! I can visualize that guy, kinda scares me. I thought I was alone with my jar fetish. Maybe we should have 12 step program, lol!
    Check out down–to–earth blog. She has some way to cool canning jars on her canning pics, kinda makes me sad she lives in Australia, otherwise I might be tempted to go visit her excessively! This is the link to view her jars: http://down—to—
    I know a lot of her jars are recycled but they are cute. Do you have a pic of your coveted jar? I am having trouble trying to place it.
    Thank you so much for making me laugh and scaring my dogs, lol.
    Oh, stop by and tell me what you’re making for Christmas, I’m giving away some quilty stuff on Sunday evening. Elaine

  17. August 21, 2009 2:52 pm

    Hahh…I’m gonna see if he’ll ship to Missouri!

  18. August 21, 2009 3:39 pm

    I love it! Love it. This made my day so much better.

  19. August 21, 2009 9:35 pm


  20. August 22, 2009 2:21 am

    My husband would also like to enlist me Glass Jars Anonymous… but I will get home to read your post, then he will know he is but merely dealing with an amatuer in me!!

    Thanks for the hilarious story!

  21. August 22, 2009 3:31 am

    OK, I am laughing so hard I am going to pee my pants.

    I wonder if people call me the Jar Nazi here in Utah? There are too many parallels.

    I buy and sell jars on the internet.

    I have a home that is hard to find since the house 2 doors down has the SAME house number (I am 338 South and they are 338 West).

    I get bizarre emails from people about jars and I have gotten kind of grouchy about my responses to these idiot requests.

    Here is one I received:

    I would love to buy your jars, but my hubby will not let me go $5.00 a dz. If you would be willing to sell for $3.00 a dz. I would buy all you have. Have a wonderful day.

    Here is my response:

    You may buy jars from me for $5/dzn or buy them from Walmart for $11/dzn. It is your choice. Now YOU have a wonderful day!

    Here is another email I received:
    I will buy all 20 dzn of your jars for $40. that is all they are worth.

    Here is my response:

    You will buy NONE of my jars for $2/dzn. The ad clearly sttes they are $5dzn. I also think it is rude to TELL me what you will buy the jars for rather than politely asking if I would consider a lesser amount.

    NO JARS FOR YOU! (YES, I did quote the Soup Nazi).

    And My Favorite email received and remember my ad said I had 20 dzn jars for $5/dzn.

    the 20 dzn jars are $5 total! I will buy them all for the $5 you are asking. Please call me to make arrangements for me to pick them all up.

    Here is my response:

    What kind of person reads an ad that clearly states $5/dzn and comes out thinking that all 20 dzn jars are $5 total? Is this even worth a response?

    Yeah…I am a jar nazi in the making here in Utah. I dabble in the jar business, you never really make much money at a profit of $2/dzn. I got these three emails earlier this week and just could not believe the requests I received.

    chat later,

    Kathy AKA “Jar Nazi in the making…”

    • August 22, 2009 6:14 am

      Kathy, I doubt you are even close to this type person – your customer questions sound like some that we get in regards to selling our meat products. I particularly liked the one where the person wanted to “purchase” a side of beef and then pay as they ate throughout the year, and we have many other silly requests too. You sound reasonable and if you state your price and don’t want to dicker, then the buyer has the option of buying or not. Sounds like jars are quite expensive in Utah, here you can get a dozen new, with lids from $6.00 – $9.00.

      However, this man prices his jars reasonably and he is very meticulous about only selling jars without nicks or chips. My biggest problem with him was mostly that once you have bought a certain # of jars from him, he will not sell you anymore because “he has to make sure all the people who want to can in Portland are able to get jars.” All the while he is telling you (and not in nice way) that you should just be buying you salsa, milk, butter, peaches, asparagus, fill in the blank, at the store. Canning is too much work, and on and on. He is also not wanting drug dealers to buy his jars, or people who might sell jams or jellies and he is particularly perturbed if you tell him you can 50 quarts of peaches in a year. He actually gets mad!

