We (hopefully) all know about the environmental problems plastic causes. We see regularly pictures and read reports about animals that were interfered with by getting caught in or swallowing items made of plastic. The plan is to forbid forks and knives, straws and plates and cups made of plastic and while there is a lot of sense in some of this, there is the possibility to go overboard a bit in an over-exaggerated “we have to do something” drive.
Ireland was one of the earlier countries to charge for the use of plastic bags and in the meantime MANY countries caught up or even did better by forbidding certain type of plastic bags. But at a visit in Germany a few months ago, I came across a situation that showed me that we really can overdo it!
I was in a middle sized town and had a look at some shops without any clear intent to buy something. C&A, a big clothes shop, was also there and I went inside to have a look. They are known for good quality for low prices. Not as low as Penney’s, but still very competitive. And while having a look around, I found a T-Shirt that I really liked and one or two other items that looked great and were at the right price.
So I went to the till and pushed the clothes across the counter to pay. The employee behind the counter scanned the labels of the three items and pushed them back to me. :-O I looked at her in a quizzical way and she said “Oh, do you need a bag?” I said “Do you have a paper bag?” Her reply: “No, we don’t do paper bags, but you can buy a plastic bag.” :-O :-O
I had no interest in using a plastic bag, but I also didn’t want to walk out of the shop with three pieces of clothing clenched under my arm just because I hadn’t pre-planned the purchase and therefore didn’t bring my own bag!!
Is it too much to ask to get at least the flimsiest of paper bags to put your purchases in if you go clothes shopping? C&A also sells suits and evening dresses. Would you not think that it is in the interest of the shop to provide customers with basic means to bring their garments home unblemished?
I am all in favour of protecting the environment, but that experience did annoy me quite a bit. I could have bought a plastic bag, but I decided not to (for environmental reasons), so I DID walk out of the shop with three items of clothing clenched under my arm. :-O