I have a confession to make. Earth Fare – the healthy, organically-grown, no high fructose corn syrup, no trans fats, no nothing, grocery store chain – freaks me out. I do love shopping there (despite the high prices and yes, I know, Trader Joe’s is cheaper but it’s also an extra 10 minutes from my house). But every time I pull into the parking lot, my heart starts racing and I get a lump in my throat because I know how it has to end…at the checkout line with the dreaded question, “Do you need a sack?”
To begin, I consider myself an environmentally-conscious person. I try to use rags instead of paper towels. I make sure lights are turned off. And I save plastic bottles for the recycling bin. But when I go to checkout at Earth Fare (or really any healthy grocery store), I feel like a loser surrounded by the other shoppers in line who have their 10 reusable shopping bags piled in their carts. And then the clerk asks me, “Do you need a sack?” Glancing at my cart filled to the brim, I think, “Duh, of course I do!” But then I realize, “Ohhh, she wants to know if I brought my own reusable shopping bags or if I need to use five of their brown paper sacks thus slaughtering a tree. I can feel the condescending looks. What do I do?! If I say, “yes,” will they hate me? Will they think I don’t love the Earth? But I don’t have any other way to carry home my packages of seaweed snacks, bags of pinto bean chips, my four organically-grown artichokes, my humanely-raised package of chicken and the fair trade chocolate bars. I don’t want to kill a tree or add more trash to a landfill but I really like those Earth Fare brown sacks with the thick handles.
Faced with this question and with people in line behind me, I quickly run down my options. I can say, “yes, I’d like my groceries in the sacks,” and face the stares of the others. I can spend more money and purchase the reusable bags conveniently located at the checkout line. Or I can tell the cashier, “No, I don’t need a sack,” and start shoving my purchases down my pants so I can make it to the car in one trip.
And to make it worse, I just noticed that Earth Fare has a large bin full of cardboard boxes by the checkout lines so shoppers can pack their own groceries in a box and carry it home. Seriously?! And do you bring the box back when you’re done?! Will they know?!
So maybe I’m the only person in the history of Earth Fare shoppers to worry about this. But when I say, “yes, I’ll have the sack (or the plastic bag),” I feel like I should tell the cashier all the ways I plan to reuse the sack/plastic bag so it doesn’t go to waste and so she’ll know a tree didn’t die in vain or a landfill won’t overflow with plastic waste. I don’t do that, but I feel like I should. “Oooh, can’t wait to get my brown paper sack home and see all the ways I can reuse it…a fun “ball in the bag” game for the kids, a hat for a school play, kindling for my fireplace, to accessorize my poodle….and so on.
So what’s the lesson here or point of my post? Go green, people, and don’t use the sack! Or do…I don’t really care.
Please continue in the circle by visiting the talented Valeria Pereira-Howell, ZenMindphotography, http://www.zenmindphotography.com/2014/02/ignite-creative-discovery-february.html