I know nobody wants to say this but I’m personally tired of the subtle attitude I get from lazy treehugging cashiers when I ask for plastic bags. Listen, nobody wants to save the planet more than I do. It’s not the planet’s fault that humans are stupid. The planet got a raw deal. Most of the other species that inhabit earth do a way better job at taking care of earth than we do. Which is appalling considering we’re supposed to be the smartest. What we’ve done to this planet is the equivalent of having sex every night on the same bed sheets for thousands of years and only washing them maybe every 4 or 5 hundred years. Disgusting when you think about it. Easier to not think about it. Here’s the thing though….. I feel guilty for that, but not to the point where I don’t want my friggin groceries to get bagged.
When I was a child, I fondly remember my father coming home from work with Paper Bags full of groceries. I’m no expert, but it seems that nowadays we could just recycle paper bags, couldn’t we? I don’t think we recycled back then. Probably just set everything on fire, I don’t remember. Then we got plastic, which is way more awesome for holding groceries, but bad for the environment. Suddenly, society grew a brain and decided that there should be a movement towards saving the planet. So now plastic has been replaced by an optional ‘bring your own bag’ system which makes perfect sense. I’m happy to do it. I’m doing it for the environment dammit!!! When I remember that is.
There is a fundamental flaw with this system which is the ‘optional’ part. Due to a combination of laziness and forgetfulness, and me personally being afflicted with both, I often don’t bring my own bags. I have them. I must have a dozen of them. Chances are they are just outside in the trunk of my car, but I’m not walking out there to get them once I’m already in line with my shopping cart. So then I get to the front of the line, and the cashier is asking me if I need bags. I tell her I do, and she asks how many. The thing is I don’t know! I have probably a hundred bucks worth of groceries to buy, so why don’t you just bag them up, and then you can tell me how many we used. I didn’t know I was required to keep count of how many bags my purchase would potentially take up so I could accurately assess that for you at the time of purchase.
Then there’s this new thing where I’m now kind of expected to bag these groceries myself. She either puts the bags I brought over to the side and rings everything through, and doesn’t start bagging until the end, or she grabs 6 or 7 plastic bags and sets them over there too. Now when she sets my bags to the side like that and bags at the end, it’s one thing, but when she grabs 6 or 7 plastic bags and sets them over there (not using the hooks that keep the bags open, so you can just drop the items in), the expectation is that you want me to bag my own stuff. So you want me to bring the bags, and now you want me to bag my purchases too? Why don’t I sweep the fucking aisles while I’m at it. I’m sure there’s a couple of skids of frozen goods I could consolidate as well. If I didn’t want service, I would have gone to the self-serve checkout, or I would have gone to some no-name brand carrying discount store. I know this isn’t a gourmet fine foods retailer, but it’s a half decent grocery store. When I go to a half decent grocery store, I want half decent service!
Let me bring it back to the environmental issue. I am sensitive to this, although my sensitivity wears thin when I’m made to feel guilty every time I use a plastic bag. I want all you blog readers to know that I do re-use these plastic bags. I keep them, and I use them to line the garbage cans in my bathrooms. So it’s not a one-dimensional life for these plastic bags. They get to do 2 jobs before destroying the environment. All you grocery store lineup hippies giving me the look because you remembered your environmentally friendly bags, and I forgot mine…….what do you line your garbage cans with??? Do I see Glad Kitchen Catchers going into your eco-friendly bag? Or the big green garbage bags?? Don’t be a hypocrite! You better be all plastic free, or cast your judgemental eyes aside!! I’m tired of this shit!!!
Or…… maybe none of this is really happening…. maybe it’s just perceived, and I’m just really really tired and need a vacation.
Just as an aside…. If you use self checkouts, then you support robots taking over the planet….. more on that in another blog some other time!
