Paper or Plastic


Paper or Plastic


 Remember when customers were given a choice at the grocery store?

The first time I heard a cashier chant ‘paper or plastic’, I thought he was asking how I was going to pay for my purchases.  Paper would indicate real money – cash and plastic was a credit card.   The question, though, was not about preferred payment method but how I wanted my groceries bagged.


         Some considered paper the natural green choice.  Others felt it increased the slaying of trees.  Plastic was shunned due to its harmful properties – it wasn’t natural.   I could never figure out all the arguments to consciously act –  So I gave each choice equal opportunity.

Imagine my surprise last week when I was not offered a choice of bags or even the use of a bagger.  My purchases lay sprawled on the counter waiting for me to claim them.


         The cashier had already diverted his attention to the next customer when I asked if the store was out of bags.  The look on his face was condemning as he informed me I was required to pay 5 cents for each bag.  It was the law.


         How did I miss this change?  I couldn’t recall paying for bags before.  The simple encounter felt like an earthquake exploding my carefully constructed world into fragments.

What else has disappeared from reality?

9 responses »

  1. So true. I agree that in europe that has been the case for a while. Still taking time to spread here in the US. I remember back in the day when individuals were employed to bag ones groceries. Times a changing


    • I don’t mind the change but would appreciate the courtsy of letting me know (sign on door). I also am totally miffed about it being made into a law. What is that about to a psychologist? Is it just OR that tries to legislate compliance?


      • Its all about “structural level” interventions and changing use, perception and beliefs through policy. I find such interventions fascinating. Look at what bloomberg tried to do in nyc with his proposed ban on large sodas. He failed but coca cola changed their advertising campaign. I personally like my big coke zeros 😉 interesting what is going on in oregon. If there are ever any ads about that can you send me a link, photo?


      • I am looking for the ‘law’ on bags in OR and just heard of a recent law where cars will have their milage monitored and the owners will be taxed accordingly. Evidently the monitoring is via some device that will be attached to the car. It will have tracking cabablities so I’m told. I am still looking for the announcement.
        I too am interested in the use of policy for change. I remember the mandator seat belt law in NC in the 80’s 🙂 and it’s Public Health implications.


  2. Ahh modern times- legislative action that seemed like a ‘good idea at the time’. incremental industrial legal complex . New strain of fascism. A monomer of last century’s configuration.
    A seemingly positive socialist idea- blended with pseudo liberalism.
    You take personal responsibility for bagging your own with your own or pay for service.
    We don’t need no stinking government!

    The corporate /legislative industry will define our community at it’s best – move along consumer.
    Move alone worker, Don’t compromise nor speak out yourselves either. The legislators know best because the lobby informed them how to structure our community.

    You didn’t vote for this change ! no one needs to vote any more- no need- move along – no talking-and no congregating- smile- how are you today- how would you like to pay- here’s your options- there is this one and and the same one – have a nice day.

    Yup other countries have been doing this tiny daily event all along . . . Thank you Stalin, Pappy Bush, Mousilini; old man Koch; Mr. Ford.
    Could you redefine please Mr. President Eisenhower?

    Yeah sis I’ll switch back to de-cafe.

    And for the record I love to bag my own !
    Have loved it for quite sometime. Yeah. Can’t wait to shop in Oregon again.

    What a disconnect we’ve had with our groceries/ food for last 50 years.
    Doing less and less, Being less and less connected with our own daily web of existence.
    We are Americans and we are so f’ng special.
    I hear Ross Perot’s sucking sound.



  3. Yep, it certainly has become the case over in Europe too. No longer are you given bags at the grocery counter, you have to request and pay for them. Mind you countries like Germany have always done that, being keen recyclists and all.


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