I’m all for living greener, saving energy and so on. I think that each one of us should take responsibility for the things we throw away, or how many resources we waste. But seriously…the bag thing is really pissing me off.
I bought a hardcover at lunch (Stephen King‘s The Dome) and a copy of Where the Wild Things Are because I think my daughter’s old copy, the one that she scribbled in with crayon, is in my storage boxes back at my parents’ house and I was really homesick.
The woman rang them up, and pushed them across the counter at me. I looked at her, and asked “May I please have a bag?”
She looked at me, much less pleasantly than I was looking at her, and said “I’ll have to charge you 1p for that.” Subtext: since you’re obviously a planet-killing cretin, you have to pay.
I gave her a £2 coin. I had the 1p, but I wanted to make her make change for two pounds. Because yes, I am a planet-killing cretin. I kill dolphins, too. I mean, my bad – you obviously expected me to stick this armload of books UP M Y ASS to keep the rain off, silly me.
She shoved my karma-destroying make-the-baby-jesus-cry bag at me. I took ages to arrange my books in it even though there was a long line of people behind me. Because it’s, you know, HER fault.
We probably both felt as though we won that one.
It’s the same thing when you go shopping. I don’t know if it’s the same in the States, but here after ringing up a massive weekly food shop, the teller will ask “do you need a bag?” (Or worse, again you have to ask for them.) Like she expects you to say “Why no, I love showing off my abnormally long arms, I’m sure I can carry a week’s worth of food out to the car”. It’s not as though I immediately go out and festoon the local parks and playgrounds with plastic shopping bags – we wrap bread and stuff in them, and then use them again to empty kitty litter in. They are used for wastebasket liners, and so on. That surely saves us from using heavier, less-biodegradable storebought bags for the same purpose.
I hate feeling like a criminal just because I chose to spend some money in a store. I really do.