The Grumpy Old Man in Training Speaks out Again

So, up very early Tuesday morning, I caught most of Sudbury Mornings with Carrie, Jim and Rick on “Big Daddy,” the local MOR station.*  A thread through the morning’s DJ banter was the new $0.05 mandatory charge on plastic bags at all grocery stores, good or bad, and so also the use of the eco-friendly grocery bags sold everywhere from Dollarama to Loblaw’s to Canadian Tire.

They solicited listener opinions, and I emailed them the following:

 I’ve got zero problem with the eco-bags; I never forget them anymore.  But, in my experience, cashiers look at them like they are some sort of puzzle they have neither the time nor inclination to work out –  even at the express checkout.  They toss anything, all shapes and sizes, into the bags, if they make any serious effort to bag my groceries at all!  This has forced me to offer up – rapidly and passive-aggressively – schools on space-relations & other forms of efficient bagging technique.  The bags are stiff and squared; they cannot be filled like plastic but must be filled more like the old paper (remember that?).

 And the lovely Carrie read it on the air.** 😀

Yesterday, I grabbed almost my entire supply of bags and went off to the grocery store, prepared to spend like a sailor.

I wheeled my heaping cart to the till, commenced to unload as the customer ahead of me finished up and paid, and as he was leaving, I put my bag of bags ahead of my groceries.  The young checkout girl began to run my groceries through and placed my bag of bags among these early items.  Just then another store employee, a young fella, came up to my girl and commenced to yuk her up.  As they chatted and giggled and my unbagged groceries really began to pile up I began to toss the proverbial stink eye in their direction each time I stood up from my cart to put more items on the conveyor.  These cheery youth took no notice.

Finally, I’d had it.  I barked at the boy, “d’you got some work to do!”  I fully expected him simply to wander off.  Instead, he shot me a deer-in-the-headlights look, but quickly snapping out of it, and hopped to baggin’.  And then even the cashier commenced to do her bit.

Still, I ended up having to do an awful lot of bagging myself.

I’d have enjoyed the realization that I can – in fact – get some satisfaction, except I was made very grumpy by all this.  Cashier: “have a good night.”  Jack: “pfff, yeah thanks.”

It all makes me want simply to pay the nickels for plastic.  I could then just go outside the store and rebag in some way.  Necessary but not much work, for my usual habit is to buy only what I can carry a couple of blocks in 4 eco-bags and my backpack, which allows me to go home on the bus which stops in front of the grocery store as well as at the end of my street.  Now, getting the usual-but-now-surcharged plastic bags would, of course, slightly defeat the purpose of the boodle of totebags I bought at a buck a shot.*** 

Yet, as DJ Rick remarked on Tuesday, having no plastic bags at home is itself problematic, for he and I both have saved our old plastic bags and not put them in the bluebox, because there’s no easier way to adhere to the Greater City of Sudbury By-law 2001-18A, “to regulate owners of dogs to ‘stoop and scoop’.”

But if getting your groceries bagged comes at the cost of a nickel per 25 litre surcharge – as I pondered before making my minimal remarks to the boy – maybe the angry and pennywise bark more forcefully: “hey zitface, get bagging my fucking groceries!”

I really don’t wanna become that DB.  But if Al Gore and every grocery chain I deal with presents reusable groceries bags as, not merely virtuous as the result of their production**** and use, but also as a product sold in the store, how is a decline in service on account of its purchase and employment something I should swallow?

Otherwise, WTF is the teachable moment here?  Comrade Zitface, do you realize that by promoting self-bagging with the increased use of these eco-bags, you and young fellas like you just might find yourselves unable to find good part-time jobs like these?

Asshole or activist, neither appeals.  What makes such a walking heart attack?  For all kinds of reasons, explicitedly stated or implied, I’ll stay this course whether or not kids not wowed by my Gold Card bag my groceries.  This is just easier shopping whether my transport is urban surfin’ or even, as I found yesterday, cabbin’ it.  In the end, I’m willing to do a good deal of heavy lifting.

But Christ in the cracker, do I gotta do it all?

Oona, I’m going back to review your thread on Fish and his encounter with the telemarketer.

*Nothing says MOR like this station’s motto: “Big Daddy 103.9, Playing Anything.”

**Nary a stutter, despite the convoluted syntax. 😉  How I envy the broadcaster’s voice.

***FYI, the LCBO sells the best bags – padded handles – although they aren’t as big as the A&P er Canadian Tire er Dollarama bags.  The PC bags gotta be the worst though, not so long-lived.

****My A&P bags boldly display the universal recycling bug to indicate that they were made of recycled materials.

*****BTW the Morning Show features a bit about Rick’s grumpy old neighbour who regularly calls in to complain about one thing or another usually about Rick and his domestic habits.

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1 Comment »

  1. oonae said

    Re Fish-to-come, excellent. Looking forward to it.

    As to the rest: I’m kind of proud of Ontario for enforcing the use of the eco-bags. I like the idea of a nominal fine — not so much as will hurt but enough to serve as a reminder. I wish everyone did it. (I wish California did it.) Possibly, as with Fish on the phone, you just ran into some dumbasses. And, hey, wouldn’t you be a dumbass if you had to work that job?

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