0990: “Plastic Bags”

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0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby Qaanol » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:07 am UTC

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http://xkcd.com/990
Title: “ The high I feel when I actually remember to bring my reusable bags to the store--and take them inside rather than leaving them in the parked car--can last for days.”

Gotta love that great Pacific plastic spot.
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Jared the Great
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0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Jared the Great » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:09 am UTC

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Alt Text: "The high I feel when I actually remember to bring my reusable bags to the store--and take them inside rather than leaving them in the parked car--can last for days."

I also have the problem with remembering to bring reusable stuff to the place I can use it.
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby jpk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:12 am UTC

I often buy my flour and dried beans and such like in bulk ... and every time I do, I notice that I'm using a new plastic bag to put it in. And each time, I think to myself that it would be a good idea to keep some plastic bags in my reusable shopping bag. Haven't done it yet, though.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Arancaytar » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:18 am UTC

They actually put the stuff in the bags for you in the States? Neat...

(I hope they also let you do it yourself if you want to avoid stuff like this?)
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Aster Selene
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Aster Selene » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:22 am UTC

I live in Santa Monica where legislation has recently passed making it that you either have to bring your own bag or pay ten cents per paper bag they have to bag it in. (As you can probably guess, Santa Monica is chock full of extreme environmentalist-liberals.)

This strip now has a different meaning.

Arancaytar wrote:(I hope they also let you do it yourself if you want to avoid stuff like this?)


Nope, they cleverly bag it while you're in the middle of paying so you have no choice but to accept it. Or if you're in Santa Monica like me, you have to inform them of your bagging decision right before you pay.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Sir Lunch-a-lot » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:32 am UTC

Aster Selene wrote:
Arancaytar wrote:(I hope they also let you do it yourself if you want to avoid stuff like this?)


Nope, they cleverly bag it while you're in the middle of paying so you have no choice but to accept it. Or if you're in Santa Monica like me, you have to inform them of your bagging decision right before you pay.


In Canada, Superstore and related stores (Wholesale Club, Extra Foods, etc) make you bag your own groceries. They ask you how many bags you would like, charge you 10 cents for each one, and then you get to use one of the conveyor belt lanes at the end of the checkout (there are 2) as you bag your groceries. It's a different setup than most other grocery stores around here. Most grocery stores just bag stuff for you. Then they ask if you'd like your milk (4L jug with a handle) in a bag. No, I would not as it already has a handle (unless I'm walking a long way... then milk-filled handle will make my hands cold). Anyway...

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby jpk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:34 am UTC

Aster Selene wrote:I live in Santa Monica where legislation has recently passed making it that you either have to bring your own bag or pay ten cents per paper bag they have to bag it in. (As you can probably guess, Santa Monica is chock full of extreme environmentalist-liberals.)

This strip now has a different meaning.

The new meaning being, what? Extreme environmentalist liberals understand economics and TAANSTAAFL? Not really - they should really charge a buck a bag if they want to change consumer behavior.

Arancaytar wrote:(I hope they also let you do it yourself if you want to avoid stuff like this?)


Nope, they cleverly bag it while you're in the middle of paying so you have no choice but to accept it. Or if you're in Santa Monica like me, you have to inform them of your bagging decision right before you pay.


You mean they cleverly don't stand around waiting for you to finish fiddling with the card terminal, but get the job done so the people behind you can get on with their day instead of waiting for you to try to get everything into one less bag and save a flippin' dime? Those bastards.

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:37 am UTC

And they probably have to use a bag just to hold the two-foot long receipt for a five-item purchase.
Last edited by rhomboidal on Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:53 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby lemmings » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:44 am UTC

Aster Selene wrote:I live in Santa Monica where legislation has recently passed making it that you either have to bring your own bag or pay ten cents per paper bag they have to bag it in. (As you can probably guess, Santa Monica is chock full of extreme environmentalist-liberals.)

In California, the minimum wage is $8/hour or about 13 cents a minute.
http://xkcd.com/951/

I do hope you've never wasted an extra minute of your time trying to save those 10 cents, but I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere down the supply chain (telling the cashier or making multiple trips between the car and fridge) that you do.


