Ok, so I’m about to freak some of you guys out by showing a side of myself I don’t make public very often. It’s the side of me that gives a shit. I decided a long time ago that I was too old and too crabby to wear shirts proclaiming my opinions on eating animals, American beauty standards and whether or not you should kill your local drug dealer (to my Flickr friends, if you look hard enough, you can actually find me in a pretty sweet t-shirt addressing that one in particular) and on the surface it seemed as though I stopped caring about those things. But I didn’t. Just because you don’t wear your heart on your sleeve doesn’t mean you don’t have one, as black and cold as it may be. Deep down, under all the tattoos of medieval weaponry and Satyricon t-shirts there is a closet activist. I’m too lazy to participate in fun runs so I donate cupcake earnings to causes I deem worthy and I’m too anti-social to actually talk to anyone, so instead of handing out PETA fliers I just don’t eat animals and call it a day. But I do bring my own bags to the grocery store, I will say that much for myself. Never mind the fact that my mother-in-law sews them all for me, right now we’re talking about me and how great I am.
Anyway, the reason I’m posting this is that I’ve noticed “nice” grocery stores are all about the BYOB (bring your own bag) kick. At Trader Joe’s they even ask “do you have a bag?” at the check out. No one looks at you like you’re blowing a prime opportunity for a free plastic bag, no one expects you to pack your own food into your “crazy” bag, no one bags your shit in plastic anyway and then shoves the plastic bag into your cloth bag and no one rolls their eyes when you hold up your own bag and wiggle it suggestively in their faces. I don’t get it, because even at the shittiest grocery stores they SELL cloth bags now. Are the employees unclear about what those bags are for? Do you think they’re like, “Why would anyone want to buy an ugly ass Jewel-Osco purse for $2?” Blarg! It’s so frustrating! Don’t you just want to be like, “I’m saving the environment, assface! now quit giving me dirty looks and put my over-packaged Boca burgers in the tote bag!”
Alright, so maybe I’m the broad who made homemade ketchup this week end because I’m freaked out about giving Teno high fructose corn syrup, but I’m really not a crazy person. I own a bike, I do not think I’m cool for owning said bike. (Um hi, everyone in Chicago… did you read that part?) I eat dairy, I shop at Target, I own a car. (It’s a station wagon too, word up.) I only really eat organic when I buy it at The Bleeding Heart Bakery because I’m a glutton. What I’m saying is I’m a normal person, I do a lot of bad things, but the one good thing I try to do all the time- bring my own fucking bag to the fucking grocery store- gets me shit every time!
But I won’t take this injustice lying down folks, oh no. As you read this I am shooting e-mails to customer service rooms all over the country. It occurred to me that a lot of you might be facing similar issues so I decided to post a sort of generic form letter than you can copy, change here and there (or not) and paste into an email of your own to your local grocery store that gives you attitude about bringing your own bag. I’m also going to post some e-mail addresses of stores I’ve been to that treated me like an asshole for not wanting their precious plastic bags and I’m asking that you leave comments with e-mail addresses to your local stores too so we can all e-mail and bitch together!
It’s the laziest revolution ever and I’m at the helm in my Hello Kitty pajamas eating American Idol cookies and cream ice cream.
So here’s my letter, alter it as you please and viva la revolution!

I appreciate your store’s efforts in reducing consumer waste by offering reusable cloth bags for sale at the check out. Undoubtedly this action alone has prevented tens of thousands of plastic bags from ending up in landfills already. I’m writing today to ask that you inform your employees, specifically baggers, about these efforts as in my experience, they seem to be unaware of the existence or purpose of cloth grocery bags. I make an effort to bring as many cloth bags with me as I can when I shop your stores and the baggers are consistently confused by my actions. Sometimes they ignore my bags and bag my items in plastic anyway, other times they roll their eyes and act like I’m making some kind of outlandish request. I’ve noticed that other stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s ask customers if they’ve brought their own bags, or if they notice that you have they simply ask you for the bag and pack up your items. I don’t recall ever leaving one of those stores frustrated because I had to unpack my items and then repack them into my own bags, or because the bagger gave me attitude about my request. I ask that you inform your employees about the growing trend of customers bringing their own bags to your stores and try to make the whole experience less intimidating for those of us who are making an effort. Thank you.

Or… you can send them something far more hilarious like the e-mail my friend Tara just forwarded me:

Dear Jewel Baggers,
Please stop rolling your eyes at me when I come in with my own bags. The place where you work sells these bags as part of their effort to clean up the plastic waste problem this country is facing. They sell them for a dollar each, which is awesome, by the way. Perhaps your managers need to make you watch National Geographic’s “Strange Days on Planet Earth” to get a little perspective on the plastic bag problem. They are already banned in numerous countries. What on earth would you do if they were banned here? No more eye rolling, that’s for sure! In conclusion, when you see me coming in with my bags, please just do your job and BAG.
Sincerely, tree hugger AND frequent customer



Strack and Van Til (their shit’s broken, I’ll update this when it’s fixed)