January 14th, 2013 at 11:33 pm
See, what you say is all true in the advanced and civilized Canada.Here in the U.S…the more wasted plastic bags the better. Whenever I go grocery shopping, the lady who fills my bags puts top 2 or 3 items in a bag, making sure to use at least 20 when I would probably only need 4 (and I’m not exaggerating). In Italy, on the other hand, they make you pay for the plastic bags you use and you fill them up yourself, so you really make sure to fill them up to the very top.
January 14th, 2013 at 11:50 pm
Line for line, I was thinking the exact same thing!
Additionally, I’m looking forward to the Robot Revolution post.
January 15th, 2013 at 12:13 am
Yeah, I’ll have to get to that one before the robots actually do take over, and then everyone will be like ‘yeah I know’.
January 15th, 2013 at 12:11 am
In Toronto we had a 5 cent bag rule for a while. I was happy to pay it, but later realized the government never collected, it just went to the store. More of a deterrent. Now had the government collected it, and put the proceeds toward environment initiatives, then I would consider Canada more civilized 🙂
January 14th, 2013 at 11:39 pm
This isn’t a problem yet in my area, plastic bags are still pretty much the norm. What I do not know, though, is what I will do when plastic grocery bags are eliminated. Not only do I use them in my bathroom trash can, but I also fill them up with cat poo when I clean litter boxes. I can’t bring myself to pay money for something to hold poop.
January 15th, 2013 at 12:12 am
At least you’re re-using. Cat poo has to sit somewhere!
January 14th, 2013 at 11:55 pm
I agree with you 100%!!!! I take in my “re-useable” bags when I remember – and when I don’t – I buy plastic knowing they will be used to line my garbage cans or picking up dog poop from the yard.
What really bothers me is going to store where you’ve made a major purchase – and the store still asks for the 5 cents for the bag. Point in case – I was in the Rogers Wireless Store in the TD Centre simply to ask a question about my plan. The gentleman in front of my bought a brand new Blackberry (retail between $400 – $500) and accessories to go with (say between $150 – $200) which he pays in full and the girl behind the counter blushes and tells him she must charge him 5 cents for the bag with which he NEEDS to carry all his purchases in as they clearly will not fit in his already overflowing briefcase. I was appalled. This store just made a major sale and they couldn’t cough up the 5 cents for the bag???? Now that is complete cheapness. I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut and commented on it – she agreed with me and said that if she had ot her way she wouldn’t have charged him for the bag. However her “manager” checks the receipts every day and questions each sale where a bag was not purchased. His reasoning – it’s the law.
Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? Like Bi-law enforcement is going to come and slap the cuffs on him for missing 10 bags that would total 50 cents.
If I understand this Bi-law – the stores have to charge you for the plastic bag BUT they are supposed to have an alternative. When I mentioned this to the sales clerk at Rogers she said their “alternative” to the plastic bag was to pay 99 cents for a fabric Rogers bag – which frankly – after purchasing $600 worth of items from should be GIVEN to the customer as a sign of customer appreciation.
I’m sure Roger’s isn’t the only store that does that. When I look through my “re-useable” bags I find I have purchased from : Wal-Mart, Loblaws, Bulk-Barn, Big Al’s, PJs Pets, all shapes and sizes just to name a few.
Tell me – how can the LCBO be the only store I can think of that freely uses paper bags and you have to ASK for plastic.
I thonk I’m done ranting – just wanted to share my thoughts.
January 15th, 2013 at 12:16 am
Yeah, it’s dumb. I’ve never heard of the law getting involved in this, but I guess retailers have to do what they have to do. I agree though about the customer service end of charging 5 cents on a $400 purchase. I think Rogers could pony up and pay for that one.