      To me, if someone has something for sale, then I think they should sell it if the price is met. It is as simple as that. If he is so perturbed at all the “stupid” people that attempt to purchase from him then maybe he should get out of the retail business. I would still be buying jars from him as many other people would too, I am sure. But he won’t allow it. His loss, he would rather hoard and manage his stash than get paid for his work. I get the hoarding thing, I would not sell my jars, but then I am not advertising either :)

  22. stinkyfungushands permalink
    August 22, 2009 9:00 am

    Oh I love this story!

  23. Ingrid permalink
    August 22, 2009 9:40 am

    Too funny Nita! You made my day. Your story is priceless, thanks for entertaining us all!

  24. August 22, 2009 11:42 am

    You’re a HOOT!! Now around here we just have the horse police ;)

  25. August 22, 2009 11:50 am


    I feel much better now that I have validation that I am NOT a “Jar Nazi” in the making.


  26. Claudia W. permalink
    August 22, 2009 5:03 pm

    I love local color and th eJar Nazi has LOTS of color! This post was hysterical on many counts. Thanks for the laughs!!!

  27. August 22, 2009 6:30 pm

    Oh, toooo funny. Thank you for sharing.

  28. August 22, 2009 8:23 pm

    This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. This has to be real life, who could make it up? To bad there isn’t a bunch of us living in the same area, we could really make his life some fun! I wonder what he would do if he found out someone was using his jar to hold loose change? ;)

  29. August 23, 2009 9:09 am

    Oh my gosh that was sooo funny! Btw I was send here from Annie @ Country Living in a Cariboo Valley…

  30. August 23, 2009 9:43 am

    I laughed my but off at this post, and then i read your last sentence…..Now, the moral to the story is: If you need used canning jars at a reasonable price in the Portland area, this is the place to go, but whatever you do, DON”T mention that you know the THAT BUTTER LADY ;)
    HOLY CRAP I SAY, The Portland area, craigslist, jar list in a organized post…………i just called this man 4 days ago! And i can attest, he is a weird one, he REFUSED to sell to me because i live too far and he didn’t want me to drive that far(40 minutes)Said he would NEVER drive that far unless he was to pick up 50 cases of jars. He made me go to Winco! I am so glad he refused me, because i am not one to hold my tongue for anyone or anything.

  31. August 23, 2009 11:08 am

    this is one of the funniest things i have read in a long time. i too like to freeze stuff in jars; tomato sauce, pesto, jams etc. i just think it has a fresher taste. plus, i don’t have a canner. ever since my dad blew up a stuck canner with quarts of tomatoes in them (oh, the mess. it was a massacre), i have been a bit leary of the process.

  32. August 23, 2009 11:31 am

    LOL! This is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while!!!! The JN does sound insane! LOL

  33. peacefulacres permalink
    August 24, 2009 6:10 am

    How creepy!!!!! But funny!!!

  34. Suz in the Tules permalink
    August 24, 2009 6:26 am

    Wow! Does he ever need to ‘get a life’! How funny, you butter lady, you!

  35. Cece permalink
    August 24, 2009 7:06 am

    How funny! Thanks for the laugh. :)

  36. Allie permalink
    August 24, 2009 12:45 pm

    I am dying here! I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time, and then the stories in the comments were so funny too :)
    This would drive me crazy, but thanks for the great story!

  37. August 24, 2009 7:16 pm

    Oh man, that kind of personality would bring out the bitch in me big-time. I’d be at every freakin’ yard and estate sale buying jars out from his snooty upturned nose. I’d probably even make a point to say, loudly, “I like to get extra jars so I can give them to all my canning friends. I’d never dream of selling or hoarding them!”

  38. Teresa Noelle Roberts permalink
    August 25, 2009 8:40 am

    Glad I didn’t have a mouthful of soup when I read this.

    It’s become almost impossible to get canning jars at yard sales in New England and if you find them, they’re as expensive as new. Damn New York Times writing an article about how canning is cool!

  39. August 25, 2009 8:51 pm

    oh my oh my…. one of the funniest stories Ive read .
    Makes me want to go buy some of his canning jars just to be a part of it. ha ha

  40. August 26, 2009 5:05 am

    Loved the story!!! I now feel part of a circle of friends as I too love canning jars, especially the square ones or the those that have turned green with age. Some of my favorite pints I keep for jelly only as I fear putting them in the pressure canner. Thanks again for the laugh.

