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.