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Jan 30, 2010 09:44 AM

Question regarding Market Tote bags

It appears that the green movement regarding reusable market tote bags is starting to reach mainstream customers.

I am doing some research regarding tote bags and am interested in what foodie types use at local stores or farmers markets. I personally love my french blue basket that I probably paid $35 or so for.

I have found mass produced 12 oz canvas totes selling for $10-15. Also more custom made versions with separate areas for baskets of berries and pockets for c-phones and plastic bags. These are around $35-40. I also have found totes with a thermal liner to keep the contents cool.

What do most folks use for totes? Is there are market for the $35-40 dollar high quality tote? Do you like them plain or do you get them with design, pictures or local advertising on them?

Thanks for your responses!

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  1. I have a fantastic straw market bag with leather straps that I got at a French boutique in Toronto. It holds a surprising amount of stuff and the straps are sturdy and long enough to go over my shoulder. It was fairly expensive at around $35 but was worth every penny - I use it almost every day.

    There is a picture of it here:

    1. I guess there's a market for everything, but I wouldn't pay that much for a tote. Instead, I have a motley selection of cheap/freebie totes that I stash in various convenient places -- to me, the most important thing about a tote is that I have one when/where I need it. I think the most useful is the insulated zipper bag I bought at Trader Joe's for $5. One consideration for me is that I don't like to pile everything into one large tote, as I either have to constantly rearrange things or the things on the bottom get squished.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I also have a boatload of free totes, from Macy's, World Market, drugstores, grocery stores etc. Some you basic canvas, others like a rice sack but with really colorful graphics. (World Market, in particular, is always giving out free colorful totes.) I also have some free insulated zipper bags from my credit card company.

        I guess my answer to OP's question is $0.00.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Same with me. I shove all the totes inside the largest and leave them in the trunk of my car. I also keep one in my laundry room for things to go to the tailor/dry cleaner. A few of the smaller totes live in the kitchen- convinient if I'm bringing cans or something to a friend's house.

        2. I couldn't bring myself to pay more than $10 for a bag meant only for market use.

          I do have one of those straw totes that ms. clicquot points to, but truthfully, it just stays at home and looks pretty (this is more a beach/vacation bag for me).

          The tote I use all the time for groceries is a recycled rice sack:

          I've got a few freebie shopping bags that I liked enough to keep in the car. The ugly freebies get given away or I just don't take them.

          And I've got a large boat bag that stays in the car and does grocery duty when I do a big shop.

          None of these bags were purchased for the express purpose of grocery shopping. They are bags I had or purchased around the time that bringing your own bag began to come in to vogue.

          (I'm a bit of a bag fiend.


          Edited to add:

          Rethinking this last bit to say, if that rice bag went south, I'd probably pop for another one. It's sturdy and lightweight, the graphics are cool, and it's served me well. So I guess, once a bag has proved its worth, I'm willing to go over that $10 mark I mentioned above. But it definitely still has to be reasonable in price.

          1. Most of my bags cost me no more than $2 - $3. They look like everyone else's, and I keep them in my car, so I have them with me. I have found that these totes soil easily, and like being able to toss them in the washing machine. The couple that didn't do well being washed, I just tossed.

            1. I think the best tote is one you can have with you at all times for those unexpected stops.

              Also, no need to just use them for groceries... I use them at the pharmacy, Target, bookstores etc.

              I use these because they hold a lot, they're sturdy and they roll up so small (about the size of large egg roll)... that I can always have one or two in my purse.


              I get mine from eBay. Cheaper.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jennalynn

                I flirt with these bags from time to time..great patterns! Maybe time to buy!