Oct 20, 2009

It's In the (Shopping) Bag

Reusable shopping bags have become all the fashion. Stores want you to buy their reusable bag (with their logo on it, of course) & bring it back to reuse, presumably to save the environment. Yes, all know how environmentally responsible big corporations are. Well, it saves them from having to buy bags, increasing profits. It gives you one more thing to buy, increasing profits. And I suppose their logo on the bag encourages you not to take it to a competitor's store, increasing profits.

The sales clerks hate them because they slows down the line, but CEO's rarely ask the opinion of those in the trenches.

Target and CVS have started paying shoppers to bring their own bags. Not much, but it's nice to pass some of the savings along. Aldi's has always charged for bags. I used to shop there quite often. I liked their paper bags. They hold canned goods and boxes of cereal very nicely. (Have you ever had the corner of a box of macaroni rip your flimsy plastic bag? Sure you have.) If I forgot my bags, I'd use a cardboard carton from the store, or buy a five-cent bag from them. Sam's Club doesn't have "free" bags, just the reusable ones, at 2/$2.74. (Have you noticed how it's hard to buy just one of anything at Sam's?)

Some of us shop on a whim. I might be picking up kids from school and remember that I need cheese for the dinner I'm making that night. I stop at a store on the way home to buy cheese, maybe an extra loaf of bread and some jelly while I'm there... and I did not happen to bring my bags because this was not a planned trip. My choices:

1. Pay more to shop in stores that offer "free" bags.
2. Carry bread, jelly, and cheese out of the store without a bag. Um, too much to carry. Not likely.
3. Shop where they leave cartons lying around for my use - assuming I have cash, since these store don't often take checks or credit cards. Um, not likely.

Remember when I said that being disorganized costs you money? Yeah. Even if it's just the cost of a bag.

H'mmm. I think I'll just wallow in my guilt of ruining the environment and paying extra for the free bags. The stores can feel smug in their environmental do-gooderness. Maybe the tide will turn and ten years from now all those recyclable bags will be at the Goodwill, and people will go back to paper bags.

At that time, I'll try not to be smug and consider myself ahead of the pack.

How are you going to balance care for the environment vs care for your family today?

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