I’ve Been Thinking: Things Which Make Sense, But Someone Ruined

Do you ever find something that makes total sense, but the idea of using it has been ruined by someone, or some group?

Take the lowly grocery bag that people use every day and most of us have them stuffed in a drawer thinking that we will use them sometime in the future. Let????????s face it, they are convenient. We don????????t ever have to remember to take our own bag to the grocery store. They have handy little handles on them. They only tear once in awhile. And, best of all, they are free.

What make sense? Using grocery bags that we own and use each time we go to the store. The first time I ran into this and I said ??????Hmmmm?????? was on an island in the Caribbean. The grocery store didn’t have any plastic bags at checkout. You either brought your own bag, or they had large bags to purchase (at a low price) as you checked out. No questions asked ??????? unless you were a newbie like I was. By the end of my stay, I actually remembered to bring in my grocery bag so I didn’t have to buy another one. The bags were large and sturdy with handles. They were actually convenient to use.

Why do I think this good thing has been ruined by someone, or some group? If we look back over the past several years, it seems that the idea of using reusable bags at the grocery store was presented by groups that were viewed as extreme and the perception was that this idea was being crammed down our throats and our choice was gone. I feel that as a group, it was like the tail wagging the dog. Who wants that to happen? We want to feel like it is our choice and the market is filling a demand.

Bottom line, the experience left a bad taste in our mouth. Move forward from that experience about 15 years and where are we? In some of the enclaves of northern California and other outposts like Aspen, Sedona and Telluride you might find some stores and communities which are trying to promote the use of reusable grocery bags, but that is about it. It is estimated that up to 1 trillion plastic bags are used world-wide. In the United States, that number is about 380 billion plastic bags.

Some countries around the world have begun to place taxes on the use of plastic bags. For example, Ireland placed a $.15 tax per bag. (If you used 5 plastic bags, it would be $.75 in taxes.) It did reduce the amount of plastic bags used by 90 percent. However, who wants to do this because of a tax? Not me.

I am not looking at this as an environmentalist. I am looking at this as someone who feels it is important to take care of what we have and from a marketing point of view where I believe the idea was presented in a way that was a ??????big fail??????. I believe that we need to use our smarts to make our life better. And to keep it better for our progeny.

Is there a way to make this happen now? Yes. And it begins with me (or, you). I am going to make a concerted effort to use reusable bags in the small town where I live and see how long it takes for it to become a habit and if anyone else begins to follow suit. At the very least, it will be an interesting experiment.

Remember, sometimes, it means taking egos out of the game and do something which makes sense.


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