As jpk pointed out too, it's not just your time. Between you, the cashier, the bag boy, and the old couple behind you; you're wasting 5 individual's time. At that point, even that 10 second sentence to convey your information is multiplied by 5 to become 50 man-seconds.
Last edited by lemmings on Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:48 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Shiyiya » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:45 am UTC

jpk wrote:
Aster Selene wrote:I live in Santa Monica where legislation has recently passed making it that you either have to bring your own bag or pay ten cents per paper bag they have to bag it in. (As you can probably guess, Santa Monica is chock full of extreme environmentalist-liberals.)

This strip now has a different meaning.

The new meaning being, what? Extreme environmentalist liberals understand economics and TAANSTAAFL? Not really - they should really charge a buck a bag if they want to change consumer behavior.


Uh, surely the 'different meaning' would be 'the store is making you pay as much money for bags as they can get away with'?
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby faunablues » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:46 am UTC

Agreed with jpk... they bag for you to get the line to move faster. It's also a courtesy.

I worked for both Albertsons and Trader Joe's.

At Albertson's, we had the crappiest plastic bags that would tear if you breathed on them, so there was always something like 3 items per bag - a real waste, and it'd probably be cheaper to get a better quality bag you could fill. A couple times I had a customer insist on bagging their own, and... they take forever. And they don't do a particularly great job. I know some people who worked there (and other places) that do the laziest job possible, but for people who are not at work just to hang out... srsly, we do a better job.

At Trader Joe's, it was more common for customers to want to bag their own groceries, and they were usually pretty good about it. But also, most people chose paper, which is easier to pack because it's already rectangular. Plastic bags suck because there's no form (unless you're awesome like me [yes, I take pride in menial things] and can pack plastic LIKE A REAL BAG YEAAAHHH). At least with TJ's, they were better plastic and could hold things. Anyway, even when customers packed their own things, we'd usually help out anyway (it's always people with a large order that will pack their own things; it just goes faster).

But still... it's frustrating to have something like this be part of your job, be good at it, and have someone insist on doing it so you don't squash their precious eggs (YES WE ALL KNOW THEY DO NOT GO ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG), only to see them place a six-pack on top of their eggs and bread (??), mix cold foods with cleaning chemicals, and put a magazine next to frozen things. Errgh.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Randomness » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:47 am UTC

jpk wrote:
You mean they cleverly don't stand around waiting for you to finish fiddling with the card terminal, but get the job done so the people behind you can get on with their day instead of waiting for you to try to get everything into one less bag and save a flippin' dime? Those bastards.



I hate bagers. I always have to rebag my items after they touch it. I even put items on the belt so that one bag goes down to the checker, then the next, etc. I have watched as some idiots but milk on top of bananas -rageface-

I am impressed that someone manages to get the bags all the way to the car. But as all the plastic bags get used as garbage bags I don't have much incentive to change my habits.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby riddler » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:51 am UTC

I would love to see grocery stores put a sign on the front of every parking space that says "don't forget your old bag."

But they should put the same sign on the exit to the store as well, so you don't leave your wife in there accidentally.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby A_of_s_t » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:03 am UTC

I can't wait to read the xkcdsucks post about this because this did not make me laugh at all. It's was like Randall was attempting to make a joke from something that a five year old said in passing. I was truly disappointed in this comic.

I'm sure others will disagree though.
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby careyhimself » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:11 am UTC

A_of_s_t wrote:I'm sure others will disagree though.

Well, it reminded me of Tim Minchin's Canvas Bags, so I liked it.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Tass » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:14 am UTC

Here we pay the equivalent of 60 or 70 cents per bag, and have to take the amount of bags we need our selves.

I usually don't use bags at all, but just put the stuff in my backpack.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby XbHW_TestEngr » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:16 am UTC

I totally agree with the high lasting for days. What's better, I have some large bags from Costco and they no longer sell them. I get a lot of envious looks from people in line. "Uh - that's right - I've got cool bags and you have to carry your stuff out in a box - nee ner nee ner nee ner" :D

(Yup - that's really sad coming from a guy born in 1960. LOL!)
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby emilv » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:23 am UTC

Tass wrote:Here we pay the equivalent of 60 or 70 cents per bag, and have to take the amount of bags we need our selves.

