I’ve been thinking about something that happened to me this past weekend. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some necessities and I remembered to take my reusable Target shopping bags with me. (I use the ones that snap together and have a nice, flat bottom so that they can hold lots of things. They cost around $1.50).
The cashier was very complimentary, saying that she loves “green” bags and liked mine. She added that she was going to pick some up and use them herself. The bagger, who looked to be between 18 and 20 years old, said, “Remind me not to be here when you bring them in to use them.” Despite the fact that I felt he was being rude, I calmly asked him why. The cashier, probably realizing that the bagger was insulting a customer, said that the baggers don’t like them because it can be difficult to bag groceries with them.
This prompted an interesting conversation between me and Mr. Bagger. I told him that I was trying to make a difference by not using so many plastic bags. I explained that I liked having a few around because I have a dog at home and I use them for other purposes, but I don’t need very many. He told me that I could just bring them back in or recycle them and I explained to him (more than once) that they still end up in landfills and the less I use, the better. I could tell that Mr. Bagger was just irritated that I made him use my bags and we left it at that.
This transaction bothered me. First of all, I thought that many people, and especially young people, were more in tune with environmental issues. I can remember my grandmother telling me 25 years ago that it takes hundreds of years before aluminum foil decomposes, so she washed and reused it. My mom used to take cans to the city recycling center in the 80’s, before there was curbside pickup. It’s not like this is new stuff.
Secondly, I think that this guy needs a lesson in customer service. If I told every patron at the library what I was really thinking, I wouldn’t have a job anymore. If I want to use my cute, red Target bags instead of the gazillion plastic bags that they use to pack my groceries, that’s my business.
I’ve heard that some cities have banned the use of plastic bags already; our library has stopped using them as well. Maybe Mr. Bagger had better adjust his attitude because I think that this trend is here to stay.