The Old Coot is a bag man

We hate them; we love them. Those single-use, plastic bags our groceries get packed in. But, not for long! Soon enough, they will be illegal in New York State. The bags are an environmental nightmare (that’s the part we hate), but a useful device for a lot more than the so-called “single-use” function they are designated to serve. 

Customers shunned them when they first showed up in grocery stores. Eighty percent of shoppers answered, “paper,” when asked, “paper or plastic?” Eventually, the percentages swapped places and most people accepted the plastic. 

The paper or plastic question is not even asked in most stores. If you want paper, you have to ask for it. Most of us accept plastic bags without giving it a second thought.  

Actually, we prefer the plastic bags. It’s the handles! We love them! We’ve discovered they can facilitate a single trip from the store to the car and the car to the house. 

Our family’s present record is held by my wife, Marcia. She can handle 15 bags without batting an eye, eight bags clutched in her right hand, seven in her left. I’m only good for six. The hard part is to maneuver the load, so you can get to your keys and open the car door. Ditto, when you get to your house.  

But, it’s all coming to an end. I suppose we’ll go back to paper, at first. That’s going to be a hard transition. You can only carry two paper bags of groceries at a time. When you try for a third, you have to squeeze it between the other two and hold it in place with your chin. It makes walking across the parking lot to your car a perilous journey with your head bent down like that. 

When you get there, it’s impossible to open the door without putting the bags down on the parking lot. Maybe the stores will resurrect the “box” option, like the one that was common back in the good old days, with various size boxes piled in a heap at the end of the checkout counter. One box would hold three of four bags worth of groceries.  

Most likely, we’ll be required to bring our own containers, like they make you do at Aldis, because replacing plastic bags with paper would cause too many trees to be cut down, hurting the environment more than the plastic bags do. 

I guess Amazon has the right idea. We stay home and order what we want from them and wait for a drone to land by the back door. It’s a brave new world out there! The new “grocery purchase” question, will be, “What do you want, drone or Uber delivery?

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