I usually don't use bags at all, but just put the stuff in my backpack.

Same in Sweden (but at about 20 cents per plastic bag or 40 for paper). The bags are rather good quality so I reuse them a lot. They're good for at least 6 trips to the store. It's easier to bring a couple of plastic bags to the store in your pocket than to remember those clumsy reusable bags.

It would be nice to have someone pack for you, though. Preferrably someone who isn't a kid from the local soccer team beacuse they are both slow and bad at it. The soccer kids usually ask you about packing when you have already payed and at that point I can just do it myself.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby masher » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:25 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:They actually put the stuff in the bags for you in the States? Neat...


Not only that, but isn't the check-out person different to the bagging person?

In Oz, the checkout chick (or scan man) is the same person as the person that puts everything in the bags.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby jpk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:30 am UTC

masher wrote:
Arancaytar wrote:They actually put the stuff in the bags for you in the States? Neat...


Not only that, but isn't the check-out person different to the bagging person?

In Oz, the checkout chick (or scan man) is the same person as the person that puts everything in the bags.


Depends on the shop, time of day, and phase of the moon. At my local grocery, there's generally a few floating baggers who go to the busiest lines. At Trader Joe's, there's never a bagger, but your checkout person is generally so good at it that by the time you've run your card through the device, they've got the job done, or so close to it that there's no point in your trying to help. At the local co-op, by contrast, I generally have my stuff bagged by the time they've finished scanning everything and figuring out what codes to use for the produce.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby littledman » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:42 am UTC

Looks like a set theory joke to me.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby pbnjstowell » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:57 am UTC

I have a lovely collection of reusable bags hanging from my pantry door. And they usually stay there unless I need to haul something out to the car. But I use my plastic grocery bags for trash bags, so I don't feel too bad.

faunablues wrote:But still... it's frustrating to have something like this be part of your job, be good at it, and have someone insist on doing it so you don't squash their precious eggs (YES WE ALL KNOW THEY DO NOT GO ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG), only to see them place a six-pack on top of their eggs and bread (??), mix cold foods with cleaning chemicals, and put a magazine next to frozen things. Errgh.


When I have a small load at Albertson's, I got through the self-check and bag my own. And I always put the eggs on the bottom where they are stable, with something light (like bread) on top. And the raw meat never goes in with the veggies.

My biggest pet peeve is getting someone who doesn't know how to weigh and place apples in a bag... I've had so many cashiers bounce my apples after I spent a good amount of time picking unbruised ones. Errgh indeed.
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Theogrin » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:59 am UTC

The store at which I work has a little reminder notice set up by the punch clock, telling employees how many items per bag they have, on average.

...nobody cares.
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby mpolo » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:01 am UTC

Here in Germany, you have to mentally calculate how many bags you need and pick them up at the beginning of the conveyor belt and pay about 25 Eurocents for it. (Or like 2 € for a freezer bag.) A lot of people just load the loose groceries into the back of their car. Of course you pay for that with your time in unloading the car.
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Turing Machine » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:02 am UTC

jpk wrote:Extreme environmentalist liberals understand economics and TAANSTAAFL?


Extreme environmentalists understanding economics? That'd be a first, ever.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby nebulous » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:18 am UTC

Without trying to sound obvious, plastic bags are reusable bags. They also fold up pretty small, for convenience.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby Keiji » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:22 am UTC

Here in the UK we pack our own bags while the cashier is processin the remaining items.

I never got the whole US idea of the cashier packing bags to save time, because doesn't that just make them take longer? :\

Sometimes they have kids at the end offering to help you pack bags complete with charity collection boxes, I once made the mistake of accepting their help and everything ended up in a mess - didn't try to correct them because that would have just taken forever. Since then though I just politely decline. If you want a job done right you've got to do it yourself as they say :D

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby kubuzetto » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:23 am UTC

Oh man, that enthusiasm in the mindless repetition of "Here you go!" just cracked me up. I can't stop laughing.

