Saturday, December 6, 2014

Shopping bags

Every Saturday, I go grocery shopping for the family for the week. I take an armful of shopping bags with me to load everything in to. These are large and sturdy cloth bags bought from the store and which have served us well for many years,

Yes, it's a greener option than getting and discarding paper or plastic bags each week, but it's also convenient. It makes everything easy to carry from the car into the house in three or four trips. I take shopping bags with me, and I expect to use them, because it makes life easier for me, the paying customer.

So why do I have a battle every week with the cashier trying to leave items out of the bags for me to carry individually? They seem to be on a mission to use as few bags as possible.

I wonder if it's in their cashier training manual, because the store offers 3 cents per bag incentive for shoppers to bring their bags in. Well, I've brought mine in and I'd like to be allowed to use them. I honestly don't care about pitiful incentives, keep those few cents if that's what you're worried about, just stop trying to make life awkward for me.

A 5lb bag of potatoes, a similar-sized bag of carrots. "Do you want those left out?" No I bloody well don't. What an asinine question. You can get both of those into one bag and still have room for other things on top.

But while you're at it, stop trying to stuff one more item on top of that already-overflowing bag, I have plenty more here. No need to overload them so that they spill their contents all over the car on the way home.

Even that family-sized carton of cereal can go in. Yes, it's pretty much the size of a bag on its own and there's not much chance of getting anything else in there, but yes, I want it in a bag. You see, rather than tucking an awkward box under my arm to carry, a bag has handles!

So don't roll your eyes at me. Have you ever shopped for a family of four? If you did, you'd know what I'm talking about.


  1. Where we shop, they give us bags galore. (Sorry, I don't take in my own.) Everything is in a bag, including many items on their own.
    We do reuse and recycle all the extra bags though.

  2. We shop at Winco where we bring our own bags and bag everything ourselves. It's hard getting everything in those bags. Put in too much and the bags rip or the handles come off. A five pound bag of potatoes is the worst.

  3. I guess I should have mentioned, I'm talking about sturdy cloth bags here that we bought years ago and have done us sterling service ever since. I'll edit the post :)

    Alex, we reuse plastic bags too, but I find that given half a chance they accumulate far quicker than we can use them.

    Stephen, if you're talking about those flimsy plastic bags then I agree. They are useless!

  4. Hi Ian - I do both ... sometimes I forget to take the bags with me. I re-use the plastic ones and some are 'born' to disintegrate - I put things in them (some years ago granted) and then want to look ... the bag disintegrates into tiny pieces ... planned obsolescence! Love that phrase - first came across it in the 70s ...

    Anyway - I desperately try not to get cross/dispirited at cashiers .. but such is life apparently ... and I certainly can't carry bags of potatoes and heavy stuff in one bag ... once home I have to separate them and run up and downstairs to the car to collect .. living in a flat - has its advantages and disadvantages ...

    But a good reminder to be more aware of waste .. cheers Hilary

  5. We use cloth bags here....I have a few that I made and some that I bought at the grocery store. We also have lots of bags and for some reason they try to pack all the really heavy stuff in one bag. For heavens sake, we're seniors....ease up on the load people.

  6. Hilary, don't know if it's the same in the UK, but here the plastic bags are biodegradable, and yes, they are flimsy. We still re-use them as much as possible before finally recycling them.

    Delores, the weight isn't a problem for me (yet) but I don't want them tipping over or overflowing. But they seem determined to use as few of my bags as they can possibly get away with.

    It's a shame, because I love the staff at my grocery store, and they are really excellent packers in most respects, which makes me believe even more so that they are under instructions from management on this point.

  7. We have to take our own her in SA as plastic supermarket bags are banned. I have the same problem with check out operators deciding that the bigger items really don't need to go in a bag. it makes it so much harder to carry in multiple single items that could be bagged in any of my huge pile of green bags

  8. I wonder if anyone in Saanichton read this post, because today my groceries were all nicely bagged up using all my bags! I couldn't believe it.


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