|Queen Save the Planet|
I go to the check-out lane and line up my prospective purchases on the conveyor belt. The clerk and I make small talk about the weather and traffic (these are good things to talk about when someone is scanning your jumbo bag of M&M’s and six different types of European cookies and a pint of gelato and a bottle of Tylenol and a tiny tube of industrial-strength eye-cream and a Star Magazine and a bottle of Chardonnay so she won’t spontaneously decide to comment on the nature of your purchases).
Out of habit, she starts putting my things into the store’s plastic bags when I stop her.
“No! Wait! I brought my own bags!” I smile proudly, then look around to see where I set them.
“Oh, whoops, I guess they’re still in the car. Forget it. Sorry.”
|Where I store the bags|
|Me "just carrying it"|
The following week, I am feeling good about my renewed commitment to planet Earth. I am driving to the supermarket, and in my lap is a special canvas bag. It is new, I bought it from the high-end kitchen store, it can hold a lot, and it has the company’s logo embroidered on the front. Before I go shopping, I have a long, drawn-out, internal battle:
Queen Virgo: I want to use the canvas bag, I really do, but it’s so pretty that I’m afraid I’ll ruin it. What if something spills on it? What if I accidentally set it down on the ground where a person had just spit or thrown a cigarette butt?
Queen Save the Planet: You can always get it dry-cleaned later. Don’t be a wuss.
I get out of the car and walk toward the store. Queen Save the Planet did convince me to take the bag. However, it occurs to Queen Virgo that by walking in with a bag, I might look like a shoplifter. Will the store employees think I am plotting to steal merchandise inside the empty bag? Yikes. Queen Save the Planet laughs and points out that I am paranoid. I fold up the bag as small as I can and put it discreetly under my arm.
I amble up and down the rows and put the things I need in my shopping cart. Finally, it is time to pay so I get in line. Queen Save the Planet is so pleased that I brought a bag and actually remembered to bring it in the store for once!
Then the check-out lady squints her eyes at me.
“You need to pay for that,” she remarks, pointing at the folded up bag tucked under my arm.
“This?” Queen Save the Planet fluffs out the bag proudly. “I brought this with me.”
“There’s no price tag because I already own it. You don’t even sell bags like this here. See, see the logo? It’s from the high-end kitchen store.”
“Steve?” she calls into her microphone loudspeaker across the entire store, “we have a Code 55 at register 12, please respond.”
Not only does Steve respond, but so do three armed guards and a plain-clothes detective. Ten minutes, one long exasperated explanation (mine), one melted pint of ice-cream (Ben & Jerry’s), and two weak apologies (Steve’s and the detective’s) later, I pay for my purchases, put them in the special canvas bag, and leave the store.
You’d think this experience would make Queen Virgo not shop at that grocery store ever again, and you’d be right.
But there was another little side effect:
Helpful Clerk at Target: Did you bring your own bag today, miss?
Me: (appalled) Oh, no. I am not one of those people.