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby Idhan » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:28 am UTC

The thing that gets me is that often when I do have a reusable bag, and even if I say "I won't need a bag, I've already got one," they'll still bag it in a plastic bag on autopilot.

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby plasticup » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:32 am UTC

In Europe they charge for plastic bags. Not a fortune, but enough that you feel chastised for not bringing your own. It has really upped my use of my reusable bags.

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby ysth » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:40 am UTC

Posting here just because it's the earlier thread.
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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby scarletmanuka » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:43 am UTC

Around here (Western Australia), if you want to use your own bags it's usually just a matter of putting them on the conveyor along with your items, or of letting the checkout operator know that you have your own bags and putting them in the bagging area so they can use them. (And yes, usually having the operator bag it is much faster than bagging it yourself. They have a lot more practice.) I've seen a couple of places with baggers other than the checkout operators, but that's very rare.

These days, there's also a trend towards self-checkout systems, so you can use whichever bags you like and be as slow as you like. :) I tend to prefer them because I don't really like dealing with people, and most of them are pretty straightforward to use. Though on a couple of models I've had trouble working out where to put the money. :lol:

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby Azkyroth » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:44 am UTC

You gotta feel for the employees. On the one hand, they're required to spread your items across as many bags as possible. On the other hand, they're also required to make sure every loaf of bread or item of produce has one or more bulky, heavy things on top of it. It's a tall order...

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby wdflu » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:51 am UTC

nebulous wrote:Without trying to sound obvious, plastic bags are reusable bags. They also fold up pretty small, for convenience.

Sad to say this, but in the US most aren't because the stores buy the cheapest, thinnest, most useless bags that don't hold for long. They really should start using better plastic bags that people have to pay for, because it's a huge waste and plastic bags are flying/laying all over the US. Or the americans should just learn the word recycle and do it.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby thret » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:00 am UTC

The whole 'reusable bag' phenomenon irritates me. I use the plastic shopping bags to line my bins. Without them I have to buy bin bags. Nothing is saved.

Every fucking item in the store is already wrapped in plastic. You are just inconveniencing people without changing anything, and people who get smug with their reusable bags need to die.

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby torbenm » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:01 am UTC

plasticup wrote:In Europe they charge for plastic bags. Not a fortune, but enough that you feel chastised for not bringing your own. It has really upped my use of my reusable bags.


In many places (such as Denmark) there is a tax on shopping bags that supermarkets have to pass on to customers, which prevents frivolous overuse of bags. And the bags they do charge you for are of sufficient quality that you don't need double bagging and can reuse them many times. I reuse mine about ten times before they get so worn I can't or won't use them anymore. On the flip side, we actually buy garbage bags separately because the shopping bags are too expensive for that. Overall, I prefer this to the US system, since you are producing a lot less garbage than you buy stuff, so you always have more bags than you need for garbage unless you reuse shopping bags.

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Re: 0990: "Plastic Bags"

Postby hujackus » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:02 am UTC

Today I bought 5 items at the store and carried them 2 blocks home without a bag. A 12 pack of soda, dish soap, 12 ramen noodles, a gallon of milk, and pound of provolone.

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby J L » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:13 am UTC

Same in Germany. The sheer mass of rather high-quality plastic bags accumulating in my kitchen annoys me so much that I don't buy another one in the shop even if I need one.

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby chernobyl » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:18 am UTC

My printer came in a reusable bag instead of the usual plastic wrap. I now use it for shopping. Good move, HP!

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Re: 0990: “Plastic Bags”

Postby caoimhin » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:26 am UTC

When I first moved to Ireland I actually had to refuse plastic bags when I bought a single pack of gum. It was that automatic for cashiers to hand out bags.

Then they passed the plastic bag fee.

Overnight bag use dropped by over 90% ( http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Waste/PlasticBags/ ). And even though it's a stupidly small fee (it has been raised since introduction, but it's still small), it's enough to remind me to bring bags to the shop.


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