To Bag or Not To Bag

26 Oct

That is the question …

I work in retail to supplement my writing income which — cough cough really sucks cough cough — and plastic bags have become a hot topic in the retail world. I was reminded of this thanks to my friend and fellow author Selena Robins. Check out her post on this subject at Selena Robins Musings.

Unless you live in a cave in Tibet, you’ll know that plastic bags are evil. They’re responsible for killing thousands of animals and millions of seabirds, causing earthquakes, tsunamis, and global warming. Okay, those last three aren’t true. The first two things may not be true either, according to the scientific community, but for the purposes of this blog, it’s irrelevant.

My point is, we’re encouraged to decrease our plastic bag use to lessen their impact on the environment, whatever that may be. A lot of people, including me when I remember to bring them, carry their groceries in reusable bags. Some bags are better than others. Certain cloth bags are magnets for dog hair. Washing doesn’t help. The hair weaves itself into the fabric. Whoever designed these bags doesn’t own dogs.

Back to my job. It’s fascinating how easy it is to piss people off these days regarding the subject of bags. It causes me a significant amount of on-the-job stress. Do I ask if they want a bag? Should I guess if they need one or not? What to do?

If the customer only buys one or two items, it’s usually a no-brainer. I ask the customer if they need a bag, and they smile and say ‘no.’ Whew. Or I don’t ask, and they don’t tell, and everyone is happy. There are a few exceptions. People will sometimes stand there looking at me, wondering where their bag is. Or I’ll hand them a bag, only to have it shoved back at me, them mumbling in disgust, ‘save your bag’. It’s so hard to know.

When customers buy several items, I’ll ask if they want a bag, and they ‘tsk’, and look at me as though I’m a baby seal killer. Or they’ll watch me pack all their stuff in plastic, then whip out their cloth bag and make me pack it over again. They do that on purpose, I swear. If I don’t ask, they give me dirty looks until I get them a bag, mumbling, ‘can’t carry all this shit by myself’. It’s a lose lose scenario.

So what’s your opinion of plastic bags? Take my poll! I’ve recently discovered the poll feature and like to use it a lot lately. Don’t worry, the novelty will wear off soon enough.

6 Responses to “To Bag or Not To Bag”

  1. Una Tiers October 27, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Hi Nancy: At the office supply store, I opt for a box or carry smaller items in a pile to the car.
    Una Tiers

    • nancyelizabethlauzon October 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      Hi Una,

      Good for you. My problem is remembering to bring a box or bag, and if I don’t have a bag, I worry I might drop something. It’s happened to me before. But then, I’m a bit of a spaz at times, LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Lindsay Buroker (@GoblinWriter) October 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    I go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s because they only use paper, so I don’t need to feel like a dick for using a plastic bag if I forgot my dog-hair-adorned tote (well, that’s not the only reason I go to those stores, but it’s a perk).

    Environmental issues aside, I hate plastic bags because all the stores around here seem to think a max of three items goes in a bag. TJ’s double bags and packs ’em full so you walk to the car with a max of one or two bags, not 18. Hmm, boy, everybody does have a rant on this topic, it seems. 😛

    • nancyelizabethlauzon October 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      Hi Lindsay,

      So true, about stores using too many plastic bags. I think everyone should go back to paper bags, and we can forget about plastic altogether.

      Thanks for your comments!


  3. Eve Greenwood October 28, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    My local Tesco’s is only a couple of minutes away from my flat, so if I don’t have that much shopping I’ll just carry it home without a bag. But I’ve got a pretty impressive plastic bag collection at home already to use as bin liners, and I’ve started stuffing a couple in my handbag before I go out so I can reuse them then. It’s worked pretty well so far!

    • nancyelizabethlauzon October 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

      Hi Eve,

      That’s what my friend Selena Robins does, she reuses the plastic bags for all sorts of things (including doggie do-do).

      Thanks for commenting!


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