    • August 26, 2009 5:35 am

      Holly, thanks – I love my old jars too, and some of the new ones are getting to be special too. The green jars were made that way, the ones that turn color, are purple or lavender, and made before 1914 or thereabouts. :)

  41. Doris permalink
    August 26, 2009 7:11 am

    You do know how to tell a great story. I enjoyed the comments as well, lol. I agree with Pamela, gonna have to buy me some jars when I am down your way. How funny that he has a mission to make sure everyone gets their fair share of jars. Now lets see, I can’t live too far away, must have the right boxes for packing in, and this is the hardest one, what I intend to use the jars for must pass muster, so definitely not butter. Hilarious, prolly can’t jump through all those hoops. Thanks for a good laugh.

  42. August 28, 2009 6:12 am

    That is hilarious! The jar nazi would totally HATE me. I can all my stuff in whatever happens to be available. Nothing matches.

    And I was sad this year….I had some cool 1976 centennial jars I received from my MIL. I’ve used them for about 10 years now and two of them broke. I know they are 40 years old, so should have expected them to not last.

  43. August 28, 2009 7:49 am

    I laughed at this so, & read it to my husband Duane. HE said we should call & say, “Oh, yeah! They’re great for target practice! I’ll take 4 dz.” :)

  44. August 30, 2009 4:30 pm

    Hey BUTTER LADY, you just about precipitated an Incontinence Moment over here…I’m laughing SO HARD. I love how you have a “jar underground”…I’d SO being doing the same thing to foil Jar Nazi. SO SO hilarious. I think anyone finally cracking the code of getting directions and a rendezvous time with him should bring about a dozen friends, each of whom swears they’ll be making “selsa.” Thank you for this….still LAUGHINGLAUGHINGLAUGHING
    ;-) Robbyn

    Oh yeah, wonder what he’d say if someone called him up to thank him and told him they’d decided to use the jars they got from him for kombucha instead (sorry, this is bringing out the fifth grader in me lol)

  45. September 1, 2009 2:30 am

    What a great story. You must have really wanted those jars, enjoy abuse, or just took some secret pleasure in tricking the Jar Nazi?

  46. jinman28 permalink
    September 9, 2009 6:28 am

    Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I nearly peed myself laughing! What an excellently funny and charming and altogether wonderful post!!!!!
    Clearly you will need to find another source for jars, lest you ruin your karma by initiating so much anxiety in this admittedly off-kilter man, Butter Lady. I wish I lived in the area so I could stick my hand in that particular pirhanna tank, darn it! I never have anyone good to mess with. *sigh*

  47. Tammy permalink
    September 17, 2009 12:08 am

    Oh, the Jar Nazi. So aptly named. During the winter season of jarlessness in the local stores, we had an unusual TWO cows fresh and I was frantically trying to put all that milk in containers. I asked my husband to get some half gallons from the jar guy on craigslist. So he called to arrange pick up of the advertised jars, and got chewed out. Turns out, Jar Nazi informed us, that transporting milk in unauthorized containers is so illegal that just *supplying the jars* could get him thrown in jail! Although my husband is an educator, he decided this was not a teachable moment, and we ended up special ordering the jars from Ace. I hope we aren’t left at the mercy of the Jar Nazi this winter!

    • September 17, 2009 4:25 am

      He almost seems like he is getting worse! Azure Standard carries the wide mouth 1/2 gallons, and usually they are pretty friendly compared to the Jar Nazi.

      I think you husband was right – this guy probably never has a teachable moment.

      The thing that chaps my hide, is that all the estate sale “professional” people now call him before a sale so he can pick up the jars and they don’t get stuck with them. He’s pretty proud of that fact.

    • Rochelle permalink
      October 21, 2009 11:02 am

      Sorry here’s the link:

      • October 21, 2009 11:42 am

        Rochelle, that is hilarious, I was just thinking of him today – since I am freezing corn in 8 oz jam jars that I never use anymore!! I was chuckling imagining what his reaction would be :O

        Thanks for the link! I think he makes half that stuff up anyway, he told me that acidic foods like pickles, and tomato sauce would eat through the lids in less than a year, so why bother canning it, when you could get the same stuff at the store. I can certainly attest that I have never seen lids get damaged like that. He is some sort of fantasy land for sure!

