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.