An Earth-Loving Disgrace

So I’ve failed the Earth again. Not only have I forgotten my darned reusable grocery bags for, hell, I don’t know how many times, but Publix Supermarkets (emphasis on super) has run out of paper bags. Really Publix?

Often when I ask my grocer for paper bags I feel like a nuisance because the cashier has to leave his or her post to go grab some from the customer service desk. Why aren’t they readily available? Some states don’t even allow plastic bags (fantastic) and here I am feeling high-maintenance by asking for paper. On that topic, I find it infuriating how plastic bags have handles and our paper bags do not. It’s like they want to discourage of from helping Mother Nature. Of course, I fully understand that reusable bags are the best option, but there should be a middle ground option right?

So as far as I can tell, people rarely use paper bags in South Florida. Them hardly ever being readily available gives me that hint. What this means to me is that the brown paper bags didn’t just fly off the shelf so quickly that the person in charge of restocking blinked and missed it. The stack must have dwindled down slowly, like the retreat of the glaciers. There’s enough time to make a change. Order more!

Instead, the person responsible for restocking paper bags likely casually mentioned to the person above him that the paper bags were running low. His superior says, “Let’s just save some money this month. How about it? Just keep telling the customers who ask for them that we’re waiting on a shipment. They’ll either suck it up and buy yet more reusable bags, they’ll give in and use plastic bags, or they’ll pile everything loosely back into their cart like a weirdo. And most of those potential weirdos will change their minds when they realize that all those loose groceries will be rolling around in their car. Either way, no loss, no foul.”

Except to Mother Earth.

Of course, I’m not helping. Despite not using any plastic bags in the produce section ( I place kale, parsley, bell peppers, right into the cart. Once or twice I’ve caught glimpses of pity from the eyes of fellow shoppers who think I must be a poor spoiled brat who never learned how to properly shop the produce section. But I will not put plastic bags inside of plastic bags. I refuse!) I still manage to buy far too many plastic enclosed products. So much plastic… Whenever I forget my bags but I’m just running in for a couple of items, I carry everything out in my arms. It’s never killed me.

When I do get to the previously mentioned paper bag-less register, I assist the cashier in shoving as many items into as few plastic bags as we can muster without bursting seams. For the earth, I tell her, in case she didn’t know. Maybe I’m stating the obvious. Or maybe I have a tiny little suspicion that there are paper bags about and she just doesn’t want to be bothered to get them. So just in case… A little guilt has always worked wonders in my life, anyway.

It seems that the assault on Mother Nature is changing my nature a bit. Let’s please all do our best to use less plastic. It’s a plague on our world. Land and ocean is being destroyed and recycling isn’t close to enough.


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