Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'm that awful person ahead of you in line

I'm a big believer that recycling is great, but the real key is reducing consumption from the outset. Mostly I like being a person who stands by that edict and adjusts my habits accordingly. But sometimes I really hate being that person, namely at my local Mexican grocery store.

While there may be plenty of conservationist tropes in place at fancier supermarkets and big-box stores and now even the local Walgreens, they haven't really taken hold yet at Tony's, where I do most of my shopping. I try to choose a line where the check-out person knows me. I put my canvas bags on the belt first and always offer to bag my own groceries. I return my cart to its proper place so no one has to bother with it. And I always have my debit card ready for the transaction: no waiting while I rummage in my wallet. You can see the bargaining, right? I'll be the model consumer so I'm forgiven my check-out sins.

But there I always am, explaining that the milk and cereal can just go at the bottom of my hand cart -- no need to put them in the canvas bags; we'll save those for smaller items. Meanwhile, my loose oranges and onions (no produce bags for me) roll around on the scale. Inevitably the woman at the register starts putting things instinctively in a bag and I have to say, "No plastic, no plastic," then watch her shrug, wad up the bag, and throw it in the trash, knowing she's thinking, "Just get over yourself already." And a big part of me thinks, "I agree, I agree! But what about the global warming?"

So I'll just say it was with glee this morning, as I pulled my usual routine, that the woman behind me in line was the exact same person! Hand cart poised at the end of the line, dingy canvas bags on the conveyor belt, similar disheveled appearance. Had we not both obviously been on foot--with plenty of perishables to trudge home through the snow--I would have invited her out for coffee and thanked her for making me feel like a slightly less lonely pain in the ass.


kkurtz said...

there is a special place in any number of religiously sanctioned afterlifes for those who endure the chaos & grime of Tony's. your spot is certainly reserved in at least 1.

tracy said...

Good for you for fighting the practical fight! I feel your pain when I'm in Stillwater, where recycling is only for the wierd.

Stove said...

I just hand them my bags and they use them. Is this why they don't ever speak to me there? We also go to Strack and Van Til where they are not phased at all by this process. I can't understand places like Walgreen's where they are always nonplussed by me saying 'I don't need a bag.' I can't be the only one who doesn't need a bag for one or two items.