Eco Bags: A Few Things You Should Get Used To, England

(To be filed under: Inane thoughts that plague me regularly!)

With all the hoo-hah in England over having to play for plastic bags, which we’ve been doing in Scotland for at least a year now, I’ve started dwelling on life with eco-bags again. I love eco bags, don’t get me wrong, well, I must do because I have approximately 150 of them in canvas, plastic, hemp and woven form! But occasionally there are issues which no one has really come up with a solution for (and it's possible I am the only crazy person who stresses/thinks this much about these things!)

The overlarge eco bag (usually sold in Primark): These bargainous beauties have suckered many of us, am I right? But their size is prohibitive. Oh sure you can chuck everything and the kitchen sink in them, but they are SO big that they actually drag on the ground if you hold the handles, so you are forced to hoist a massive tote full of stuff over your shoulder.

The handbag dilemma: Am I the only woman who finds juggling a handbag and eco bags awkward/unwieldy looking? I find it weirdly impossible to have any sort of handbag I must carry or have on my shoulder (I have yet to find a shoulder bag that stays hands free on my actual shoulder) while simultaneously juggling eco bags. I often sigh enviously at older ladies with their little wheelie shopper bags as I sling numerous bags over my shoulders and the crooks of my arms and my back cries out in pain.

The masculine eco-bag: More stores need to come out with a plain, canvas bag, preferably in black or navy, with a tiny disclaimer at the bottom that says “I am a man and this is not a purse!” Does anyone else have a partner who recoils at carrying your bedazzled butterfly eco bag for you? Not that I shop with my hubby if it can be at all helped, but when it comes to hauling groceries, etc., we must be prepared at all times with the most utilitarian, fuss free, manly eco bag possible!

An eco bag with compartments: Because who wants to put their fish and new tee shirt in the same bag? Not I! And so we must carry at least two eco bags at all times, or else be the guilty looking person buying an actual plastic bag for their groceries when they are clearly holding an eco bag! Which leads me to….

Self Service checkouts: Now I know that these are not quite as common in America, but trust me dear friends of my motherland, the machines are coming, and they are going to cause you more stress than I can possibly convey. One of the top bugbears being: they are designed to pitch a fit when you conscientiously come prepared with your own bag. First off, you must have an empty bag, for even if you have a mere tube of toothpaste in your giant eco bag, the machine will sense that you are up to no good and ALERT! UNAUTHORIZED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA EVERYONE! And so we make sure the bag is empty, and yet STILL, 99% of the time the machine will have a conniption even if it knows you are using your own bloody* bag! AGGGGGGH. Sorry!

Finally, let’s talk about a little domestic issue which the dearth of plastic bags has created: What am I supposed to use to line my bathroom bin? To be brutally honest I have started buying small bin liners (which I know some people do anyway, but I was one of those people who actually re-used my bags for this purpose. I feel sort of guilty doing this but I mean, needs must. 

But in general I am pro eco-bags, because duh, and they really aren't that difficult to get used to in the grand scheme of things, minor niggles aside (but seriously, industrious types: there are fortunes to be made on my not patented ideas!) So I’m sorry England, but welcome to the club!









* I am sorry for swearing, because yes Americans, "bloody" is an actual swear word in the U.K., as are "bugger, bollocks" and nearly everything else you've ever heard Hugh Grant say in that adorable accent - but like most Americans, no longer how long I live here, I still think of British swear words as a bit of fun. I can't help it, they sound so made up! They just don't feel as naughty as "real" swears and I know it's bad but I can't stop myself!

14 comments

  1. Unauthorized item in bagging area... I hate it! I remember one time in Morrison's staff had to come like 5-6 times because it kept saying it over and over. He was giving me a dirty look :)

    www.elabellaworld.com

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    1. They are just awful things, but we have no choice as there are usually no people on tills anymore! And yet they hire people to monitor the malfunctioning machines, it's madness I say!

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  2. Here Here my dear! I have a ton of these and use them as much as I can. I hate the dirty looks I get when I hand them to the cashier. We have a few self check out places by me and it is a hot mess when you have to bag the items. Like you said. . .Its madness!

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    1. Cashiers here are also kind of weird about bagging your stuff for you now so I know what you mean! But then again I kind of can't blame them? Having to handle the bags which are like maybe germy even subconsciously because they belong to someone else? I don't know, it's all a bit over complicated!

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    2. I feel awkward because 90% of the time people DO offer to pack my bags for me!

      With you on the problem of what to use in the bin, though. We bought bin liners for the kitchen but they're so much flimsier than plastic bags it's always daunting taking them out.

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    3. This is interesting...everywhere I've ever worked at or shopped at - it is the cashier's job to do the bagging - it's just how it's done. You defer to the customer of course, if they say they want to do it. It is a little icky because some customer's reusable bags really reek of super stale cigarette smoke/cat piss/mold/everything else - but not everyone's. I am finding the little culture things to be very intriguing.

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  3. i hate self checkout. my husband prefers it... i feel like its faster to just have the checker check our stuff. most of the bags we have are from Lucky's, the grocery store near us, but I have a few cloth bags from other stores. I don't normally purchase much from non-grocery stores, usually I can fit it in one re-usable bag i have for non food items. Or my husband and I look like we are just stealing from the store and have everything bundled in our arms so we don't have to pay the 10 to 25 cent charge for a paper bag ;)

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    1. I live in a city so a lot of times I am picking up different stuff at the same time. And the self checkouts here are unavoidable, there will be one cashier with thirty people in line who don't want to deal with the self checkout, so you have that choice to make!

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  4. Oy. Self-checkouts. Such a pain in the ass. My husband loves them. I do not. They are constantly "unexpected item in the bagging area!" freaking out like it's the zombie apocalypse or something. And of course half the world doesn't know what the hell they are doing, just standing there like "uh, how do I look up my bananas?" and have no idea that bananas must be ON THE SCALE to be weighed. And heaven help you if you are buying anything with an age limit - cough medicine, liquor, etc. You will be waiting forever.
    Ha ha - I like what you wrote about the man recoiling at the pretty/girly bags. Shawn does this, and I am going to fit it into a post somewhere.
    Finally...man...job security. Cashiers need jobs, man.

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    1. Thanks! I know, the plight of the cashier is totally ignored! I just love when I have to look up "Chocolate croissant" to remind myself I am buying things I really should not be!

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    2. I deleted your duplicate ;-)

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