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Old 07-06-08, 06:39 PM   #1
artifice
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battle of the bags: paper or plastic?

So, I was at the grocery store today. I usually bring along my own eco-friendly bag. I also usually shop at a store that is bag it yourself, or run through the self-checkout line because I'm a pretty light shopper and am at the grocery a couple times a week.

Either way, I wasn't paying attention today, and was at a store where they bag for you. The clerk was about half done bagging (two plastic bags) when I apologized and pointed out I brought my own bag. While she was ringing the rest, I started moving the goods over into my bag myself, so as to not bother her (she appeared to be having the worst day of her life). She proceeds to dump out the contents of the filled bag, and throw the empty plastic bag away.

Did I do something wrong?

She missed the point. I bring bags so as to not use bags, and she's throwing out bags that are brand new for no reason?

/rant

More importantly, just wondered if anyone had caught this in the news.
Battle of the Bags: Paper vs. Plastic

I was surprised. Any thoughts? discuss.
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Old 07-06-08, 06:50 PM   #2
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In the town of 2800 people I just moved out of, I would get like three items and they would try to bag it for me. When I told them I didn't want a bag, they looked at me like I was crazy. I'm so happy to be in a town that understands if I have a box of cat food, a frozen pizza, and dish soap, I'm fully capable of carrying that without use of a bag.

On a side note, the plastic bags I did get were horrible hunks of crap that would fall apart on the way home. God, I hated that place. I'm stoked because I just got a couple of very nice bags from Whole Foods for 99 cents.
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Old 07-06-08, 06:50 PM   #3
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Canvas totes here. We have 8 or so in the back of our car. When we go shopping, we bring them in. No reason to use paper or plastic.

A few weeks ago, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and contents for a first-aid kit. The woman behind the pharmacy counter was ringing me up, and I brought out my my canvas tote. She very dramatically rolled her eyes at me, sighed loudly and said "What, you think you're going to save the world or something by using your own bag?"

I just said "Well with people like you in the world, probably not, but at least I try. May I speak to your manager?" She was not amused (nor was I).

So, yes, I do think that some people miss the point, and some even get threatened by it. Strange thing to get threatened by, but it takes all kinds I guess..
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Old 07-06-08, 06:51 PM   #4
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Costco doesn't do bags. Then again, 99.9% of Costco shoppers do their shopping by car, while a very select few (like me) do theirs by walking and biking.

The other supermarkets I go to have biodegradable bags.
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Old 07-06-08, 06:55 PM   #5
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Canvas totes here. We have 8 or so in the back of our car. When we go shopping, we bring them in. No reason to use paper or plastic.

A few weeks ago, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and contents for a first-aid kit. The woman behind the pharmacy counter was ringing me up, and I brought out my my canvas tote. She very dramatically rolled her eyes at me, sighed loudly and said "What, you think you're going to save the world or something by using your own bag?"

I just said "Well with people like you in the world, probably not, but at least I try. May I speak to your manager?" She was not amused (nor was I).

So, yes, I do think that some people miss the point, and some even get threatened by it. Strange thing to get threatened by, but it takes all kinds I guess..
you go blue devil!
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Old 07-06-08, 07:00 PM   #6
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Did I do something wrong?

She missed the point. I bring bags so as to not use bags, and she's throwing out bags that are brand new for no reason?
You did nothing wrong.

I can think of a few reasons why she would do this. If the plastic bag had become separated from the rest of the bunch, it would be much harder to fill. Alternatively, maybe the physical layout was such that it would be easier to pull out the bag filled with groceries and transfer them. The last reason might be because some people are very sensitive about other peoples' food/whatever touching anything their food does.

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The woman behind the pharmacy counter was ringing me up, and I brought out my my canvas tote. She very dramatically rolled her eyes at me, sighed loudly and said "What, you think you're going to save the world or something by using your own bag?"
Wise guy comments like this should be relayed to management. Employees should not insult customers.
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Old 07-06-08, 07:03 PM   #7
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You did nothing wrong.

