Friday, June 24, 2011

449. To Bag Or Not To Bag, That Is The Question

So I read this jaunty blog post by "Confessions of Cashier" (come back later and CLICK ON THIS to discover CC's hilarious blog) and CC said that it’s always preferable to refuse to bag a customer’s items than to help them out by bagging them. CC admits to actually clustering all the items together on the counter so it appears that the customer does not even need a bag.  This is so absurd to me because my personal motto is “Give them two bags! Or three! Four is better!” Even if they only bought a tiny container of polka-dotted cupcake wrappers.

At the high-end kitchen store, I unabashedly adore our bags (as does Oprah, they were just featured on her Favorite Things List).  Our bags are really pretty bright white paper bags with the lovely company logo on the side, and sort of twine handles; I love the sensory appeal of fluffing out the bag so it makes that gratifying “whoosh” sound, and then wrapping the purchases in periwinkle tissue paper for the customer.

I probably wouldn’t feel that way if they were slimy sticky plastic bags (like the kind from Target) that stay glued together like teenagers in lust.

My sister Oakley is a hard-core environmentalist who would rather balance five bottles of Merlot, twelve locally-grown oranges, and a few boxes of organic Cheerios on her head than ever ask for a bag. I have seen her do this at her local Trader Joe’s, all the while glaring at the poor clerk for even suggesting she might want a bag.

“I understand your position, but you can recycle the bag,” says Trader Joe Guy helpfully, “or even just take it to your car, and then bring the bag right back in right now!”

I biked here,” she retorts through clenched teeth, tucking a stray orange back behind her ear.

She is mortified that my job requires that I wrap miniature boxed Italian crackers in crinkly tissue paper. And a sunshine-colored velvet ribbon.

When a customer brings his own bags into my store, I’m slightly let down when he politely insists,

“Oh, no thank you, ma’am, I don’t actually need a bag.” Then he proceeds to get out one of those bags they sell at the grocery store for $3, you know the kind: ugly.

My internal Virgo sensor goes off, offended.  I feel dejected, and I want to shout,

“But, sir, our bags are prettier! They have a purple bumblebee on the side! Plus I already fluffed it out for you! Look, it’s a quality bag! Take it! You’ve already paid for it in the ridiculous mark-up on the plastic iced-tea tumblers! Maybe you can use if for packing your lunch tomorrow and advertise to the world what good taste you have by shopping here!”

Unfortunately, by the time I have gone through all the relevant power points in my head, he's already gone to the bike rack outside to retrieve his eco-friendly bicycle and then head on home without polluting anything.

Sigh. Everyone’s a better person than me.

(“Me: Offended Virgo”)
*with apologies to Confession of Cashier for stealing your fab idea!


  1. "I probably wouldn’t feel that way if they were slimy sticky plastic bags (like the kind from Target) that stay glued together like teenagers in lust."

    That's how our bags are. Slimy and sticky. And I make them slimier when I have to lick my finger to grab one. Yeah, I hate bags. :-x

  2. Cashier,

    I feel your pain. When the Target girl reaches for the slimy sticky back (after she has unsuccessfully grouped my 83 items in a tiny pile), I stop her cold and say, "I brought my own special bag! Use this! It has a purple bumblebee on it."

    MOV ;)

  3. I refused to recycle because the rules were stupid. I did not have space to soak labels and twine papers and such. I did use the nice bags to tote things so I tried. Then Big Daddy left me all alone and to China. And I had to take out the trash all by myself. I lived all alone and had more trash than any family on the block. So I started buying the cloth bags and got into the habit. Now I live in China and they charge for the bags due to the huge amounts of trash. And the cashiers get really cranky when they have to make change for the bags.

  4. I'm no cashier, but I get what you mean. I see people refuse to use bags or fit 20 items in ONE plastic bag just to be "green". It's cool to take care of the planet and all that jazz, but some people are taking it too far these days. I only refuse bags when it's not a lot of stuff and I happen to have my scrawny backpack with me (in which I usually have a thin class book, a notebook, three black pens, two pencils and two pencil sharpeners... but I digress).

    As an extra comment, I had a friend that collected pretty paper bags, I'm sure she'd like a bag from the high-end kitchen store, haha.

    P.S. I liked the analogy on sticky plastic bags.

  5. fmcgmcllc,

    You live in China?!? Wow. Other than the bag situation, do you like it there?

    I really do take my own bags to Target because I have about 80,000 Target bags already.


    Glad you liked my analogy. I was racking my brain trying to come up with something descriptive for "two things stuck together"-- and voila!

    As for your friend, she should move to Japan. Apparently they are big into collecting special paper bags from high-end boutiques. :)


    ps-- I made up the purple bumblebee logo, but how cute would that be? I, for one, would totally want a bag like that (and I know Oprah would too). If it did exist, I would surely send it to your friend.

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