  48. C. Buchholz permalink
    June 9, 2010 9:53 am

    This is the EXACT same experience my wife and I had with the guy. I swore I’d never go back . .. I buy my jars from Bi-Mart, now. This really is a funny post, but I’m forever scarred . . .

  49. August 1, 2010 11:27 am

    Oh my gosh, Nita! I have dealt with Jim so many times…I have learned to put up with him and his eccentricities to a point. Wouldn’t sell me half-gallon jars when he found out I use them for fermenting pickles and tried to convince me to buy old glass pickle jars, without lids. I bought jars at Bimart.

    Last winter, I wanted to buy a pressure cooker–for cooking potatoes, beans, etc. He knows that I already own a pressure canner–a big 23-quart Presto and even though it’s way too big for cooking, he would not sell me the perfect 6-quart Miro pressure cooker, because “You already have a pressure cooker.” ARGH! Like you, I later asked a friend to ask about the cooker when she was going there to pick up jars. It was gone, of course. Since then, I have also asked my husband to go pick up on my behalf. What would we do without our enablers?

  50. January 10, 2011 12:47 pm

    I just met the Jar Nazi at a potluck – actually I didn’t really meet him but from his easily overheard stories I figured out pretty quick who he was. Seems like everyone in Portland has met this guy, at least everyone I talk to (I must know a lot of jar users). Had to come back and find this story for Tanya who had no idea what I was talking about.

  51. May 23, 2011 4:19 pm

    Ha. I’m not sure how my wife stumbled on your post, but she did. She and her friend have also had dealings with the Jar Man (as we call him). She wrote about him here:

    She and her friend have been to the Jar Man three times. They seem to be on his good side — they don’t use their jars for freezing butter! — but my wife says, “It could go south at ANY moment!”

    Anyhow, we both loved reading this. (His house isn’t any more difficult to find than any other house, by the way.)

  52. Jeff permalink
    September 13, 2011 4:21 pm

    Wow. You are so patient. I made it about 45 seconds on the telephone with Jim this morning. I called him about 1 gallon jugs I wanted for home brewing. This was fine until I made reference to an amber jug he had listed for sale also. He replied that jug was currently being used, but insisted on knowing why I would want it! I told him for beer making but that made him very unhappy and he started berating me with his views about proper glass vessel usage. Wow! what a Jar Nazi! With red sirens going off in my head I told him I would be much happier paying $5.50 each at my local brew store than I would buying them from him and hung up. However, is entire tone had somehow infuriated me. I did a search and immediately found your post. Thankfully I am not the only one. I felt much better after learning I had just avoided a possible Craigslist super jerk. It’s too bad he has such a hold on the market.He has so many jars and bottles I am interested in, but will never buy as he wont get a dime from me.

  53. August 8, 2013 2:09 pm

    I came across your post in my search for the jar guy and immediately was transported back to my own trip to see him last year. Suffice it to say, our adventure was VERY similar to yours. I am running low on jars for pickling and am planning to run the jar gauntlet again in the next few weeks. Wish me luck as I think I will absolutely need it!

  54. Deirdre echols permalink
    October 10, 2014 5:08 am

    Laughing so hard. I heard about this guy from a woman in salem who does a similar thing.
    She waits until jars are getting sparse in the stores and starts posting on craigslist that she has
    Wide mouth jars for 6.00 and regular mouth for 5.00. I have started a Facebook canning group in
    The area and sent about 50 dozen jars of business her way. So I asked for a dozen bands for my helping her, nope. $1.50.
    Now, I hit the sales and get the jars for 2.50-3.00 a dozen and get them to people on my site as more of a service than for a profit. By the time we drive miles to get them and store them there’s really not much in it except for pulling out the really old jars for ourselves..
    I laughed so hard thinking about his jar control issues. Wow! I hope to someday have a similar place with a canning kitchen, used jars, fresh produce where people want to come and hang out and share recipes, etcetera. Sounds like my idea would be a good one after reading the jar nazi. I’m making a trip up there just to tell him I’m putting butter in the jars or selling jams and jellies. Lol!


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