Baggy Baggy

“I hate to tell you this,” the clerk says as she folds my new pants.  “But I’m required to. By law. I have to charge you five cents for a bag. Would you still like a bag?”  She raises her eyebrows in an ominous and foreboding way.

Our bag ban (see post) went into effect last month.  Plastic grocery bags are outlawed and stores are required to charge a nickel for paper bags.

Bellyaching abounds.  A woman buying groceries ahead of me in line, who looks like she probably has a few nickels to spare, commiserates with the checkout lady about the usurious bag fee. They roll their eyes, sigh and shake their heads.

One letter to the editor complains that cloth bags are bacteria laden. Isn’t everything bacteria laden? Never mind. Another letter writer wonders how he’ll line his trash can.

Newspaper and rubber bands. Or skip the lining. That works, too. Uh-oh. Is that bacteria on the outside?

There are complaints about the five cents, it’s not the nickel, it’s the principle of the thing. It better be about principles, since nickels are worth so little we can barely afford to make them. What else can you even get for a nickel these days?

Go ahead. Ask how much Hallmark charged me for this bag.

One man writes that from now on, he is going to shop in the neighboring town. So there.

I think people are secretly happy about the bag ban. It gives us something to talk about besides the weather. So much simpler and more accessible than crazy stuff like teacher layoffs and global warming.  Here is the crux of the national debates in our own little town, something we can really wrap our tomatoes in.

Good work bag monsters.

Image Source: Check out Ban the Bag Facebook page


  • People grumble about everything – sad but true. We need to make sure there is an Earth left for our kids, and our kid’s kids.


    • You’d think we’d value oil like gold. We use it for so many things! Computer parts, medical equipment, appliances, solvents and yes, fuel. We are a long way from freedom from fossil fuels. It’s a travesty to waste oil on one-use plastic bags. And then, they don’t die, but live on to pile up in landfills, or the ocean. You’re right. We can do better for our kids’ kids.


  • I laughed at your Q, “isn’t everything bacteria laden?”… well, duh? We’re in the same situation where I live and it’s been impressed very well, but then where I live is like a hippie commune for the rich, lol. When I think of the big picture, and literally pictures of plastic all over the earth in places suffocating animals, etc. gosh, who can complain? And, a nickle? If you’re that poor, you won’t have that many groceries anyway or better will be eating somewhere for free, not intended as a mean comment, but rather fact. Thanks! Always like to read yours.


    • It’s interesting to check behind the scenes into costs and benefits of re-usable vs. cloth bags. It does take a lot of energy to make re-usable bags — more than it takes to make throwaway plastic bags. If cost was the only factor, you’d have to use a cloth bag something like 700 times to make the costs come out even — but as you point out, cost isn’t the only factor. There is the waste, and using up oil, and the cost of transportation, and the bags that don’t make it to landfills but end up in the ocean and in turtles’ windpipes. P.S. I’m sure I’ve used my bags more than 700 times!



    • Thank you! I’ve been carrying my own for years, too. What’s the big deal? I guess there’s just something about being forced to change that goes against the grain.


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