Would you like a bag?

Filed in Blog by on January 5, 2010 12 Comments
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Little miss Green - born with two strong arms for carrying things

Little miss Green - born with two strong arms for carrying things

Poor Little Miss Green – it’s not easy being an eco warrior sometimes.

We had a bit of a browse around our charity shops this week. She found a couple of things she wanted and went to pay for them with her own money.

The lady asked her if she would like a bag.

Little Miss green said No Thank you. But it didn’t stop there.

The lady said “But it would be a shame if you dropped your new things wouldn’t it?”

To which Little Miss Green just looked at her.

The conversation continued something like this “Are you sure you wouldn’t like a bag?”

“No thank you”

“But I could give you a bag to put all your things in.” (LMG was currently clutching some goodies from the other 2 charity shops as well)

“No thank you”

“Are you sure I can’t tempt you with a nice bag – look these even have cats on them!” (We were in the cats protection league shop at the time)

“No thanks”

(I don’t know how LMG is controlling herself at this point; I though her patience levels took after me, but evidentially not)

**holding up a bag** “Look how strong they are; I could put all your things in there for you – wouldn’t that be much easier?”

LMG looks and says nothing.

“Oh well then, if you’re really sure. Are you sure you wouldn’t like one?”

Mr Green intervenes and says “We never take bags; do you know they can cause devastation to marine life and other wildlife?” (bearing in mind we’re in a shop which is to protect cats)

“Ah yes, good idea; I don’t like to take plastic bags either and if I do get any I make sure I reuse them”


Well done LMG; we knew you were made of strong stuff the day you were born…

It’s ok, I know the lady was just trying to be helpful; but do you ever find that shop keepers find it hard to believe you really don’t want a disposable plastic carrier bag?


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Grandma Green says:

    Do you mean to say that LMG had left her ‘onya’ bag at home/in the car? She must take after her grandmother!!

  2. Jane says:

    Congratulations to Little Miss Green for standing her ground!

    However it is interesting that the salesperson asked her if she wanted one. I make a point of thanking the people who do ask because so many don’t and put my purchase into one before I’ve had time to open my purse – and that really irritates me!

    There is a great essay The Perils of Plastic Amnesia by Matthew Carmichael. One of the paragraphs used to comment on the ways in which we are encouraged to buy more and more once we are in the shop ie not just what we went out to buy – first extra bags are provided then trolleys then vans etc etc.

  3. Jane says:

    Rebecca Hosking who persuaded Modbury to go plastic bag free – the first such town in the UK – received an MBE in the New Year’s honours. Congratulations to her too!

    The BBC Natural History Unit’s film on which Rebecca was a camerawoman was an eye-opener. Message in the Waves.

  4. Layla says:

    LOL!! WOW for Little Miss Green being so strong & eco-aware! 🙂

    I find it easiest to just say, ‘No thanks, we’re being eco’ or something like that. Other people have said they get best results with that too. The shops want to be ‘eco’ after all, no? 😉

    (I sometimes add in the mini-rant how we have too many plastic bags at home already. Yes, from ‘communist times’ – sigh!)

  5. I will never get why some people really want you to take the bag. On a trip one time someone just kept trying to get me to take a bag to the point I gave up and took it because it was a nice paper bag so I could at least reuse it and then recycle it.

  6. Yay, good for her! It’s hard enough for us grown ups to stick to our principles and not get frustrated with others, so that’s just wonderful that she could!

    I nominated you for a Happy Award! http://www.easyecotogo.com/2010/01/i-got-happy-award.html

  7. LJayne says:

    I always smile ruefully at supermarkets where I’ve got all my fruit & veg loose on the conveyor belt – and I DO helpfully sort it into the different kinds – and when they weigh it they go to bag it up for me. Often without asking. They obviously think I’m some kind of imbecile who can’t find the plastic bags on the f&v display.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Grandma Green: 😀 I don’t think we were planning on buying anything; but it was just one of those ‘lucky finds’ days. The clips have come off two of my Onya bags; I’m not too happy about that 🙁

    @Jane: Hi Jane, I’m thrilled for Rebecca to be recognised in this way; it’s wonderful. I invited her to guest post for us, but I think she is taking a well earned break from writing and campaigning. You’re right; I too am pleased when people ask about bags rather than assume, I just with the ‘are you sure?’ wouldn’t follow quite so readily 😉

    @Layla: No thanks we’re being eco LOL! I can see that one receiving blank stares around here 😀

    @Lisa @ Retro Housewife Goes Green: *sigh* I guess I might just about take a paper one, but the plastic ones – no way. I think shops like you to advertise them for nothing out on the streets 😉

    @Julia @ Easy Eco To Go: Hi Julia, thank you so much for the award! I’ll try and take part soon.

    @LJayne: I’ve experienced that too 😉 Just smile and let them think what they want to think …

  9. Josie Brock says:

    The ’99p’ shops are selling the Big Jute Shopper which is fully bio-degradable and eco friendly, they say! It also says, on the bag, that it is high speed bio-degradable; I hope it doesn’t degrade while my shopping is in it! Actually, it is a largish, strong looking bag and fits into my (largish) handbag – I just have to remember to take it with me!. Jo Brock

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Josie Brock: Hi Jo, I just responded but my message was eaten. Aaargh; too many visitors at once on the site; I guess I shouldn’t complain 😉
    Good to hear about the 99p shops supporting reusable bags; I wonder how sturdy they are – perhaps you’ll let us know. As long as it fits into your bag you should have no trouble remembering it; it’s when they don’t fit anywhere they get left at home or in the car!

  11. Hannah says:

    I try to always refuse bags, and go to the extent of taking things out of them if the shop assistant has pipped me to the post and leaving the empty bag on the counter. I keep meaning to be organised enough to bring tupperware tubs from home and ask for things like bacon to be weighed straight into the container so that I don’t end up with lots of little bags that can’t really be reused. Haven’t managed it yet though:-/

    My standard response when asked whether I would like a bag is “No thanks, I have arms for that sort of thing” 🙂

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Hannah: Hi Hannah; yes I’ve unpacked bags at the checkout too! You’ll soon get used to the reusable container idea – it’s all about baby steps. I bet you used to forget your reusable bags; well one day the containers will come as naturally to you as the bags. We keep our containers right next to the bags and put them back there after washing up – could that help you?

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