I can think of a few reasons why she would do this. If the plastic bag had become separated from the rest of the bunch, it would be much harder to fill. Alternatively, maybe the physical layout was such that it would be easier to pull out the bag filled with groceries and transfer them. The last reason might be because some people are very sensitive about other peoples' food/whatever touching anything their food does.
I love that you're so political. Yeah, maybe there was a good reason, my impression however was that she was either having a bad day, or a was simply a witch
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Old 07-06-08, 07:08 PM   #8
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I like it when the clerk rings you up and then your stuff just sits there on the counter unless you ask for a bag. Unfortunately this is not the policy at most of the places I shop.
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Old 07-06-08, 07:08 PM   #9
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a witch? I might have used a different word that rhymes with witch!
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Old 07-06-08, 07:37 PM   #10
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a witch? I might have used a different word that rhymes with witch!
me too, but I like to stay in the good graces of our forum moderators.
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Old 07-06-08, 08:01 PM   #11
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In order of preference:

- reusable bags or backpack
- no bags at all (this REALLY freaks the baggers out)

beyond that, I go back and forth. If I'm getting a really big load of groceries, which is rare, I'll let them bag the produce and put everything else directly into the cart. I tend to alternate between paper and plastic, for no good reason. I reuse both bags whenever possible and recycle them (plastic at the store, paper at the curb) when they're no longer useful.

I'm actively trying to limit my use of all plastics, but something about cutting down trees for bags bothers me as well.

------------

Baggers seem to have been taught a "proper" method for bagging, involving separating different types of foods and double-bagging others. It really seems to throw them off when you hand them a cloth bag. I always feel a little bad about this, though they seem to react positively when I tell them I don't need bags for a lot of other stuff (like 4 half-gallons of milk) - or just start throwing stuff in the basket myself without a bag.

----------

In a retail store, it's often difficult to catch the cashier before they put something in a bag. I'm trying to pay better attention, but if they've already gotten it in the bag before I notice I usually just let it go.
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Old 07-06-08, 08:09 PM   #12
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Wise guy comments like this should be relayed to management. Employees should not insult customers.
Notice the second half of my "wiseguy" comment back to her. I spoke with her manager, and complained. Not sure if it did any good, but I wasn't about to have someone roll their eyes at me when given such a simple request.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:09 PM   #13
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Baggers seem to have been taught a "proper" method for bagging, involving separating different types of foods and double-bagging others. It really seems to throw them off when you hand them a cloth bag. I always feel a little bad about this, though they seem to react positively when I tell them I don't need bags for a lot of other stuff (like 4 half-gallons of milk) - or just start throwing stuff in the basket myself without a bag.
There are some tricks to bagging things quickly so that nothing is damaged either during the bagging process nor after when things shift around. Cloth bags are hard to fill quickly because the sides usually won't stay up, and they have a far greater weight capacity than any other kind of bag which means if you don't pay attention when filling it, it's easy to damage produce.

Also, there are some practices that customers expect such as throwing an extra plastic bag over meats so if they leak they won't mess up other food.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:12 PM   #14
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I love that you're so political. Yeah, maybe there was a good reason, my impression however was that she was either having a bad day, or a was simply a witch
I always give benefit of the doubt. Some people it's because I'm a nice guy, but the reality is that I believe in karma. People who act like jerks regularly meet people just like themselves -- and the punishment they dole out on each other is far better than anything anyone else could come up with.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:27 PM   #15
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I ask for paper always, if available. Paper can be easily recycled; I never see anybody recycle plastic bags, even plastic bags can be.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:34 PM   #16
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Paper is best. Plastic can be useful for canine activity, but I try not to make a habit of using plastic for poop- better to use those biodegradable gloves for that.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:40 PM   #17
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I ask for paper always, if available. Paper can be easily recycled; I never see anybody recycle plastic bags, even plastic bags can be.
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Paper is best. Plastic can be useful for canine activity, but I try not to make a habit of using plastic for poop- better to use those biodegradable gloves for that.
I'd say I re-use both equally, so it really depends what I'm out of. Plastic bags get used as trash bags and lunch sacks, and paper bags for recycling. Did you guys check out the link in the OP? Its got some interesting info on the paper v. plastic debate.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:51 PM   #18
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I'd say I re-use both equally, so it really depends what I'm out of. Plastic bags get used as trash bags and lunch sacks, and paper bags for recycling. Did you guys check out the link in the OP? Its got some interesting info on the paper v. plastic debate.
First off, that is not you in your avatar.

