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Ever Wonder Why There's a Person's Name Printed on the Bottom of Your Paper Bag?

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For some reason, I happened to glance at the bottom of a brown paper deli bag recently (not the one pictured below) and noticed a name printed on the bottom.

If you haven't noticed it before, check it out next time you go for a cup of coffee, buy groceries, or grab a sandwich from the corner deli--turn over your paper bag, and right there, will be the name of the person who made it.

This bag is a Maribel Dominguez original, manufactured on October 29, 2007, in the Elizabeth, New Jersey plant of the Duro Bag Manufacturing Company. (The "EL" tells us the location, 48 B is Ms. Dominguez's workstation.)

"The names are there to give the employees a sense of pride in their work; it's almost like autographing the bag," a Duro spokesperson told me on the phone.

This is something that has gone largely unnoticed--at least in recent years. Back in 1987, Diane Ketchum from the New York Times tracked down one Raymond Rivera, a worker at the Stone Container Corporation in Huntington, Long Island.

'''It makes us care more about our work,'' he said. "My wife, Judith, looks for my bags whenever she goes shopping in Pathmark."

In 2002, NPR's Barbara Klein became intrigued by a fellow named Alan Rumbo, whose name she had seen over and over again on her bags. She interviewed Rumbo on the air--which makes for a fascinating listen.

Click HERE to hear Rumbo explain how his publicly-acknowledged (by those who read the bottoms of paper bags) bag-making prowess has "propelled him to hero status with his kids."
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