Monday, April 04, 2005

A Misc. Post

Some miscellaneous things I wanted to mention...

Gas Prices
I don’t know how much gas is where you live, but the prices are ridiculous here in Southern California. As I drove by the gas station on my way to work this morning, the sign read $2.45 per gallon for regular, and $2.65 for premium!

Missed the Great White
(Check out the article under Links)
So, there was a White shark on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium the past 6 months. This is a BIG deal, because no aquarium in the world has been successful at keeping one for very long, the previous record being a mere 16 days. I've been wanting and meaning to go see it. I was planning to go sometime in April or May, but now my plans are shot, I am too late. They just released it back into the ocean last Thursday. I am totally bummed! =(

Grocery Bags
Which is better, paper or plastic grocery bags? Neither, so consider using canvas bags from now on! (Take a look at the ECOBags link) It's Earth Month, so I hope you guys try to make one change in your life that is greener and more healthy for our environment. If you're not comfortable lugging your own bags to the grocery store, at least remember to recycle and reuse as much as you can! Here's a funny article about a canvas-bag user:

Paper or Plastic? Neither -- If It Doesn’t Cause a Fight
by Cris Trask

In San Francisco, CA where I recently lived, I and lots of people used cloth bags when shopping; now I live near and shop in Hayden, ID, and here, they don’t. The cashiers and baggers at the local grocery stores never saw me coming, and were ill prepared for my innocent little bags and the aggravation they would cause.

Believe it or not, my floppy totes have perplexed more than one cashier in my rural community. After a moment of hesitation, most recognize the floppy item as a medium for stowing and carrying, and accept it as such. However, one cashier actually asked me once, “What do you want me to do with this?” It was hard not to sound condescending when I answered, “It’s a bag.”

The biggest hurdles for baggers, however, have laid not in identifying the bag as such, but in how to use them to their full potential, thereby avoiding any backup paper or plastic. The ability of these bags, made of heavy cotton and reinforced with double-needle stitching, to carry more than a plastic bag, is frequently lost on my baggers. If left alone, they will quickly supplement my cloth bags with additional plastic ones. I have to watch them like a hawk, which isn’t easy when I’m busy unloading my cart and trying to pay. “You can fit more in those bags,” I’ll say. “Are you sure?” they’ll invariably reply with a very worried look. I’ll spend several seconds convincing them that yes, I'm quite sure.

This exchange takes place with each new bagger. Then, just when I think they’ve got it, they’ll make a judgement call to separately bag, in plastic, a lone item that won’t fit neatly into the top of any of my stuffed bags. On one occasion, the lone item was a loaf of bread. Before leaving, I removed the bread from the bag, tossed it in my cart and returned the bag. The bagger reacted by wadding up the bag and throwing it in the garbage. I watched with bewildered disappointment.

It’s not just the how much, but the how to, that requires almost certain intervention every time I check out. Last week I had to pick up some cheese, crackers and wine for a last-minute party. I bought four bottles of wine, and a couple varieties each of cheese and crackers. At the check out, here came the individual paper bags for my four wine bottles. I politely refused the paper and instructed the bagger to pack the cheese and crackers around the bottles in my bag. They looked at me as if I was insane. “It will be fine,” I reassured them.

Checking out when I’m buying only one or two things is also a struggle. It doesn’t help my case either when no one before me in the express lane turns down a bag for his or her meager purchase. When it’s my turn, I’m not given a choice; my maple syrup is in a bag before I can decline one. “Thanks, but I won’t need the bag,” I say. “But it’s already in there,” they retort, as if it is insensitive of me to make them debag my purchase and replace the bag from where it came.

I’m really trying to work with these baggers, but honestly, sometimes it’s a small battle to get them to concede to my requests. It’s worth it though. I get great satisfaction out of using reusable canvas bags for all my shopping. Not just because I’m giving the environment a break, but also because I no longer have an entire hamper full of those pesky plastic bags that my grocer has stopped recycling and for which I could never find enough household uses. I feel at peace and very unencumbered for my efforts.

The baggers in my new community will get used to my "unususal" bags, and at the same time, my fellow shoppers are learning that there is a third choice to the paper or plastic dilemma--neither

1 comment:

  1. Well, actually here in Spain, which is one of the least expensive in Europe, gas goes for about $4.70/gallon. How do you like THEM apples. Oh, and don't worry Jane....they are looking for another white shark, my inside sources tell me....