Saturday, December 09, 2006

D'oh!

So this afternoon, I decided that I needed to go shopping. Which means driving about half an hour to a town that consists solely of stores.

After fighting traffic for at least ten minutes, I made it the quarter-mile between Linens n Things and Staples. After over five minutes of waiting/driving for parking, I was ready to get in the store. As quickly as possible, I gathered the things I need for my teacher life--white out, dry erase markers, and paper. At the display of copy paper, I was shocked to see that regular, Staples brand copy paper is $3.99 a ream! I could swear that I used to buy it for like $2.50. Anyway, so I decided that since I was paying through the nose, I would pay a little extra for recycled paper (five bucks a pack! that's a penny per sheet!). Interestingly, they now sell 30% recycled paper, which 'uses fewer trees,' and 100% recycled paper, which 'uses no new trees.'

In my liberal, West Coast heart, I was like, hey wow, that's neat. I'm always telling my kids that trees are our friends; don't waste paper. And I do my best to avoid excess baggage. I'm talking about the multitude of double-bagged plastic bags that you get everywhere you go. Since I usually carry a teacher tote bag with me, and my purse is big, if I buy a small thing I can just put it in that. When I say, "Oh, I don't need a bag," the cashier usually freezes for a moment and looks stupidly uncomfortable. 'No bag? But I must give out a prescribed ten bajillion bags per day! Who is this weirdo that claims not to need my flimsy-and-therefore-doubled-plastic-bag? Some kind of commie or something?'

Once, at Barnes and Noble, I bought a book. One little book. And I tried to refuse a bag. The cashier stumbled for a moment, but then continued bagging my one book, telling me, "The security officer has to see the bag when you leave." I said, "Oh, I see." And laughingly self-deprecatingly added, "And here I was trying to save the earth!"

You know what she said? "There's a trash can right outside the door; you can just throw it away."

Take a moment and read that again.

Now I was the one stupidly frozen, but decided not to say anything, simply nodding and taking my leave along with the useless plastic.

Anyway, so I was happy and relieved to do my little part to help mother earth, buying ungodly expensive recycled copy paper.

A few hours later, I got home and realized that I left my purchase in the store.

That second roundtrip is probably going to negate the recycled paper, isn't it.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you can't Refuse, perhaps you can Reuse, or Recycle.

Some ideas for those 10 bajillion bags you get every day:
- give to a local humane society or canine rescue or (dog) training school
- give to local food bank
- give to a local church / school / other flea market

I'm sure there are other re-uses instead of just throwing the bags out.

17 more years said...

Or, you can take the bags to work with you-this way, when one of your little cherubs says, "MISSSSSSSS- do you have a bag, my lunch bag broke" you are always prepared.

Ms. H said...

I'm sorry you have to buy those things for yourself in the first place! I always get stressed out on those trips.

NYC Educator said...

Now you know why you're a teacher and that guy makes 6 bucks an hour at Barnes and Noble.

Fred said...

That's why I don't go to the stores any more. The internet doesn't have clerks to worry about.

Lady S said...

I take all my extra grocery bags to school for the nurse. She goes through three or more a day for our school of 180. I also have some in my trunk for grocery shopping, but sometimes I forget them.