Secondly, did check out the video. It was interesting. I'm gonna stick with my new dollar bags.
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Old 07-06-08, 10:03 PM   #19
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First off, that is not you in your avatar.
You don't know me!! Actually, its a reflection of how I was feeling today, so its fitting.

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Secondly, did check out the video. It was interesting. I'm gonna stick with my new dollar bags.
ditto
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Old 07-06-08, 10:25 PM   #20
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Used to work for a company that was a major supplier of garbage bags, styrofoam plates and accessories as well as a major supplier for many fast food restaurants.

First the battle of freon 12 did in a lot of the styrofoam plants/lines, then the plastics portion involved in landfills, etc did the next big bite.

OK, so yeah I had a job for 17 yrs and "retired" cause the plastics division was being sold - -eh

Ask me then and I would have spewed out how plastics do this and that and blahhhhhhhhh

of course this was before plastic recycling become mainstream.

Personally when I shop I choose neither (cause I'm a prick, hehe -nah...) - I put the items into a backpack or a pannier anyway and go home. Bags - either paper or plastic are just recycle items and I'd rather not have them. And today when I shopped with Mom at Wal-Mart (yep - I was there again this weekend for hours - OY!) - we walked out with two bags of stuff - but originally the cashier stashed our stuff into 5 plastic grocery sacks.

And I probably embarrassed Mom when I swing the thingee around and looked - saw Mom take a deep breath too, hehe and just muttered that these minimal items could have been combined (I mean tee-shirts, green beens and a can of pinapple rings).

anyway I try not to use any packaging - and also reuse a few bags that I have for when I transport stuff to work - like food or a verrrrry white tank top.
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Old 07-07-08, 04:33 AM   #21
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me too, but I like to stay in the good graces of our forum moderators.
At the risk of insulting those of us who really are witches? Not good juju. You know, I can make your wiener fall off.

We use canvas bags for the most part. But we'll occasionaly get paper and plastic. Paper bags hold our paper recycling and we use the plastic bags for our household trash
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Old 07-07-08, 04:50 AM   #22
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Stacey' s point is well taken. Question.... We don't use plastic bags for carrying groceries. Yet, don't we use them almost daily for emptying our trash. So, where is the eco friendly savings. ?
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Old 07-07-08, 05:11 AM   #23
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The Wife and I have purchased the canvas bags over a ten week period buying one a week. At 99 cents each, the cost was nil, about the price of two or three Lean Cuisines. The hardest part of the recycled bag thing is remebering the bags on the way in to the grocery store. More likely than not I will have to make a trip to the parking lot to retrieve said bags and catch up to the Wife in the next aisle. Other than that I think the whole canvas bag deal is great. Before,we needed a plastic bag just to throw away the plastic bags.
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Old 07-07-08, 11:06 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artifice View Post
So, I was at the grocery store today. I usually bring along my own eco-friendly bag. I also usually shop at a store that is bag it yourself, or run through the self-checkout line because I'm a pretty light shopper and am at the grocery a couple times a week.

Either way, I wasn't paying attention today, and was at a store where they bag for you. The clerk was about half done bagging (two plastic bags) when I apologized and pointed out I brought my own bag. While she was ringing the rest, I started moving the goods over into my bag myself, so as to not bother her (she appeared to be having the worst day of her life). She proceeds to dump out the contents of the filled bag, and throw the empty plastic bag away.
Did I do something wrong?

She missed the point. I bring bags so as to not use bags, and she's throwing out bags that are brand new for no reason?

/rant

More importantly, just wondered if anyone had caught this in the news.
Battle of the Bags: Paper vs. Plastic

I was surprised. Any thoughts? discuss.


I generally try to bring my own. Barring that, I will ask for paper, I use them to hold recycling stuff until I take it out. I have caught the bagger several times, asking for paper, and often as not, they just pick up the plastic bag they have been filling and drop it into the paper bag
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Old 07-07-08, 11:36 AM   #25
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Whenever I get hungry, I just go to the grocery store and pilfer small amounts of stuff out of packages. My method does not use any bags, not even the eco friendly ones my wife keeps in her car.

Feeling a bit peckish now actually. wish me luck.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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