8/12/07

What Happened To The Paper Bag?



What happened to the paper bag?

Why are grocery stores only using plastic bags?

A long time ago cashiers in grocery stores asked if you wanted a paper or plastic bag after you bought your groceries. Although where I live I'm afraid that shipped has sailed! Our grocery stores give you a flimsy plastic bag that barely holds enough groceries for Stuart Little! In addition, the groceries fall out of the bag and onto the floorboard of the car when you're driving down the road! The plastic bags seem heavier and they're awkward to carry, regardless of the handles. For instance, you can't put your hand under a plastic bag and support the contents, so you're forced to carry them by the handle and they’re still flimsy. I know you’re supposed to like the convenience of carrying more than one bag at a time but I don’t think it’s worth it. I would rather put more in the bag and carry two at a time. The handles aren’t that useful anyway unless you want to wrap a few around your arm and carry them at the same time.

Also for some reason, we miscalculate the amount plastic bags will hold thereby increasing our likelihood of splattered eggs on the kitchen floor! That is if the groceries even survive the ride home since plastic bags haven’t any loyalty to anyone. For example, do you think that a plastic bag is going to care if your groceries fall out on the way home?

Paper bags are friendlier, and they wouldn't allow your groceries to tumble about in the back seat or trunk of your car. Every time, I've used a plastic bag I hear my groceries rolling around on the floorboard while I'm driving, since the plastic bag has let them run around untamed in the backseat! It makes me so mad! I imagine the cheese saying to the bread and the bread to the peanut butter, “Run! We were in a plastic bag and now we are free! Whoopee!”

Then when you get home, you have to search under the seats and on the floorboard of your car to find your groceries while the cheese, the bread, and the peanut butter whisper to each other “sssh be quite and she will never find us” grateful they were not in a paper bag!


Although, I thought of this off the top of my head on the way home from the grocery store it is something I've thought about before. It’s just one of those questions we all think about and haven’t the time to investigate. We accept what we think is a fact or valid explanation since we're too busy to check it out, then we go about our business. When we put these questions in the back of our mind it seems our life will be easier, when in fact it makes our lives harder. Plastic grocery bags could be an advantage to few and a disadvantage to plenty but we are too busy to find out so again we accept it. Hence, I ‘ve always assumed there must be an answer for plastic bags until it became a huge personal inconvenience. In addition, I thought the grocery stores switched to plastic bags because they were better for the environment however I've found that isn't the case.

Maybe it’s because one size fits all or the fact that plastic bags are cheaper to make (probably) but it seems if we all got together, we could find someone to invent a better way to carry groceries. My son said that some people bring their own bags to shop with and I do remember seeing a man when I was a child ride his bike to the grocery store with a cloth bag for his groceries. . I think we need to start weaning off the plastic grocery bag and think about returning to the nostalgic and friendly mom and pop paper bag! It even came in different sizes and like I said would never let your groceries run wild in the back seat of your car! When I was a child, my siblings and I used to save the smaller size paper bags for marbles or candy or fill them with air and pop them to make a loud noise, etc...


The bottom line is I cannot understand why the grocery stores quit asking us if we would like a paper or plastic bag, don’t you think we should at least have a choice?

10 comments:

Jos said...

Hi Ann! Good to see you can get a little bit 'grumpy' about things like this, too. Lol!! I know am! :)
It seems as if these stores just can't be bothered anymore about their customers.
Overhere, in the Netherlands, there are hardly any stores that ever even offered paper bags.
What the vast majority of people do, however, is bring their own sturdy and large shopping bags or use these foldable shopping crates.
I remember from my visits to the US that people hardly do that overthere. How's that in the area where you live?

Christy said...

I remember the paper bag! It was nice! I haven't seen one in a very long time! Over here grocery stores are now offering reusable (washable) grocery bags. It's very environmentally friendly (as there would be no plastic bags to throw out). I am thinking about doing it but with the size of my family I'd be buying ten, not one, lol. Wouldn't the paper bag be more environmentally friendly than plastic? I think we could recycle the paper. Great post Ann! :)

Blog Author Ann Clemmons said...

Jos, I love the idea of a foldable shopping crate! The mental image I had when you wrote that was wonderful! To answer your question we have a few people who bring their own paper bags but it's few and far between and I've never witnessed a foldable shopping crate! That is really fantastic! Maybe I should change fields and start marketing them or better yet maybe you should! There is probably more than this idea you could bring to the states and make a fortune. I love the public reaction to the stores in the Netherlands! Thank you for telling me! I'm anxious to see what else is offered in the states as well as around the world. It's one of the things I love about blogging! It should be interesting! LOL!

Thanks for your comment!

Ann

Blog Author Ann Clemmons said...

Christy, Reusable bags? LOL! That's great! I was wondering what the environmentally friendly solution was seeing that I'm an American! LOL! I hope I don't get in trouble with my fellow countryman although they ought to know what I mean. However, my mother was kind enough to point out that paper bags were destroying the trees! LOL! I really don't want that! I just miss them! It sounds like washable bags are the answer! But I agree with you Christy we could recycle the paper! There is just a nostalgia for the paper bag I guess! For me anyway! Thank you so much Christy for your comment and again I agree with you!:))

Ann

joezul said...

Well, it is very expensive to manufacture paper bag as copared to the plastic ones. Bigco. will use whatever the cheaper one. But look on the bright side...at least it does saves thousand of trees every year. hmmm..I think in Hong Kong now there a surcharge on shopper who want to use plastic bag to take home their groceries. I read that the price of a p/bag is around HKD5. Quite a novel idea eh to reduce plastic usage.

Jos said...

Dear Ann, just for fun, I have uploades a picture of the most used shopping bag in the Netherlands and this foldable crate.
I guess 90% of people don't go to grocery stores without them..:)

http://nodirecton.googlepages.com/shoppingbag.jpg
http://nodirecton.googlepages.com/shoppingcrate.JPG

Blog Author Ann Clemmons said...

Joezul, You're right and you've made the exact same point my mother did! I'm glad I wrote this post it's answering so many questions! Thanks for the great comment and for reading! :))

Ann

Comedy + said...

Paper or plastic is still an option here (California), but either way it's not good. It takes trees for the paper bags and the plastic won't break down. So, both are not good choices. Have a great day. :)

Comedy + said...

Paper or plastic is still an option here (California), but either way it's not good. It takes trees for the paper bags and the plastic won't break down. So, both are not good choices. Have a great day. :)

Blog Author Ann Clemmons said...

Thank you, Sandee I know, I'm just nostalgic about the paper bag, although I knew there was probably a logical explanation for switching to plastic, that still isn't much better is it? I guess we really need to use our own cloth shopping bags or those foldable shopping crates they use in the Netherlands. I thought you were still using them in California but I wasn't sure! You are right, I just miss the paper bags is all!

Thanks for your comment Sandee!

Ann

P.S. I missed you and hope you had fun on the boat! :)

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