Monday is my habitual weekly grocery shopping day, this being my role in our marriage. Today, April 1, coincided with the first day of Salem's ban on plastic bags at large retailers.
Which didn't affect me at all, given that I carry around six Trader Joe's reusable bags in my car, typically bringing two bags into each of my trifecta grocery shopping destinations: Trader Joe's, Fred Meyer on south Commercial, and Lifesource Natural Foods.
Naturally, when the checkout person at Trader Joe's asked me how my day was going, I said "It's exciting to be here on the first day of the plastic bag ban. Of course, you guys don't use plastic bags, just paper, so I gather nothing has changed for you."
I couldn't resist adding:
"However, the ban is going to take away from my judgmental satisfaction when I'm in a checkout line at Fred Meyer behind someone buying $150 or so of groceries, and the checker puts a zillion (more or less) plastic bags into their cart, with like four items in each bag. I feel morally superior with my reusable bags in hand. I find this as irritating as the women who spend an hour (more or less) searching for exact change in the depths of their purses."
Our brief conversation ended with me blurting out a bit of quasi-philosophical wisdom.
"The way I see it, if I'm not getting annoyed at something, I'm not alive." Pleasingly, the Trader Joe's checkout person agreed -- though maybe it was because she didn't have time to disagree with me.
Plus, I got an absolutely free Trader Joe's reusable bag, which must have been in honor of the plastic bag ban.
At Fred Meyer, I also brought up the plastic bag ban when asked how my day was going.
Since I was at the store where many times I"d noticed people sucking up over a dozen plastic bags to put their groceries in, I repeated my comment about how this irritated me, adding, "I bet plastic-bag-customers are going to be thankful for the ban when they realize how many fewer bags they have to carry into their house now that they have to use either reusable bags or paper bags."
The checkout person said that she's glad plastic bags have been eliminated. "They tear easily," she told me. "And they don't stand up like reusable bags do," I noted.
I didn't hear any enraged Fred Meyer customers fuming about the goddamn City Council taking away their precious plastic bags. In fact, as I wheeled my cart away I could hear the woman in line behind me speaking positively to the checkout person about the plastic bag ban.
Councilor Tom Andersen was featured in a KGW TV story last night about the upcoming rollout of the plastic bag ban. Andersen spoke about the environmental benefits of the ban in this video.