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Time for a rant – Shopping bags

It’s raining so I thought that I would have a bit of a rant and today’s subject is “Shopping Bags”.
All boaters are different but we all have one thing in common, we’re all good at carrying things and one of the best bits of carrying equipment around is the supermarket ‘bag for life ‘. I have nothing against these bags but I do get annoyed when supermarkets claim how environmentally friendly they are. Sure, they are better than those nasty carrier bags that we are soon going to be paying for in an effort to deter us from using them but let’s look back to find out where they came from.
When I was growing up in the sixties, my mother went shopping almost every day, taking her trusty leatherette shopping bag with her. That’s not entirely true, growing up in Scotland, we didn’t go shopping, we went “for the messages” and we had a “message line” rather than a shopping list.
Anyway, it was all good for the consumer who only bought what they could carry home, on foot of course. Not much good for the retailer though having customers who restricted their own purchases. Providing free carrier bags solved that problem instantly with the consumer now able to take advantage of impulse buys and promotional items.
Two new problems arose as a result of this, the consumer had to get the food home and then store it. So the pedestrian became a motorist and increased pollution. The car needed to be parked so land was covered over which in turn encouraged flooding. The consumer walked less and ate more and so became obese. They bought a fridge to store the food that couldn’t be bought on the day of purchase but eventually they would outgrow it and get a bigger one. The old one would be dumped and its refrigerant gases would find their way into the atmosphere where they destroyed the ozone layer and triggered climate change.
Buying food every day and using it straight away keeps wastage down, again good for the consumer but not for the retailer! Luckily enough the kindly retailer started applying dates to the food so that the consumer knew when to use it. Nonsense! It was just an instruction to throw it away. This is why we now have so much food wasted each year.
So by introducing the free carrier bag, retailers have been responsible for obesity, pollution, climate change and food waste. So I’m afraid that there is no praise for the retailer who sells a bag for life on the pretext that it is better for the environment when in fact it was their greed tactics that created the problem in the first place.
Having said all of that though, the bags are pretty good for carrying stuff to and from the boat!