No, Really, I Don't Need a Bag!

I hear that some places around the world have banned plastic bags. Vancouver is not included in this, however some stores such as Whole Foods have voluntarily quit giving them out. Others charge for bags to encourage customers to bring their own. And when you think about how many plastic bags probably end up in the trash, I think it's a great idea! So I, being relatively environmentally conscious, bring a reusable bag for my shopping as much as possible.

Of course, me being Mango, and thus more than relatively eccentric, I take things a bit farther than that.

I never use disposable products unless I think it's absolutely necessary. For example, if I decide I want to eat lunch from a takeout place, I bring a plate, much to my co-workers' amusement.

I have discovered that the practice of not wanting to use disposable products is confusing. In fact, at times I get reactions similar to what I would expect if I asked, "Hi, I'd like a veggie stir-fry on brown rice, and for a 20% tip, you'll need to solve a Sudoku puzzle in under three minutes!"

Case in point:

Cashier: "Paper or plastic?"
Me: "I don't need a bag. Thanks though!"
Cashier: "Okay, great!" [starts putting my things in a plastic bag]
Me: "I actually don't need a bag. Thanks though!"
Cashier: [big smile] "Okay, great!" [continues putting my things in the bag]
Me: [Pays, takes my things out of the bag, and walks out of the store]

I decided to start saying something I thought was funny to see if they noticed.

Cashier: "Paper or plastic?"
Me: "No bag, thanks. Just trying to save whatever kind of tree plastic comes from!"

This worked, but a few weeks later I saw written on an internet forum "#@$%!!!! If one more customer uses that #@$%ing 'save a plastic tree' line I'm gonna #@$% him up real good!"

So I decided to stop using that line. Apparently, other customers have the same sense of humor as me, and it got annoying.

Wherein I am responsible for an entire fast-food restaurant grinding to a halt.

Once, I was at a food court getting lunch. I note I did not have my plate with me this time, which was a good thing, because I don't think they'd have been able to handle it. They were giving out trays with things like lots of plastic cutlery, condiments, an empty drink container with lid and straw, a handful of napkins, and a paper place mat, most of which I didn't need.

Cashier: "Take tray!"
Me: "No, I don't need one, thanks though!"
Cashier: "Not want tray?"
Me: "No, thank you!"
Chef: "Take tray!"
Me: "No thanks - just my lunch please!"
Chef: "TAKE TRAY."

By this point I realize I'm causing a minor scene, but those of you who know me know I enjoy a nice fuss from time to time. And, at least I was doing it with no effort whatsoever while being perfectly polite. As I left, (fortunately with my food), I noticed that the entire staff of the restaurant had stopped whatever they were doing to stare at me. As I walked away, I heard the chef explain to the cashier, "He no want tray."

This guy may have had a point, but I don't know what it was.

I was at a store buying something. I didn't have far to go, and of course, I'm the Eccentric Environmentalist, so I told the guy at the desk I didn't need a bag. He stops and thinks about that for a second, but puts it in the bag anyway. Then he comes right around to my side of the counter to hand it to me. And he leans down (I'm short) to whisper in my ear, as if it's all some big secret.

I admit, I'm intrigued. By crackey, if there is a plastic bag secret, you can bet I want to hear it.

"Take bag!" he whispers. "In case..." [he pauses for emphasis] "...of security!"

Okay, I'll take the bag if you really want me to that much. But...wait, what?? In case!? At first I thought this was one of those stores where the guards assume you're shoplifting if you don't have your item in a bag. (THAT's another story.) But I look around and it's only me and him in this tiny little store. Besides, I'm three feet from the door. I still don't really know what he meant.

Weary, I considered myself beaten.

I went to a bakery for a snack. True to form, I had a plate in my pocket.

Me: "May I please have a raisin muffin? And, er, I know it might be a bit strange, but could you put it on this plate please?"
Baker: "Of course!" [gets a raisin muffin, gets out a bag...]
Me: "You know what, I don't even need the bag! 😀 Just on the plate is fine!" (Yes, I even vocalized the smiley.)
Baker: "Oh, sure! :)" [puts away the bag, gets out a piece of parchment and puts it on the plate...]
Me: "Actually, I'm fine with the muffin just on the plate. I like to 😎 recycle and stuff," I explain.
Baker: "All right!" [puts away the parchment, gets out a #@$% paper napkin, puts it on the plate, puts the raisin muffin on top, and triumphantly presents it to me.]

Weary, and wanting my raisin muffin, I considered myself beaten.

I saved the napkin.
  1. March 5th, 2010 at 14:39 | #1


    You're hilarious!!!

    T. 🙂

  2. Nancy
    December 8th, 2010 at 11:55 | #2

    I laughed till tears reading this!

    More please, more!

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