Rare is the occasion when I go into a store and spontaneously purchase something that I didn't plan and don't need... except in the sense that I don't really need potato chips. But today I saw a product that stopped me in my tracks. It was made in China from 100% polypropylene, and it smells funny. But that's okay (sort of) because it's a reusable shopping bag with the IGA logo printed on it, which means they're finally getting on board with bringing your own bags, instead of looking at me like I'm a space alien and punishing me by making me pack my own groceries while the conveyor belt runs relentlessly beneath.
I had heard such newfangled trends as reusable store bags were catching on in conventional supermarkets elsewhere, but around here I'd thought it was a coop-only phenomenon. The IGA, where I did most of my shopping in my seriously impoverished days, is by no means an upscale grocery. I was thrilled, really thrilled (and surprised) to see a rack of those bags displayed in a prominent location near the express checkout. $1.49 apiece. I was only at the store to buy a single item, so would normally have used no bag at all, but I took one in support of their nascent effort. I'll be using it again, after all. And will probably end up buying two or three more.
The bags looked really tiny, hanging folded up, but I will also vouch for the fact that they expand beautifully into a square tote only slightly smaller than a paper grocery sack, they appear to be strong, and they have the distinct advantage of that store endorsement, giving people confidence that they're not weirdos for using them. Their boxiness also, I dare say, makes them much easier to pack than your standard shapeless tote, reducing annoyance on the part of those doing the bagging.
So, hooray! And... I'm sure the smell will dissipate in time.
If you go to www.reusablebags.com, you can see a running tally (at the top of the page) of disposable plastic bags consumed this year. Just watch it for a second.
Then, if your grocery is offering reusables, make sure you register your appreciation, both verbally and by actually purchasing and using them! This is one trend that needs, badly, to catch on.