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)