The Shopping Bag/Industrial Complex

GoGreenShoppingBagThe First Iron Law of Consumerism reads “everything must be contained within in something else”. We all know the implications. This means everything, no matter how trivial or major, must be packaged.

The Second Iron Law of Consumerism states, “all packages must be bagged”. Again, we know the implications. Even a candy bar, already trussed up like a Christmas present, must be placed in a bag. Your only choice is “paper or plastic?”

The Third Iron Law of Consumerism dictates, “all bags must be bagged”. The implications are obvious. This double and triple bagging process will continue with no logical limit until the consumer shrieks, “What the heck are you doing? It’s only a candy bar for Pete Sake.”

There is, of course, an alternative to the Second Iron Law of Consumerism. The consumer has the option of bringing their own bag to the store. Personally, this is something I never do.

I consider it a tragedy that some municipalities and states, motivated by misguided environmentalism, are actually banning single-use bags.

We have tried cloth shopping bags and the result was a greater environmental travesty than plastic bags. Apparently, someone has not thought this thing through.

You see, a plastic bag can easily tossed into the trash, which is the source of the plastic bag problem – but a cloth bag cannot be so easily discarded – to do so requires overcoming a sharp pang of guilt. The result is that we have an entire closet devoted exclusively to avoiding the sin of tossing out cloth bags.

We have light green bags with dark green lettering encouraging us to be greener still. We have bright orange and brilliant yellow road-safety bags. We have a bale of pink bags that grows a little more every time we attend a cancer fund raiser.

Our grandchildren present us with new cloth shopping bags on every visit; admonishing us to conserve. Conservationists do the same; admonishing us to visit the nature center more often.

I might be a cynic but I suspect a sinister and powerful special interest is behind all this bagging, re-bagging and cloth bagging. Call it The Shopping Bag/Industrial Complex.

They are going to get you one way or the other. If you say paper, they got you. If you say plastic, they got you. If you bring your own bag, the clerk sneers down his snotty little nose at you until you accept a cloth bag with the store’s logo on it.

Personally, I always ask for plastic. I do this because my wife has two cats. There is nothing better for packaging and trashing what is in a litter-box than a plastic shopping bag.

It is why I think the ban on single-use bags is misguided.

Do you know what will happen once the government bans plastic grocery bags? Sure you do. The Shopping Bag/Industrial Complex will merely rebrand the single-use plastic bag as Kitty Litter Bags and sell just as many of them.

Until then I will continue to editorialize at the check-out counter by loudly asking, “Could you please triple bag that candy bar – I need the bags for cat litter.”

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