Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why does buying 17 items require 8 plastic bags?

I should have asked for paper. I should have brought my own bags. But I did neither. And I walked out of Fred Meyer in North Portland with 17 items in 8 plastic bags. Do the eggs require their own bag? Why can't the three cans mix with the bag of rice? And why do the three lemons I put in a produce bag require going in yet another plastic bag but with nothing else? I even asked about their new reusable bags, but they were sold out. So she gave me 8 useless plastic bags. Some bags within bags. Some with only one thing in them?!

I love going to New Seasons means they put everything in one bag, but why do all of the mainstream stores seem to equate more plastic bags as a good thing? I totally don't get it. Why don't grocery stores train their staff to use as few bags as possible? The reusable bags going mainstream is great--hopefully baggers will no longer scowl at my brought-from-home canvas bags. But if you're not going to train your staff to reduce their use of the plastic bags, then what's the point?

Going green mainstream is great, but you need to make it more than selling a new product: you have to train your staff, come up with inventive and new ways to tread lightly on the earth, and reward staff for coming up with ideas themselves. If you're not doing that, it's just a bunch of greenwashing. Come on Fred Meyer, step up to the plate.

13 comments:

Amanda said...

How about taking your own reuseable bags....Now there's a radical idea!

LeLo in NoPo said...

Hey Amanda; Thanks for the brainiac comment. See second sentence: "I should have brought my own bags." Or maybe you missed the part "when baggers scowl at my brought from home canvas bags." But thanks for chimin' in with the "radical idea." You missed my point honey.

LeLo in NoPo said...

Amanda, yes I deleted your next comment. It's my blog. And on this blog I have a section for Things that get my panties in a bunch. Every once in a while I write about something that irritates me. This is one. I'm tempted to write about you next. Move along.

bemused said...

I agree, lelo, I never understand why so many plastic bags need to be used for only a few items. I ask for paper bags but even then, I end up with more bags than I think is necessary. I used to marvel at how well clerks bagged groceries but maybe they don't teach them how to do that and only those who've been clerking for years who still remember how. These days I find myself helping, adding more items to a bag that's only half full. I mean, c'mon, that loaf of bread can go on top of those boxes of cereal!

I used to be really good about bringing in bags or boxes for groceries but I've gotten out of the habit (my bad). Thanks for the reminder.

Christine said...

Ahhhh...Fred Meyer. I went to the one on Pacific Highway a couple months ago for lunch (first mistake) and picked up a "sushi" box (second mistake--you'd think I had been drinking all morning or something.) Despite my having a fork and napkin in my hand, the checker threw the food in a plastic bag before I could say "No bag, if you please." In fact, I had started to say that, and by the end of the sentence, she had pulled the "sushi" back out of the plastic bag and thrown the plastic bag in the trash.

I gently asked about recycling facilities for plastic bags, which, it turns out, they do have on-site, and got the bag back. Her sighing and eye-rolling were quite amazing. Training=needed.

The Recovering Straight Girl said...

Maybe you should take your own bag?

hahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhaha!!!!!

Had to do it.

Amanda said...

Hypocrisy lives.

LeLo in NoPo said...

So Amanda calls me a hypocrite. Nice. Let's think about this a wee little bit more. Hmm. I just made sure I had my canvas bags in my car the next time I plan to go to the store, so I should be good to go. But what about all of the regular joes I see at the grocery store who never bring their own bags? It's just okay to keep givin' 'em more and more superfluous bags? What about when I do an unexpected stop at a store and I don't have my bags with me? Like yesterday? That makes me a hypocrite?

I'm sorry, Amanda, but I just don't buy that. I believe we can both BE THE CHANGE and help CREATE CHANGE. And companies that are getting on the green bandwagon and giving away or selling reusable bags with their logos all over them? I think that's great. But that's not the only answer: true commitment to environmentally responsible action by businesses means walking the talk. Providing reusable bags AND reducing the bags they do use. It's pretty simple, and places like New Seasons has does that. I look forward to seeing mainstream stores doing the same.

Amanda, if you have something you'd like to share about your personal experience, or ideas for encouraging businesses to be environmentally responsible,please join in the conversation. (or actually, there are tons of great sites on the web for ideas, like treehugger) But if you want to continue to leave messages that I delete that are about my bitching and moaning, I'll just continue to delete them.

blog Portland said...

I enjoy the hefty nickel discount we get at Trader Joe's for bringing in the reusable bags. That, and all the eco-MILF's swoon at me like I'm Captain Planet.

weese said...

we get entered into a $25 drawing at Trader Joes every time we bring our own bags. We 'almost' always do. But like you ...we have forgotten them once or twice.
My wife normally does the shopping...but sometimes when I run in for a couple/few items, I just walk out with my arms wrapped around them. Boy do I get stared at then... ha.

LeLo in NoPo said...

Christine-Thanks for visiting! Classic moment--you don't want this plastic bag? I'll throw it away then. DOH!

Bemused-I'm glad this was both a reminder for you, and for me. :)

RSG-Nice.

Blog Portland-You would. Captain Planet.

Weese-I didn't know about the drawing: that's a great incentive. And, at Trader Joe's they really pack those bags with as much stuff as possible. Love that.

....
And just as a fun sidenote: since posting this post, it's been visited by IPs from both Whole Foods and Kroger (Fred Meyer's parent company). Interesting, huh?

Packof2 said...

I'm pretty sure "Amanda" is a F.Meyer worker...just a hunch:)

Redhead said...

I totally agree with ur post