Saturday, December 17, 2011

Super Stupid Customers at the Super Market

I used to work in a supermarket in the city of Calabasas.  And in July 2011, the city not only banned plastic grocery bags, but started requiring the stores to charge ten cents for paper bags (which is how much the bags cost the store).  While most people either support this or realize that it’s not a big deal, some people feel that this is a violation of their civil rights, and will gladly say that the fee is fascist, communist, or Orwellian.  They will often say it loudly, so that everyone in earshot will know that they are against the fee and that they don’t know what the words fascist, communist, and Orwellian mean. 

In case any of these not so blissfully ignorant few are reading this (yet can’t find time to go to, I’ll explain what it would be like if the new law were fascist/communist/Orwellian.

If the law were fascist, there would be no fee.  All the paper and plastic bags would be destroyed and production and import of the bags would stop completely.  Anyone found using non-reusable bags would be detained/beaten/killed. 

If the law were communist, the company that produces the reusable bags would provide them to the community for free where they would be communal property.  Since the society itself isn’t communist, that wouldn’t be the case.  The most communist it could be would involve everyone’s tax dollars goes to buy a large cache of reusable bags for the members of the community to use as needed.

If the law were Orwellian, the city government would be watching closely to see who is buying the paper bags, who is using reusable bags, and who is just carrying their groceries to the car.  They would then use this data to help determine the person’s value in society. 

Clearly, none of these are the case.  People like to litter their grocery bags, and reusable bags will help stop that.  And having also worked in a supermarket where the bag-ban wasn't in effect, where it was normal for customers to request double-plastic bagging for a single can of soup, I can say confidently that this is a good change.  So, please, don’t pretend that this is some big, moral issue.  Just be honest and say that you don’t want to pay the little bit extra.  At least you won’t look like an idiot.

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