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Source: FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Garfield phones have been washing up on the French coast for nearly 40 years. Now we know why.

Contributed by
Mar 28, 2019

Remember when Garfield memorabilia seemed inescapable? With a comic strip, cartoon series, and ubiquitous car window toy, the Monday-hating cat created by Jim Davis was everywhere. But he plagued one French beach particularly strongly. Garfield-branded phones, orange plasticky landline phones, have been washing up on the Iroise coast in Brittany since the ‘80s. Now its residents have figured out why.

According to the BBC, the infamous novelty phones had been the bane of anti-litter groups for decades. However, because of renewed media attention last year thanks to activist group Ar Vilantsou’s use of the phone as an anti-litter symbol, a farmer local to the area came forward to shed some light on the mysterious and unending tide of cat phones.

It had long been assumed that a shipping container had been lost, with the phone parts slowly leaking out onto the shore. Thanks to the farmer, those baffled by the plastic proliferation finally had a solid answer: It was a shipping container, knocked loose during a storm in the early ‘80s. And he knew about the sea cave where it rested.

"You had to really know the area well," the farmer said. "We found a container aground in a fissure. It was open. Many of the things were gone, but there was a stock of phones.”

And yes, the anti-litter brigade went in search of it ... and yes, they found it. The only problem? It’s stuck, buried beneath rocks. So Ar Viltansou and other locals will continue collecting the bits and pieces of Garfield’s shattered telephonic merch, saving the environment one Monday at a time.

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