These days the first thing out of my mouth when I stand in front of any cashier isn’t, “Hello, How are you?” I don’t have time to say that. If I don’t practically jump over the counter at the same time they ring me up with, “I don’t need a bag,” they are simply too fast and my product swings slowly from side to side in an unwanted plastic bag, my own canvas bag either in my hand or hanging on my shoulder. Right there in front of them. Right there ready to be used. Right there!!!
I’m always shocked by the looks the cashiers give me. I ate at Subway last month and before the guy could finish wrapping the sandwich, I told him I didn’t want a bag.
“You don’t want a bag? Why not?” He asked, bewildered.
“Do you know how much money your store would save if you didn’t give these out? What do I need a bag for? I can hold the wrapped sandwich in my hand, see?” I said, holding it out at him.
He stared at me like I had nine heads.
“Are you sure you don’t want a bag?” He asked again, shaking his head, with a confused look.
Or the girl at Staples, who moved too fast and bagged my single item.
“I don’t need the bag. You can keep it and use it for the next person. It’s only one item. I can carry it out,” I said, smiling at her.
She shook her head, rolled her eyes and asked, “Why wouldn’t you want a bag?” and threw it in the trashcan as I walked out. WHY? It wasn’t even used! I didn’t even use it! I muttered under my breath all the way to the car.
But as Nadine Sellers says in her blog LastKnownNest, in the post Bagging Out, “It is not a social disgrace to carry your own bag. No jaw will drop, nor bag boy faint for the honorable act of self-discipline.” They may act like it is THE most inconvenient thing ever to happen to them, but that’s about all the harm it will do.
I think the thing that gets me most is when I see well-traveled, educated folks with Master’s Degrees, pursuing doctorate degrees, who have read the statistics and know the facts, loading their cars with plastic bags full of groceries. Or when I used to walk out of the commissary, I would stop for just a second and watch hard-working, military families and every single one of them loaded down with multiple plastic bags. I wanted to scream and cry at the same time.
I hear the same excuses over and over again.
“Forgot it in the car.”
“Forgot it at the house.”
“It’s just so inconvenient.”
“They get so dirty.”
“I can’t be bothered.”
“I’m just lazy.”
Wash them! Go put them in the car! Hang them on the doorknob so you’ll grab them on the way out! Put four or five in your car, all over your house! It’s so easy. As Nadine says, “There is no excuse to keep using plastic grocery bags.” Not anymore, this day and age. We have to make an effort. We have to remember. We have to try. We have to. For the sake of your children, and for mine. And for their children.
It’s the one time, I want to just give up. What’s the point? How much longer can this go on? Until there is no more sea life? No more clean beaches? No more petrol? No more sanity in my head? (Breathe, Jenn….deep breath.) Okay, I got it all out. I should be good to go until the next time I head to the grocery store, which is probably tomorrow.
- Soap Box: Plastic Bags (thepolymind.wordpress.com)
- Editorial: Whether paper or plastic, 5-cent bag fee in Denver checks out (denverpost.com)
- 10 uses for plastic bags (mrshinesclass.com)
I love when I shop and a clerk asks if I want a bag and doesn’t just assume I do and pack up my goods. Here in CO a few counties are implementing a 5-10cent tax on bags at grocery, convenience, and target stores. I’d say that is one way to get people to use reusable bags 😀
It’s coming, Jennifer – it has happened up here, so it will start to filter down. Some cities have banned plastic bags altogether, others just charge for them, always ask if you want them and offer rewards points when you bring your own. The store that we shop at sells bins (we have 4 that we take with us on shopping trips toi fill with groceries – no bags necessary at all..
I feel your pain, I get the same looks and no longer explain, I say in a strong voice “NO PLASTIC” and that gets attention. If they hesitate I smile and add “NONE”.
In our area stores don’t carry plastic bags anymore (only for products in bulk). If you want a bag from the store you have to pay 10 cents and those are the paper bags.
In some stores if you bring your own bags they give you 10 cents discount for each bag you use.
I take a bag – ALWAYS (and if not, my handbag is usually big enough). BUT, the ‘self serve’ checkouts have a hissy fit when I place the bag on the scales for bagging – and a hissy fit when I remove one, to replace it. Which then means i need the cashier. I’m mostly OK with this, but the BF does NOT have the patience for all this drama, and I can sort of agree. Come on, big grocery, make it EASY for me to SAVE you money by not using your bags…
I have to say, though, Australia it’s increasingly normal to go the ‘no bag’ route. Not so much when my family travels to Asia. Or your neck of the woods, it would seem.
Reblogged this on Loving Life: A Green Journey and commented:
This is a great article from a great environmental site…I just had to reblog it. The message is clear, important and one of my favorites. We have cloth bags within reach at all time too.
Great post…I reblogged it…great message. We have 10 cloth bags in each the car and the truck…no excuses…if we forget and feel lazy…we buy more.
Keep up the refusing ! Of course , the best action would be to avoid these shops altogether, have you considered more locally sourced alternatives ?
I’m at war on plastic bags in my house. I’ve always been pretty good at using cloth (I keep a small one in my handbag at all times, plus some in the car and some near the shopping list). But my husband isn’t always as strict or takes them and forgets to tell the cashier he has them. If it was me I’d take the items out of the bag and return it to use my own bag, he won’t do that.
I switched to cloth shopping bags a long time ago and finally got my mom to do the same, best decision I ever made yet.~ I even carry most of my stuff in a cloth shopping bag and have for over a year and it has never ripped!~ ^_^ It is VERY strong!~ 🙂 I just signed up for the U.S.A. Navy Military and I plan on NEVER EVER “THROWING ANYTHING EVER AWAY” EVER, where ever I live you WILL NOT find a SINGLE “TRASHCAN” because the concept of “trash” DOES NOT EXIST FOR ME and it only exists in the deluded minds of the Humans who made it up, NATURE “wastes” nothing so this is an artificial concept!~ ^_^ Zero-Waste Lifestyle forever, yeah!~