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 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.