Plastic Bag Crimes

I am not sure what is happening but shopping has become a lot harder. Up until recently a quick trip to the local supermarket was just that; ‘quick’. Now, however, I am faced with a question at the end of the process that has put my head into a spin. ‘Do you want a carrier bag” says the till operator.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to be sarcastic but what on earth do they think I am going to take my goods home in. I could possibly fit the toothpaste and paracetamol into my jeans pocket but I am not sure I have room for the two bottles of cola, six pork chops, and large bag of spuds.

Before I could even answer this question I was faced with another receptacle centred choice: ‘Would you like a bag for life?’ I was asked as if this were a perfectly normal part of the retail experience.

‘Well actually, I just want it long enough to get me home’ I stuttered wondering what other odd questions might be coming my way.

Apparently this is now the way of things in the world of supermarket shopping with all the major retailers eager to be seen as green when it comes to the public’s consumption of plastic bags.

Where as once upon a time the whole till area was covered in strewn plastic carriers we are now being encouraged to buy some higher quality ones before being reluctantly offer the wafer thin variety that are booby trapped to split just before you reach the boot of your car.

It seems that non-biodegradable plastic is today’s shopping equivalent of the lead in our petrol from a decade ago.

The bag for life schemes are aimed at getting lazy shoppers like me to bring our own carriers to the store so that we don’t continue to fill the world with plastic. Apparently if all the bags used by shoppers in one year were laid end to end they would still rip when you tried to carry two bottles of coke in them.

At first the rebel in me balked at the idea of being forced to think about whether I wanted a bag or not; usually because I am far too eager to end the whole shopping experience. The policy seems to be working because now I am starting to think for myself about my responsibility to the world around me. The fact that the supermarkets make you feel like a minor war criminal if you dare to turn up without the required carting equipment probably helps in this regard.

It started off as ‘Do you want a carrier bag?’ and then moved to ‘Do you want a bag for life?’

Soon, in true Oliver Twist meets Mr Bumble style, it will be ‘You want what!......A Plastic Bag!’

I suppose it is all part of life in the modern world where we are collectively influenced to live responsibly in all that we do. Apparently if I use too many plastic bags it has a direct effect upon the progress of global warming; so that explains why my two weeks holiday was so full of rain!

I went in a store recently that gave me the choice of a ten pence bag or a cardboard box at the end of the till. Ten Pence! That is a quarter of a chocolate bar. If I buy enough for the whole of my shopping I could end up spending a full pound with nothing but a clean environment to show for it.

All went well at first as I loaded my purchases into the box that was once used to transport detergent. Then, as I tried to retrieve my pound coin from the shopping trolley the bottom of the box gave way and all good spilt on to the floor.

At that moment I remember thinking that two shilling for a carrier bag didn’t seem that bad after all. Saving the planet is such hard work!

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