“Would you like a bag for that?”
This has become my new closing statement as I complete transactions in my store. Some people simply smile, and nod, grateful that we offer bags at all. Others shake their head and tell me they’d prefer to take a box. That’s awesome. Then there is the third group of people who inevitably respond to my question with,
“Are you charging for bags?”
“Yes. They are five cents.”
They then look at me like I’ve broken into their bank and stolen all their retirement money, grumble about the high price and throw their money or credit cards down on the counter. In my head I think,
“I’m sorry, did you hear me incorrectly? I’m pretty sure I said FIVE CENTS, not fifty dollars.” Considering how much money I see thrown on the floor or into our “Give and Take” bucket, I’m often flabbergasted that people are so tight with their nickles.
Over the past several months many Ontario stores began charging five cents for their plastic bags to promote the use of reusable bags–which, for the record, typically hold up to three times the amount the cheap plastic ones, AND they help the environment. Sounds like a win-win to me! Most stores have reusable bags located at the cash register for the very reasonable price of 1 – 2 dollars, and will offer incentives to customers who use such bags, such as points toward free groceries, air miles and the like. So, let’s recap: more storage space, store incentives AND help the environment… is this really such a bad thing?
Apparently so. Day after day I hear complaints about the price of bags, and I realize that if my store is your fifth stop of the day and you’ve had to pay for bags at all of them, then sure, you might be a little frustrated. But here’s the thing: I guarantee that reusable bags were sold at at least 50% of the stores you visited, so why not invest? Are engaged in a love affair with plastic?
Or maybe you believe that this is just another gimmick to make more money, and hey, maybe for some it is. But it most definitely is not for us, or stores like Metro who will be using the money collected from the bag fee to “fund the Green Apple School Program which will encourage schools to take part in green programs and will offer grants to conservation and healthy living proposals submitted by teachers and students.” (http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7015197423)
Does that really sound like such a terrible thing? Here. Take my five cents AND keep the bag.
I also understand that this is a relatively “new” thing. We’ve all become so dependent on the convenience of free plastic bags at stores that it’s easy to forget those dang bags you forgot in the car, or at home, so sure. Complain a little. It’s not easy to remember dragging those bags around when it’s not a habit yet. I get it. But here’s the thing–make it a habit. Leave your bags in the front seat where you can see them. Leave a sticky note on the dash to remind you to grab them. Just please, please don’t complain about the price of the bags to me. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t decide to make you pay for them.
…but I do think it’s fabulous.
Go green, or go home.
Now I realize that Ontario is just one tiny speck on a great big map, so what are things like where you’re from? Do you think that stores should charge for bags?