Reusable shopping bags are taking over the world!

(and that's a good thing)

The Globe and Mail on the worldwide phasing out of disposable plastic bags, praising the remarkable grassroots, bottom-up effort.

I went to Costco today (hence this post) to stock up on snacks for the office, and must say they deserve praise for coming around in the past year.

About a year ago, I was in a Costco warehouse, shopping with one of those tough plastic/nylon bags sold by Loblaws. A short while later, I was accosted by an employee from store security, who informed me it was prohibited to use these bags while shopping, and that I'd have to get a cart. (Ironically, Costco actually sells reusable nylon shopping bags.) None too pleased, I wrote to customer service, identifying myself as someone who often went in to pick up just a few items, and for whom using a huge cart really makes no sense. I asked if the distribution of transaction sizes might reveal more like myself, for whom it might be justified to provide an alternative to the large carts. Happily, they took me seriously and replied that the average transaction size justified offering only large carts:

Thank you for your recent inquiry through Costco.ca, in response, the
daily average transaction at Costco ranges from $130 to $150 which is
why we only have the large carts.  We do appreciate the suggestion and
it has been sent to the appropriate management team for review and,
thank you again for taking the time to send this to us.


The part about "been sent to the appropriate management team for review" sounds like typical corp-speak, but it was apparently true, for a year later...

Ahh, how nice it was today, when I decided to risk it and try again to shop with a Loblaws bag. I got to the register, declined the cashier's offer of a box, and she smiled warmly and said: "Ah! You've got a bag, even better!" Similar friendly attitude from the cart-inspection clerk at the exit.

Thanks, Costco, you got it right. Impressive.

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