just along for the ride …

When they first came out, I purchased four cloth bags from the grocery store and had every intention of using them when I grocery shopped.  But unfortunately, I had trouble remembering to put them in my car.  And I finally quit even trying to remember them when I realized that there is a recycle bin for the store’s plastic bags in their entry-way.  So I figured I would still not be wasting plastic bags if I brought them back the next time I shopped (or the next time, or the next time — you know, it’s a memory thing).

But then about a month ago when a group of friends were talking about grocery shopping, one said she always uses the cloth bags.  Not just because they save on plastic bags, but because each one holds so much more than the plastic ones and the cloth ones never rip.  Let this stand as proof that some little thing we say can influence others — after that conversation and her listing the “pros” of using the cloth bags, I decided to re-commit to using them too.

The next time I went to the store, I put the big black tote that I keep the four cloth bags in in the back seat of my car.  And then predictably forgot to take them into the store with me.

But I didn’t give up.  I left them in the back seat, and the next time I went I actually remembered to take them in with me!

But then I forgot they were in the cart, and proceeded to put my groceries in plastic bags (I use the self-check-out most of the time — where you bag your own groceries).  I only remembered them when I walked back to my cart at the other end of the conveyor belt after I had put all the groceries in plastic.  Sigh.

But I was like The Little Engine That Could and kept on trying (I think I can, I think I can) and I am now happy to report, that the cloth bags have moved up from being just along for the ride and are active participants in my shopping experience.

So, I see two lessons to be learned from this story.  1) The cloth bags really do hold much more than the store’s plastic ones and, of course, are much sturdier, and 2) When you are having a conversation with someone, you have no idea which of your words just float away on the air and which may resonate with a listener and make a difference in their lives.

Happy Tuesday!

14 Responses to just along for the ride …

  1. carlahoag says:

    Plastic vs. paper or cloth: unless it’s very messy, I opt for paper, then either reuse it for putting paper recycling in, or paper crafts. I’ve never liked the plastic bags and it’s distressing to me to see them in the countryside where they’ve blown up into trees and on fences. I have several cloth bags, but (like you) usually forget and leave them in the closet or the back seat.

    One last note about the cloth bags -somewhere I read comments by a grocery clerk about the dirty cloth bags that customers were bringing for their purchases and how disgusting it was for them to have to handle them. Now, Sandy, you look like Mrs. Clean, but the rest of us probably need to be reminded to wash those bags regularly.

  2. Linda says:

    I bought a shopping bag at Aldi’s years ago and never remembered to take it with me on future shopping trips. I do see the value in reusable cloth bags, but I also find it irritating that the same people who pushed us into using plastic bags years ago are now telling us what bad people we are for continuing to use them. I think the same thing is coming with light bulbs. But don’t get me started on that. 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    Carla — I don’t have to worry about that for a while, because mine are pristine clean! 🙂 Because they’ve been used so seldom. 😦 But I will keep that in mind — thanks for the tip.

    Linda — I’m feeling very virtuous using my cloth bags — but at any time I could stop remembering them and be right back to the plastic bags. And I HAD gotten in the habit of returning those to the store. I felt better doing that. Ahhh, the guilt-laden choices we have to make. 🙂

  4. carlahoag says:

    Ditto, Linda. I must renew my stash of light bulbs before the kommissars make them illegal.

  5. Amy says:

    I forget to bring them into the store. However, they do get used when we go on vacations. It’s where I put our dry snacks.

  6. Hilary says:

    I consistently forget them too. I also tend to use the plastic bags for cleaning out the cats’ litter boxes.. so I reuse them in my own way. I do think that stores are taking advantage of this change by charging 5 cents per plastic bag when they’re only worth a fraction of a cent.

  7. Cathy says:

    I’m still at the “they are in my cart but I forget to use them” stage. I think I’ve remembered 2x!

    Guess I’ll keep trying…I really do WANT to use them, but…

  8. Sandra says:

    Carla — Amen. I’ve stocked up on light bulbs and am hoping my supply lasts until someone comes to their senses.

    Amy — I just discovered how handy they are for traveling! When we went to Tulsa and stay in a suite with a kitchen, those were VERY nice to carry the kitchen stuff I wanted to take. 🙂

    Hilary — Forgetting them seems to be a common theme. I’m so glad it isn’t just me. 🙂 Luckily, stores here haven’t started charging for bags. But if you have it, it’s probably coming! If it does start, I think I’ll be more motivated to remember my cloth bags. btw, I do always keep a supply of the plastic bags on hand — they come in handy for so many things! 🙂

    Cathy — I can so relate. 🙂

  9. Dave says:

    Sandra, at our age it can happen so easily. Good that you finally won through with the cloth bags. We wheel the shopping trolly out to the car and put our groceries in boxes we bring in the boot of the car – Dave

  10. Sandra says:

    Dave – You’re in New Zealand, right? Do you mean that that is the way all grocery stores there do it? There is only one chain here that I know of that does that — Aldi’s. But, who knows, maybe our other chains will move in that direction too. With all that’s going on in the world right now, having to change how we get our groceries from the store to the car is the least of our worries! 🙂

  11. Linda Bewley says:

    Okay, Sandra, here’s my comment on these cloth bags (of which I have many–every organization I’m involved with has given me a bag!). They do hold lots more, but, then they get so heavy I can’t lift them.! Maybe it’s the check out person just having a laugh on my account:)

  12. Sandra says:

    Linda — And THAT is why I like to use the self-check-out. Call me a control freak if you like, but I like being able to arrange my groceries just the way they work for me. 🙂

  13. Dianna says:

    Smiling, because I could have written this post. (Sadly, I STILL haven’t gotten in the habit of using the cloth bags…they just keep riding around in my car. I put them back in the trunk when we need the space in the back seat for passengers…)

  14. Sandra says:

    Now you make ME laugh, Dianna — Hubby offered to put mine back in the car after we unloaded the groceries, but he was going to put them in the trunk. I told him no, no, no, because I would NEVER remember them if they were out of sight in the trunk. 🙂

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