A Tale of Two Bags

I never really thought much about it until God pointed it out to me this week, but there are different styles of passive aggressive. And noticing this actually gets me closer to believing that corporations are people.

Please note that “closer” is still “a long way off.”

Not only are there different styles of passive aggressive, but the two stores where I do most of my grocery shopping, Costco and Trader Joe’s, both engage in such tactics. They both try to encourage us shoppers to behave a little more ecologically responsibly, in that neither of them wants us to get new grocery bags every time we shop. Sure it helps them in that they get to spend less on bags, but in these two cases I’m willing to believe that ecology is a real part of their motivation, not just a convenient excuse. I’m less willing to believe that about hotels that want me to reuse towels. But I reuse the towels anyway, because even if I suspect their motivations, they are right, reusing is the right thing to do. But I digress; back to bags.

Trader Joe’s approach is to put up a little signage, and to make sure that they have strong, reusable, bags, not just for sale but prominently displayed both when you come in the door and at many of the checkout stations. If you don’t use them they don’t scold you, they don’t even mention it, they just cheerfully bag up your purchases in handy brown paper bags. With handles.

Costco is a little more direct and a little less convenient. They don’t generally have reusable bags available for purchase. They also don’t have throw-away bags. They’ll let you use empty boxes that they would otherwise recycle. They’ll let you use your own reusable bags that you bought somewhere else, like, say, Trader Joe’s. Or they’ll happily put all your stuff back in your cart and let you figure out what to do with it from there.

So Trader Joe’s is the friendlier place, but they make me feel a little co-dependent. See, Costco actually gets me to be more eco-friendly, Trader Joe’s doesn’t. Trader Joe’s just gets me to feel a little guilty. I don’t have nice reusable bags, but I do have a sturdy plastic crate (not a stolen milk crate, but a similar thing that I actually bought). When I go to Costco, I put all my stuff into the back of my car and then when I get home I go inside and get my crate. A few trips back and forth and all my stuff is neatly stowed away. When I go to Trader Joe’s, I let them put my stuff in bags. I later use the bags to haul out my recycling, but still, I feel a little guilty for having them. After all, I could use my plastic crate to haul out my empty bottles and cans and it would be almost as convenient as the bags.

Oh well. God says at least my heart is in the right place. Come to think of it, I think that’s God being a little passive aggressive too.

RSS feed


No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.