January 15th, 2013 at 2:46 am
I laughed so hard I’m in tears. I started laughing in the first paragraph and kept going with the continuous nodding repeating “yap, that’s me”, “that too”! but then I got to the comments and it got worse I’m positively in tears, especially after the cat poo comment because that is precisely what I do after lining the small trashcans in the house. So they get three times the life in my house. In all honesty, we use reusable bags and even recycling to comfort our own guilty conscience. In all reality what the industry, the cars, the gas, etc. are doing to mother earth, not to mention the fact that we aren’t dying as much hence the population explosion will destroy earth long before our plastic bags clog up our right our passage into the next world (of robotics I mean, I am not speaking of the pearly gates)!. Thanks for the laughs
January 15th, 2013 at 3:14 am
Thank you. Not sure what we even feel guilty about. It’s the companies that can make the difference by coming up with an alternative to plastic bags. Which I hope happens, but in the meantime, I need to get my groceries home, and I’m not a professional juggler, so….. also, what’s with all the cats???
January 15th, 2013 at 1:50 pm
Just to add, Mississauga stopped accepting plastic bags in the recycling bin…..so guess what? We put plastic in the garbage. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of sending bags to the dump?
Anyways, my 2 cents and before I go Rye, bring your reusable bags with you from the car before you shop. 🙂
January 16th, 2013 at 3:54 am
Yeah Yeah…. Stop lecturing me 😉
January 15th, 2013 at 1:50 pm
I havent been around WP for a while so I missed your weekly rants. Good pick this week! Being a cheap Indian (this stereotyope is true)I think this whole 5 cent bag is such a scam. I feel so strongly about what a scam this is that whenever I forget to get my green PC bag, I actually spend a whole dollar a buy another one! :s Now I have thousands of green bags and have spent at least 80 bucks on green bags. I don`t know if I`m cheap, stupid or a hippie (most likely all three).
Regardless, as one of the commenters mentioned poop, I occasionally get the plastic bag when it looks like my bathroom garbage can needs a new bag.
Also, I thought you might enjoy this article. Now you know where this trend is starting. And there`s nothing ANYONE can do about it once its touched by Gosling:
January 16th, 2013 at 3:58 am
Male Celebrity Knitters!! It was only a matter of time. So you claim to be cheap, but you bought 80 $1 green bags??? Do you know how many plastic bags you could’ve got for $80??
January 16th, 2013 at 1:29 pm
I know I know! I see the flaws in my half-ass thinking. I am cheap! But I will forgo my cheapness to not give in to this plastic bag scam. In essence I`m actually spending more money out of spite.
I`m also probably the only Indian in the world who can`t do math.I would have 1600 plastic bags for $80.00. I used a calculator to figure that out
January 19th, 2013 at 4:40 am
I gotta say…and everyone in North America should be ashamed – Taiwan is wayy ahead of everyone on the recycling game. In my parents’ condo building, there’s an entire room, the size of some people’s living rooms – dedicated to the separation of garbage. Food waste – 4 bins; plastic containers (like the ones holding strawberries and blueberries) – another bin; tin cans – another bin; plastic jug containers (juice containers) – another bin; glass bottles – one bin; glass glass (ie. Broken glass, window pane glass…whatever the Taiwanese use to kill themselves with, when confronted with the monumental recycling task ahead of them) – another bin. I could go on and on. It takes me about half an hour to “take the garbage out”. And you ask for a plastic bag, you’re a leper of the most monumental proportions…you’re almost like…a *Canadian* who can’t remember to bring his tote bag to the Safeway 😉
January 19th, 2013 at 1:05 pm
Good for the Taiwanese!! Didn’t they invent Bubble Tea?? They’re alright in my book.
January 25th, 2013 at 11:45 pm
You became a blogstar, you got a bunch of comments! How did you do that? You actually write fun interesting stuff, you don’t post recipes or pictures of yourself wearing things you bought at target and you don’t pretend to be crafty. I want to be a blogstar too!!!
January 26th, 2013 at 2:49 pm
Well thank you! You’re an excellent writer, so I’m sure you’ll get more comments along the way. I find (sadly) that the more controversial the topic, or the more ranting and raving I do, the more popular it seems to be. So I guess no sunshine and puppy dogs for me 😦