Do shop owners offer a course in “How to annoy your customers”, I wonder. I dislike shopping at the best of times but an efficient and friendly (even if they’re faking) staff can make the experience bearable. One recent development that reflects government green policy is particularly galling. The dreaded plastic carrier bag has become the red headed step child of shopping.
The government and hence the shop argument goes something like this: Plastic bags are bad for the environment. We should use less bags or the same bags more often. If shops don’t reduce shopping bag use then the government will tax the bags in an effort to force then to be more environmentally conscientious.
The supermarket response to this is to sell “bags for life” and canvas bags and (this is the bit I hate) reduce the quality of the free bags and offer less of them. This leaves the shopper with a bag that splits before you get home or the option to double bag everything thereby increasing bag use. A split bag cannot be reused so it will add to the environmental damage. I don’t know about you but I use my carrier bags for bagging up rubbish before it goes in the bin, for cleaning our the cat box and various sundry tasks that need a bag. I don’t just throw them straight in the bin.
Coupled with the lower quality bag is the new policy that shops seem to have adapted of not providing or offering bags unless you ask for them. I don’t like asking for bags and I don’t like people packing for me. They do it wrong. I want to be given enough bags to pack my shopping properly and I don’t want to talk sacks to the poor checkout girl or boy. I’d rather talk about the weather or the state of the economy or holidays or some crap other than plastic bags. I don’t want to feel like I’m asking for something that should be provided for free.
I have a solution though. An environmentally sound, low cost solution for everyone. Shops should provide reinforced paper bags with card handles, the paper from sustainable forests of course or bags of another material that degrade quickly. Better yet, they should carry the shopping home for me and stop being so annoying.
9 responses to “le sac magique”
If you order online they’ll deliver for you 🙂
I like the foldy up reusable bags. I take two of them and my rucksack which makes carrying the shopping home a doddle.
Paper bags. The way forward. Then we can load up our groceries and walk outside, a bag in the crook of each arm… and watch as our shopping plunges to the car park floor, just like the old days.
Dom, do they deliver them in bags? I dislike ordering fresh food online because I like to look at what I’m buying. Not because I obsess over the appearance of amusing shaped vegetables or anything, you understand.
I’ve also started carrying around a hold up bag but it’s under protest.
Brennig, better the car park than the bus.
Here we have the choice of paper bags or plastic bags (the thin kind that sometimes split) or canvas bags you buy and reuse.
I like using the plastic bags to put trash in, like you said, plus, they are recyclable – there’s a recycling box at the grocery store to retun extra ones.
They always bag stuff for you in the US. I forget it’s not like that in England then get embarrassed because I’m just standing around and forgot I’m supposed to bag them myself.
We went to France a couple of years ago and they have no bags – you bring your own or you don’t have any. That caught us out.
Helen, I really hate having my bags packed for me. It’s always done wrong. When the checkout person doesn’t ask me and just starts packing I get very funny and repack everything my way. What would the bag packers in America think of my obsession?
As for the French…well…they just aren’t a civilized nation are they? 😉
I hate other people packing my bags. You’re right. They do it wrong, they don’t balance the load between two bags, they squash my bread and crush my biscuits.
hf, I’m not sure what American packers would do. At the grocery store which uses thin plastic bags they use a ton of them because they hardly put anything in each one. At the one which uses big paper bags they generally put the heavy stuff at the bottom.
What annoys me most is they often aren’t very gentle with the fruit as they ring it up.
I go to a grocery store where i pack my own bags. I’ve grown quite accustomed to it too. i didn’t realize how wrong they had been doing it all these years!
Hov – I see your point in this post and feel your frustration as well. It’s all wacky to me!
I read an article over the weekend about one of the big supermarkets and their reaction to the government meddling with regards to plastic bags.
In essence it said that they’d been consulting for over a year on how to not only reduce the use of bags at the checkout, but also food packaging at wholesale and shop level. After some time they were finally starting to make progress tro reduce plastic usage, then out of nowhere the government decided to make an announcement saying bags would be banned / charged etc, essentially undoing all the good work that the supermarket had been striving to do in one go.