A Nation of Shopkeepers Bags

Previously plastic bags were compulsory when you shopped and drum roll…they were free. Now horror upon horror the customer is hit with a stealth tax at the checkout as a nominal fee is imposed in some shops to wean the shopper off their plastic habit. This is unfair, they shout as when we hire a trolley we get our pound back when we’ve finished with it. That is true but retailers citing the green issue are cashing in.

Like the little puppy at Christmas a plastic bag is for life. It takes 500 years (human years not dog years) for these bags to decay in a landfill. The plastic bag is not very resilient and when over-filled bursts quite easily. Hence we see double baggers in shops which add to the problem as most of the bags are thrown away after one use. Double baggers are loathed almost as much as the eleven item consumer in the ten or less queue.
So what’s to be done?

The paper bag option is also a fragile boom and bust container but has nowhere near the half-life of its plastic counterpart. All sorts of items would tear the pulped wood to ribbons: prickly pear, lobster claws, Satay sticks and other dangerous foods. And usually after being used they litter the streets. I think paper bags are a waste of a tree and could be used to make more copies of a good book like The History of Tractors.

Re-usable bags are a good idea, the only thing I see wrong with them is the advertising of a specific shop leading to a misleading comedy of errors. For example, you have a big reusable Tesco bag and house it with a sweater bought from Marks and Spencer’s. Problems could occur if on meeting a friend he is hungry and asks kindly if he could eat something from your groceries; he can’t eat a big woolly jumper.

A solution would be for shoppers to carry a bed sheet or beach towel to the shops. They could place all the goodies on the sheet then wrap it up, tie it and force a stick through the knot and walk about like an American cast-off railroad Hobo.

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7 Comments on “A Nation of Shopkeepers Bags”

  1. Expat Says:

    Wahington DC shops are now openly charging for every plastic bag, however teensy. Time was when all the supermarkets here gave you a choice of paper or plastic. Now it's just plastic that gets visibly thinner by the day. Or you can buy re-usable bags imprinted with the store name. I have some of these. But I do object to the free advertising (which is why I don't have any Louis Vuitton luggage or clothes with labels on the outside either).

    My solution is to collect free bags from other sources. Trade shows are good. Yes, the bags are imprinted also but nobody where I shop has ever heard of the companies or organizations so it doesn't count. My US Corps of Engineers black and gold number goes down a treat in the local Safeway…

    …that is, when I remember to take it. The sad fact is that 95% of the time I'm at the checkout before I realize that my bags are still hanging on the hook in the storage room at home!


  2. Hello JW – triffic Bubbles clip!

    Here in France, there came a Day Without Warning when the Intermarché just Refused our request for a bag please. Refused with gleeful glare, I might add.

    So now we have three or four Reuseable bags that we paid exorbitantly for and which do indeed save the store Zillions on advertising.

    And they're Absolutely Disgusting after all this time – Being Green seems to mean never chucking away your ground-in microbes.

    I'm going to keep my eye open, Expat, for nice shiny, somebody-else's bags, and Pinch them!

  3. Expat Says:

    But the most fun is to take the bags from ONE supermarket into a RIVAL STORE and watch the checkout person struggle not to say anything as she packs your purchases!

    (Yes, over here, your groceries are bagged for you and they always ask if you need help loading them into your car.I suppose this wouldn't work for a high Street store where you had to park a mile away. Our stores tend to have a big, attached car park.)

  4. JW10 Says:

    Good evening Ladies,

    Up here the big supermarkets still give you the flimsy plastic bags for free however, most people take their own. My wife has a collection of reusable bags and we’re doing our bit for the environment. Don’t tell any of my mates I’m going green, I’ll get kicked off the supporters bus.

    When reading up about plastic bags- Yes I really do a bit of research, y’know- I found out that a lot of discarded bags are dangerous to animals. Birds eat them and the plastic can choke them. Plastic bags in waterways can suffocate fish. So now if I ever see any littered about I put them straight in a bin and ultimately to their long sleep in the landfill.

    I see you still have no YouTube videos in your blog, Dolores. I’ll try and give you some instructions again.
    On the right hand side of the video you have chosen there is a small box with the uploaders name and info about the video
    At the bottom of the box it should say Embed.
    Right click anywhere in this rectangle.
    You have only one option. Select all. Left click select all.
    The rectangle should be shaded (blue in my computer)
    Right click again. Left click copy.
    Paste this onto your blog.

    I know it sounds complicated but keep trying and you’ll work it out.

  5. Expat Says:

    From the field that I'm in, I know quite a bit about landfills too, JW. It's truly scary how long the garbage can take to break down.


  6. I feel sorry for them, all chained together. What hope do they have? There is no future, nothing to look forward to, except a life of being endlessly pushed around, and then being abandoned with no food or drink.

    So I say don’t buy the Bag For Life! Don’t buy the Big Green Bag! Take the supermarket trolley home with you!

    Handy Tip: Put your Xmas chocolate money coins in the freezer, and take a coin with you when you nip round to the supermarket. . . .


  7. CI – I never realised how jolly useful a shedful of trolleys could prove – brilliant!

    JW, I know it Should flaming work, but it keeps Selecting several pages of youtube Far Beyond the clip I want. Thankee for you continued help – I shall persevere


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