Inside the Glitter Factory


After reading this, I'm going to be shitting rainbows for a week.

He did not want me to visit his glitter factory. The jovial Mr. Shetty told me over the phone that people have no idea of the scientific knowledge required to produce glitter, that Glitterex's glitter-making technology is some of the most advanced in the world, that people don't believe how complicated it is, that he would not allow me to see glitter being made, that he would not allow me to hear glitter being made, that I could not even be in the same wing of the building as the room in which glitter was being made under any circumstance, that even Glitterex's clients are not permitted to see their glitter being made, that he would not reveal the identities of Glitterex's clients, and that, fine, I was welcome to come down to Glitterex headquarters to learn more about what I could not learn about in person. [...]

That is, until one entered the bottling warehouse itself, which looked like an industrial manufacturing plant colonized by pixies. The concrete floor was finely coated with what appeared to be crushed moonbeams. The forklift winked with shiny crimson flecks. The metal coils of the conveyor belt shone with a rainbow crust. And yet, the space gave the impression of being tidy and well-swept, not unlike a Dust Bowl kitchen if the prairie topsoil had been Technicolor.

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13 Responses:

  1. David Glover-Aoki says:

    Reddit is trying to figure out the mystery industry and that is the largest buyer of glitter:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/a8hrk0/which_mystery_industry_is_the_largest_buyer_of/

    • jwz says:

      To help us avoid having to read all of that -- did anyone come up with anything good?

      • nooj says:

        Only this:

        One thing no one has mentioned: during the Iraq conflict, we (US) apparently dumped material out of planes to cause intentional problems with electronics and electrical devices in the countries we were attacking. I always assumed it to be at Mylar lIke material. This use would both best be kept secret and require vast amounts of material, probably to the tune of hundred-pound bales of mixed hitter and tinsel? I wonder if this fits the bill? The defense department would buy by the ton, right? It all seems to fit?

      • Louis says:

        I thought the author gave it up with the "automotive grade glitter" at the end of the paragraph? A lot of cars have sparkle in their colors.

        • Ben says:

          Yeah, that seemed like it. There's a lot of car paint out there.

          My guess outside the text of the article is that it's a food additive, for stuff like sparkly or pearlescent gum, and with the controversy of microplastics in soap they don't want to admit the microplastics in food.

        • jwz says:

          "They don't want you to know it's glitter" and "you can't tell it's glitter" rule out auto paint, because of course it's glitter and yes you can tell.

      • MattyJ says:

        Okay. I took the hit and did a hard browse through about the first half of that Reddit thread. Diminishing returns and all. The ones that seem possible to me are:

        Toothpaste
        The military (chaff or similar modern uses)
        Money/passports
        Taggants for industrial explosives
        Plywood
        Glass/all-purpose cleaners

        My favorite answer:

        "I know for a fact that it is Arby's, but I don't know what they do with it. It is not in the roast beef."

  2. MattyJ says:

    I've been wondering a few years about this, because my brain is stupid and sometimes only remembers stupid things.

    Ke$ha (on her glitter budget): "It’s probably more like a few thousand every month. .. It’s my goal to cover the planet in glitter and take the fuck over. I can’t do that if I don’t have a shit-ton of glitter."

    So apparently she goes through maybe 20-30 pounds of glitter a month? I'm hoping that closure to this anecdote can allow that memory cell in my brain to be filled with something more worthwhile.

  3. Tree Speaker says:

    Toothpaste wouldn't seem to be enough volume. Maybe shampoo? Would be surprised if it is anything eaten.

  4. pagrus says:

    How about that sparkly cement? I imagine you'd need to use a lot of glitter to have enough of it be visible. And yeah you can look at it and think hey that's probably glitter, but it doesn't really look like glitter the way glitter craft projects do.

    • jwz says:

      I had assumed that they didn't add sparkles to concrete, that it's just years of broken car window residue.

    • Gabriel Rosenkoetter says:

      Apparently (see also) that's either some kind of abrasive fiber (I tried to figure out what "Sil-car" actually means, but failed utterly, so maybe that's actually glitter) or aluminum oxide.

      Or, as JWZ says, broken glass, I guess.

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