December 3, 2010

If stores only knew how close to the edge I am, they wouldn't even have plastic bags...

I'm super annoyed right now - why you may ask? It's actually from going shopping at lunch.  Now shopping is usually my happy place but today a five cent plastic bag managed to change all that.

Let me explain - I don't know what the deal is where you live, but here in Toronto, stores now charge you five cents for each plastic bag you need. Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with stores charging for plastic bags - I think this is a great idea at the grocery store, grocery shopping is not a surprise trip, you know you're going so it's easy enough to bring your own bags - I haven't taken a plastic bag from the grocery store in years - not since Loblaws introduced their very clever bin option.  But when I'm going someplace and plunking down several hundred dollars for clothes, I expect them to give me a free paper bag to carry my purchases home in!  The problem is when stores don't have a paper option and I then have to choose between paying five cents for a plastic bag or carrying my purchases out in my hands.  Both options piss me off - I'm not talking about buying something small that I could just shove in my purse, it's a large pile of clothing or something else big! 

If I'm so environmentally conscious, why don't I just bring my own reusable bag?  Well sure, if I know I'm going shopping I do, but today I hadn't intended to so I didn't have one with me.  I sucked it up and paid for a bag but it is still galling me.  If the store I was shopping at knew how I was feeling right now they would be rightfully concerned that they may have forever lost my patronage.  They should also be worried that I am rethinking today's purchases and seriously considering taking the whole lot back for a refund, including the bag! 

Why are you getting so irate about this Lisamarie?  It's just a plastic bag! Principle people, principle!!!

There are two things that annoy me about this:

1) The price of that plastic bag that they used to give me for free is already built into the price of each item - I haven't noticed the price of anything I am buying going down so they are still padding my bill for the "free" plastic bag and on top of that, wanting to charge me for one!
2) I shop many places that offer paper bags that they will happily put my purchases into, thereby earning my gratitude and goodwill - Club Monaco, LUSH, Roots and Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique to name a few - they seem to have clued into the fact that now that they don't have a choice but to charge for the plastic bag that it just makes sense to offer a paper alternative. There are also stores that will give you a free reusable bag which is smart, it makes their customer happy and it gives the store free advertising as most people will continue to use the bag for carrying other stuff around. By not giving me a your customer an alternative to plastic, you appear greedy, not be mention stupid - other stores are doing it so why aren't you?

And really on top of it all, they can make plastic bags out of biodegradable materials now so why isn't that an option?! Stores would not be required to charge the five cent fee for a bag that could go in the compost.

In these tough economic times and especially in this retail-important holiday season, certain stores should really be considering their customer goodwill and realizing that something as small as a bag, can make a big impact on where their (former) customers shop.

I'm going off to breathe into a bag to calm down now - don't worry, I'll make sure it's paper!

Where do you stand on the issue?  Does paying for plastic bags make you crazy or is it just me?

- Lisamarie -


  1. Paying for bags does make for crazy Bev, actually, so much so that I will buy another re-usable bag if I've forgotten to bring mine with me. I now have a good collection of them so half live in my car - permanently. Geographically, a car is a necessity where I am. Transit? I heard we had a bus here somewhere, but I never see it. :D

    That said, I don't always remember my bags. And sometimes, you aren't planning to go. I've found that Zellers carries these little fold 'em up into the size of a Wet Wipe bags that fit into my purse (so well that a number of times I've forgotten I have it because they are that small!) so I'm covered there, too. They also clip onto a keychain, if one needs to be Boy Scout prepared...

  2. This drives me crazy too. I don't drive so a bin or box is not going to work for me and sometimes you make unplanned shopping visits. They should just ban plastic bags altogether so stores are forced to give us a paper option.

  3. I'm kind of at the same point as you.. honestly, I don't mind carrying stuff out if its small.. but especially when I just spent a bunch of money and you won't even give me a bag? And I don't like plastic bags either.. so give me another option!

    -- plus I always like the feel of paper bags better.. it feels like you're carrying a present :D and that adds enjoyment to my shopping experience AT the stores that offer this. I wouldn't even mind paying for the paper bag if I had to.. (again, I agree that prices should go down).

  4. I am right with you on that one linnea! It feels so much more luxurious to carry a paper shopping bag! There is a reason stores like Holt Renfrew and Sephora don't even have plastic bags!

    Best, Lisamarie

  5. We've never really had paper bags in Australia, but a lot of stores (particularly clothing ones) give out those reusable enviro bags now. I think the only time I've been charged for a paper bag outright was at a petrol station, and they wanted to charge 15cents or something :| though at ALDI I do believe they charge for whatever bag you buy

  6. You're talking about The Bay, am I right? I find it odd when you are buying a bunch of clothes or shoes or boots at The Bay that i have to pay for a bag. Most of the reusable bags I have wouldn't be big enough to hold all of that in. I'd have to carry a bunch of them around with me at all times, and it's just not feasible. They should really think about getting a nice paper bag -some places in the States have them in a vending type thingy where you pay for it-but it's a pretty decent paper bag. That I wouldn't mind paying for!

  7. Im glad this isnt happening in my country lol

  8. I'm impressed Tracy, you obviously shop too much! ;-) Yes, The Bay, and other then when I go there to buy makeup, it always seems to be a big purchase that wouldn't easily fit into a normal sized bag - that's why they have those giant plastic bag there! Do you remember when they used to have the paper bags you could buy there off of a dispenser by the escalators? This was years ago before paying for plastic bags - funny they would get rid of that when it would actually be useful!

    Best, Lisamarie

  9. I have a ton of those reusable bags you can get in Loblaws, Metro, etc., and usually try to bring some along when I know I'll be shopping, but don't always have some with me. It *is* incredibly annoying that they charge for plastic bags now, and the Bay is expensive enough as it is -- just the principle of it irritates me. It feels like they're soaking consumers for extra money and thinking they won't notice, all in the name of "the environment". Corporate greed, that's all it is.


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