day 28

More trash from outside the hospital today. The usual suspects: plastic water bottles, plastic bags and fast food cups and straws. The unusual – a toothbrush. There’s a lot of trash out there people. A lot of trash.

I had to drive one parking row over because I didn’t want the two woman who’d come out of the hospital after us to see me rummaging in the median for trash.

On Thursday I stood in line at the supermarket behind a woman checking out with one item – a sandwich. It was already pleasantly nestled inside its plastic clamshell packaging so naturally I assumed when the cashier asked her if she wanted a bag she’d refuse – isn’t a hard plastic container enough? Just pop that puppy in your big purse for goodness sake and take it to the car. But no – she wanted a plastic bag.

What’s the psychology behind wanting a bag with our groceries, especially when we’re only getting one or two items? Why do we want a bag? Does it complete the transaction? Does it make us feel like we’re getting more for our money? Is it just habit?

If the cashier was surprised by the woman’s decision she hid it well. She put the sandwich in its plastic bag and moved on to my order. If I had been that cashier I probably would have said “really? you really need that extra bag? and I would have been fired.

It’s a long uphill road to convincing folks that their purchase, already in plastic, doesn’t need more plastic.

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