Plastic Shopping Bags: Is there an Obvious Solution to Reducing their Use?
WHY DO SO MANY CASHIERS GET MAD WHEN YOU ASK FOR NO BAG?
BY RIDER THOMPSON
This has been an interesting week for the plastic shopping bag. As we reported the other day San Francisco has passed one hurdle in banning all petroleum based plastic shopping bags. Earlier this month IKEA started charging extra for plastic bags in all its US stores. On Tuesday I was reading a posting over on NYCO on the Wegmans supermarket chain making an effort to get consumers to buy their reusable bag for $.99.
Similar efforts undoubtedly occur at many of the supermarkets across the country - some stores are better than others actually trying to encourage their use others like the big chain in my area Shaws display them in aisle 12 next to the motor oil leaving you to wonder whats the point?
A Seemingly Obvious Solution
Why don't supermarkets just give the bags away for free for instance if you say purchase $50 worth of groceries you get one free bag I mean that seems like a logical non confrontational way to let consumers make the choice themselves whether they want to use the bags. I know the big fear among retailers is that consumers feel their shopping experience isn't complete without their items being placed in a bag at the completion of the transaction. This is precisely why you give them away free with purchase. Lets think about this most people spend $50 or more at the grocery store - many families spend much more than that so for every $50 you get one reusable bag. Then the consumer can decide on their own if they want to use them. Hopefully they will decide yes, or maybe they need a few weeks to transition into the idea fully. Whatever the situation may be you are getting the bags in the hands of the people who need to make the decision to stop using them.
I just don't get it. On a related note how many of you have had cashiers appear to be personally offended if you refuse a bag? I have. I have been in a store purchasing one item that I can easily carry out myself and gotten into a back and forth on whether I was sure I didn't want a bag. Yes I'm sure. Recently I was at a Marshalls store buying a shirt at the check out I said I didn't need a bag and the woman said "what you gonna wear this out of the store?" I laughed and said, "no, I'll carry it thanks."