Following on from yesterday’s post, I thought I’d share some of what I turned up online about the reaction to the carrier bag fee, because it is a mix of amusing and gobsmacking.
The Telegraph put together an amusing list of tweets:
Can't believe the chaos outside. Grown men on their knees, crying in the rain, staring at a plastic bag. Complete turmoil and confusion.
— Jamie East (@mrjamieeast) October 5, 2015
Boyf took our one and only bag for life into work. I'm vaguely panicked now. #plasticbagchaos
— louise martin (@louisemartin25) October 5, 2015
REMEMBER: When faced with #plasticbagchaos – STOP. DROP. ROLL.
— Jonny Rose (@98rosjon) October 5, 2015
I'm going to stand outside supermarkets selling plastic bags for 4p. Expect to see me on The Apprentice next year. #plasticbags
— L (@RealTempleton) October 5, 2015
5p for #plasticbags? Suddenly the cupboard full of them in my kitchen has just made me a millionaire.
— British Logic (@BritishLogic) October 5, 2015
— Jeevers Creepers (@jeeveswilliams) October 5, 2015
And from Eight incidents that prove the English public have lost their minds over the carrier bag charge, we have these gems:
A man got banned from Asda for fighting over the carrier bag charge
Yes, really. The Sun reports that Asda customer Delroy Hilton felt like he was “treated like a dog” by staff who allegedly tried to force him to pay for his plastic carrier bags.
He claimed that while trying to carry his shopping to his car in a basket from the shop, a worker emptied his goods onto the floor.
He paid at a self-service checkout at the store in Sheldon, Birmingham, but did not want to pay for a bag.
After the incident, he was asked to leave, and the next day was told that he was banned for using foul language and being abusive towards staff.
— Mashable (@mashable) October 12, 2015
The supermarket Tesco had such trouble at one shop with people stealing its “bags for life” that they actually security tagged them. (source)
(Many retailers have these bags for life: they’re usually about 10 pence, and you use it til it wears out, and then return it and they’ll replace it with a new one. They’re plastic, though, so you can’t toss em in the washing machine.)
Another Tesco location “said a third of their baskets had been stolen in just a week,” so they started security tagging them, too. (source)
This post makes it look like I’m a Telegraph reader, but in truth I don’t really read any of the national newspapers. I just end up clicking from one story to another to another, and today somehow I started on that site. It’s the local news I keep up with – hence Glossop Events.
That disclaimer aside, I’ll close with a little food for thought, from an OpEd by Jemima Lewis:
But should consumers alone be punished? It was the supermarkets that got us hooked on plastic bags in the first place. Not so long ago, all bags were “bags for life”. My grandfather lugged the same straw basket to and from the local Safeway every day for 20 years; and when that fell apart he bought another one, just the same.
He knew the capacity of his basket by heart, the way a cat knows its fences. If he couldn’t fit it into the basket, he didn’t buy it. This made him – his entire frugal generation, in fact – irksome to supermarkets. If these stores were to persuade customers to buy impulsively, to succumb to the lure of the two-for-one, they needed to make it easier for them to carry the extra booty home.
Giving away free, single-use plastic bags was central to the success of the supermarkets. It helped train a generation of shoppers in bad habits, and ushered in a new era of convenience, greed and waste.
Supermarket profits have come at a heavy cost to the planet. Isn’t it only fair that they’re the ones who should pay the price?