Andrea Freedman

Has anyone else out there noticed that ever since the plastic bag fee was introduced, that the quality of the bags has gone down dramatically? In fact, it seems as though I can hardly get a plastic bag to make it home after only a five minute walk from the grocery story without that bag having at least one or two holes in it.

You could put a piece of paper in one of these bags and it would rip. Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is not that far off from the truth either. The irony is that some stores who still include a plastic bag with a customer’s purchase – free of charge – offer the best quality bags.

The bag fee does deter me from purchasing bags and encourages me to bring my own shopping bag from home. I find I can carry much more in my shopping bags. However, there are times when I do need a plastic bag, and when those times occur, I would like to be able to use that bag again, for one thing because it is good for the environment to re-use, and for another, because quite frankly, when I am paying for something, even a plastic bag, I would like it to last or at the very least, make it home.

Instead, most times I am forced to buy two bags, where normally I would have only bought one. It could be argued that this is a waste of a plastic bag, therefore defeating the purpose of saving on plastic bag use in the first place.

If we are supposed to re-use the plastic bags, why is the quality so ridiculously bad enough to make that virtually impossible? I re-use my bags, especially for garbage. As I live in an apartment, my garbage goes down the incinerator, contained in a plastic bag. When it comes to disposing of garbage, it is obviously as a matter of hygiene, especially if one lives in a multi-unit dwelling. That garbage needs to be disposed of in a plastic bag. If I do not use the plastic bags I get at the store, then I will still need to go out and purchase actual plastic garbage bags. I will still be using a plastic bag.

I have also often used plastic bags to bring lunch to work or elsewhere in. Never is a bag – that is, one without a hole in it – only used once or thrown in the garbage in my household.

I do not think I should be punished with an inferior bag – a bag that I am paying for I might add. To me it simply does not make sense and it actually sabotages the purpose of re-using bags. They cannot very well be used when they are full of holes.

In no way am I trying to suggest that five cents is an exorbitant amount of money. It is just the principal. The other day, it was the last straw. I had specifically asked a cashier’s opinion as to whether I should purchase one bag or two. She confidently told me that the one bag would be sufficient, even after I had blatantly told her that I was sick and tired of purchasing bags that immediately tore. It was almost as though she did it on purpose.

When I got the bag home a very short while later and – what a surprise – it was torn to shreds, I went right back to the store and asked for a refund of my five cents, and I told the cashier exactly why I was doing so.

Like it or not, plastic bags are sometimes a necessity. Having to pay for them should not be synonymous with bad quality. It may sound silly, but that’s my five cents on the subject.♠


What’s your five cents on the subject? Do you mind paying the plastic bag fee? Are you bothered by the thinness of the new bags?


Copyright © 2014 by Andrea Freedman


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on October 7, 2014, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I always ask for a bag without holes, and the cashier looks through it to see that it is perfect. What a drag paying for a holey bag, no pun intended.


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