Thursday, May 07, 2015

Another Reason I Hate The Plastic Bag Ban

It has taken me a couple of weeks to write this post because I was absolutely outraged at what happened to Mrs. RVFTLC and I on a weekend shopping excursion.
Some background is necessary here.
My hometown of Pasadena, California has a ban on markets and similar establishments from providing plastic bags to customers. This is the ordinance. If one forgets to bring their plastic bag(s), you can still obtain a paper bag. For the price of 10c each bag. This is a local ordinance. However, a bill was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would make this ban statewide. It is on hold as enough valid signatures were obtained to put it on the general election ballot in November, 2016.
So, whenever I am with Mrs. RVFTLC, she always remembers a bag or more than one, depending on what we need to purchase. Me. Uh, not so much.
One of the reusable bags was an insulated bag. We used it for cold items and or when purchasing ice. Which is what we were going to do on this Saturday afternoon. It was the last of the shopping and then, home.
We went in the store, reusable insulated bag in hand and eventually the shopping cart as we have done many times before.
After we finished our shopping we went in the line, put our items on the conveyor belt and then were asked during check out if we wanted to purchase a bag. Mrs. RVFTLC and I looked at each other and realized something.
Our bag was gone.
Mrs. RVFTLC looked around the check out area and it was gone.
Someone stole our bag! A frickin' plastic, but insulated, bag!
Needless to say, we were righteously pissed off beyond belief. I mean, a plastic reusable bag can be had for as little as 99c at most supermarkets. Since we were close to home, the fury in me did not subside and after helping Mrs. RVFTLC put away the groceries, I railed on Facebook about the dastardly deed. My mistake was adding a line, this line in particular:


That ended up being a long argument with my sister over, you guessed it, plastic bags and how terrible they are. Needless to say, she missed the point of the post.
That coupled with the numerous times that I have forgotten a plastic bag as I noted here frustrates me about this abomination.
Look, as usual, environmentalist types get the whole issue wrong.
Firstly, supermarkets and the like used to have big boxes with signs for people to drop off plastic bags that they will not use for recycling. And also that people could trade or bring in used plastic bags to use. The problem was there was no incentive to do so. Under the current Pasadena ban, only one supermarket or like business offers any kind of credit for people bringing reusable plastic bags and that is the local Kroger outlet, Ralph's supermarket. Ralph's gives a 5c credit for all the bags one brings with them to shop. Why didn't places do that before, without the heavy hand of government?
Secondly, what ever happened to enforcing litter laws?
Has anyone not driven around your city and or suburban neighborhood and noticed, "Damn! Why is there just so much trash around?" I can tell you that the neighborhood park is one big trash can as there is trash all over the place.
What I would like to see is the kind of clean-ups that are done at the beaches. Most of that is done by kids through groups like Heal The Bay or the Surfrider Foundation.
As a conservationist, I see that as a real problem.
But this post is not about whether plastic bags are evil or a convenience.
It's about how low people can get to not spend a little money.
I don't exactly how much an insulated reusable plastic bag costs. Can't be more than $5 bucks, could it?  I mean, if one is going to steal a lousy bag, what the hell else are they going to steal.
Someone made the point on the now infamous Facebook thread that they might have been hungry and needed something like bread. Although that really had nothing to do with the issue, I got the Les Miserables analogy. First, I would not only personally buy the bread but any other food the person would want.
Maybe the crook was going to use said bag to steal more items. It's possible and more probable than not.
I will say that most people have not had the experience that we had but it is another reason why I hate the local ban on plastic bags. And am hopeful the voters of California will not allow a statewide ban next election.

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