When I was a student in the eighties and used my own shopping bags, refusing the plastic bags at the check out  I got some rather odd looks.  But now it is commonplace.  It is almost looked down upon to request a plastic bag.  I have yet to get non food retailers to accept my own bags but I am working on it.  Explaining that the newly purchased dress will not self destruct if it is placed in a cotton tote rather than a plastic bag with the shop’s name emblazoned on the side is still a step too far for some shops.  But the time will come.  I am patient.

It’s all about saying no.  Today I practiced refusing things I didn’t want.  The reactions were interesting.

Case one: local co-op.  I refuse the receipt and the voucher automatically printed that gives me £5 next time I spent £50.  Not an eyelash was batted.  It occurred to me to ask if it was possible to request that no receipt and voucher were printed, but I decided one step at a time.  I’ll try that tomorrow…

Case two:  large supermarket whose doors I rarely darken.  However this was an emergency.  I refused the receipt.  The girl on the checkout looked at me and looked at the receipt and yet another voucher telling me how much I had saved by shopping there rather than elsewhere and tried to give them to me again.  Again I refused.  Blind panic set in and she clearly didn’t know what to do.  By now I had bagged up my shopping (in my own bags) and was heading out of the door.  For all I know she is still clinging onto that redundant piece of paper.

We are used to saying no to plastic bags in supermarkets.  Why not say no to:

  • plastic bags in all shops from clothes to DIY
  • receipts you don’t want
  • automatically produced vouchers especially those that tell you how much you saved
  • freebies from make up to pens.  You don’t need them and they aren’t really free.
  • paper napkins
  • plastic straws and parasols in drinks
  • Bags for veg.  Why does you single broccoli have to have its own bag?  Frankly why do 6 apples have to have their own bag?
  • dry cleaners who will not take back wire coathangers

Until we start to vocalise our objections we will keep having unwanted and unnecessary stuff foistered upon us.



11 thoughts on “no

  1. Neat post-great ideas! I actually refuse my receipts a lot of the time. Unfortunately, they still print & just get thrown away (or hopefully recycled).

  2. I’ve already come across quite a few stores here in the Netherlands where they ask if you want the receipt – if you don’t want it, they don’t print it.
    Most fruit/vegetables are unfortunately packaged separately when you buy them in the supermarket, which is why I buy most of them at the local farmers’ market…

  3. Lots of folks at our farmer’s market now carry their own cloth bags to tuck their purchases in, and I admire that! Unfortunately we still have to have lots of plastic bags available for those who don’t.

    1. Farmers’ markets are good places to use your own bags. I still struggle to buy a dress and refuse the bag. It’s almost as if I am offending them by putting the dress in my own bag!

    1. Thank you. Learning to say no is one of the hardest things. We don’t want to offend or hurt or sometimes we are just too tired to stand up and say enough.

      1. Every time I visit my wonderful mother I come home with one thing I know I will immediately donate to Goodwill, but since her heart and intention are good I just can’t say no. Other places it is getting easier with practice! 🙂

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