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Save-A-Lot and paying for bags

Recently the Publix in my neighborhood shopping center moved a couple miles down the road to a larger space, and a Save-A-Lot opened up in the previous Publix building.

I was excited to have a grocery store back so close, but after visiting a couple times I have some issues.

For anyone not famliar, Save-A-Lot is a discount no frills type of place, and, for what it is, isn't bad. There's no deli or bakery on site, and they have a lot of generic brands, but the prices overall are pretty good.

The biggest problem I have, and the thing that gets me in enough of a huff that I end up driving the couple miles down to Publix as often as not, is that they don't bag your purchases for you, and they charge for the grocery bags that you use yourself.

True, it's just 3 cents per bag, so it's more about the principle than the cost, but the food prices aren't _that_ cheap that they couldn't afford plastic bags for customers. It just seems like a big 'f-you' to me, as the customer, to bring up my purchases, and then be told I'm both expected to bag them up myself, and to pay for that privilege.

Are there other stores that have this policy? Am I being a nut for being bothered by this?

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  1. Um, yes. More than ten years ago they charged 4¢ a bag at "my" Sav A Lot (Southern California).

    I know I am saving money when I shop there. I know I am not paying for a lot of frills. I can live without frills when I have money in my pocket at the end.

    You can put your purchases into one of the cut boxes left at the front or you can bring your own bags. Or you can shop elsewhere and pay for the fuel and the frills.

    1. Yes I think you are being a nut to be bothered by it once you know that is the policy. If you don't like it go elsewhere or bring along bags and someone to do the bagging for you.

      1. I don't have an issue bagging my own groceries so long as there are bags within easy reach including brown bags, and that I don't have such a full cart that I can't unload the cart AND bag groceries at the same time. If I know a store is BYO bags then I will bring them.

        1. Many of the folks here prefer to bag their own anyway. And I've gotten in the habit of bringing my own bags, except at Costco, where things are often too large - and they provide those cut-down boxes as well. That's just the way Sav A Lot works; Shop n Save locally is just the same. We've sort of gotten accustomed to doing things one single way, but just as the do-it-yourself checkout has been sort of accepted, many folks have gotten/will get used to it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lemons

            I do prefer to bag my own groceries and bring my own bags regardless of the store. I would not be offended by a store wanting me to bring my own bags or bag my own groceries.

            What offends me it when they bag them for me and mash a loaf of bread w/ a melon or overcharge me and I have to go to 'customer service' for a correction.

          2. We keep cloth re-usable bags in the vehicle at all times because most of our stores charge for bags (a few up to 10 cents each). Our pharmacies are also doing the same. I appreciate it because it is a good environmental policy.

            1. Since it is a discount, no-frills kind of place, yes, you are a nut for being bothered by this. Those kinds of chains often don't even provide bags at all to even purchase, so either don't save money there, or deal.

              1. Thinking about it, I do see some of your points. I know that I can just shop somewhere else, and vote with my dollars, but it's annoying that the most convenient grocery store to me has this policy.

                The paying for bags thing just seems extreme to me. I can understand not carrying items that don't sell in large numbers and take up shelf space, having minimalist decor, and even not having dedicated baggers that have to be paid an hourly wage.

                The prices aren't that much better than mainstream grocery stores though. While I've never worked in a grocery store, I can't imagine plastic grocery bags are a major expense. Perhaps I've lived a sheltered life, but I've never been to any other retail establishment that charges you extra for the bag to carry your goods home (well, I know Costco and the like don't even offer bags, but I always figured that was because so much of what they sell wouldn't even fit in a traditional grocery bag).

                Just a quick Google search shows one online retailer selling plastic grocery bags for 1.6 cents per piece. With the volume of bags a grocery chain likely purchases they are probably paying a fraction of a cent per bag. Potentially loosing customers over something like this seems idiotic to me. What's next, charging me by the minute for use of the shopping cart?

                9 Replies
                1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                  Some grocery stores do indeed charge you for a cart. You get your money back when it's replaced. Kind of like the trolley thing at the airport. Jus' sayin'.

                  1. re: JerryMe

                    Yup, our discount grocery stores charge a deposit for carts - 25 cents - that you get back when you return them to the kiosk (or when another shopper hands you a quarter, smiles, and takes the cart).

                    1. re: lemons

                      Ours charge $1 but no big deal - we get it back upon return of the cart.

                      1. re: lemons

                        lol what do the stores think charging a 25 cent deposit on a cart will prevent

                        1. re: kpaxonite

                          It will prevent the store from having to pay someone to wrangle the carts from the parking lot. If you saw a quarter on the ground would you pick it up or leave it there?

                          1. re: kpaxonite

                            It eliminates the need for an employee to collect the carts around the parking lot; as in Europe supersatores, the carts are returned to a special area and tethered to the cart in front and then you get your coin back, works quite well keeping the parking lot free of loose carts.

                            1. re: ospreycove

                              Makes sense... I live downtown and the carts don't usually leave the store so I guess I just wasn't thinking.

                              1. re: kpaxonite

                                I live downtown Toronto and most stores I go to either the cart don't fit down the cash lane (you unload and put it back...or abandon it) or have wheel locks on them so the wheels lock if you take it further than the curb. Otherwise the carts would wander away to accumulate in various apt lobbies.

                      2. re: TuteTibiImperes

                        1.6 ¢ per bag, or 0.01¢ per bag still means someone orders, keeps track of those orders being properly filled and delivered to the correct store, stored within that store and then after being distributed and used, again re-ordering and the process over and over again, for each and every Sav A Lot.

                        In addition to keeping track of all orders and track of use from store to store so as to see 'average use' while also accounting for pilfering (one item per bag) or waste (double bagging of those 'free' bags) is an entire additional algorhithm. Right now, they know how many bags are 'sold' daily and can then re-order when the supply is low.

                      3. Nothing is free.

                        Those fractions of a cent bags get added into the markup of your groceries at the stores that give them to you for "free." The same with the bagger and the person that wrangles the carts from the parking lot. While the groceries "arent that much cheaper" they are in fact cheaper, and for families on a tight budget or larger families who use alot of groceries, these types of places offer savings for a minimal amout of work on their part (bagging the groceries) or inconvenience (charged for bags/cart).

                        The best solution is to buy some canvas bags, this way you dont get charged for bags and you are helping the environment. Otherwise, spend more time, money, and gas and drive down the street to the "frilly" store.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: joe777cool

                          With the expansion of Aldi's no frills stores, in the USA; the European policy of "pay for bags" at supermarkets and the Hypermarkets like Carrefore and Ipercoop is being noticed by the American consumer. In my opinion it is no big deal, especially now with all the "Green" pressure to limit plastic bag use and instead, bring reusable bags with you to the stores.

                        2. 1. Here in Toronto, our discount no-frills type of grocery stores have been charging for bags ($0.05 each) for as long as I can remember. At these types of stores, they will usually have boxes by the exit that you can use for free. Then, recently (June 2009), our city implemented a by-law that required all retailers to charge a minimum of $0.05 per plastic bag in an effort to reduce plastic in landfills. Although there was grumbling from the general public about the by-law when it was first put in place, I've noticed a huge upsurge in the availability and usage of reusable bags ever since.

                          2. I was never really bothered by the introduction of the by-law - I think it's a step in the right direction. All it took was getting into the habit of bringing my own bags.

                          1. As others have stated, multiple other stores have this policy, and for those of us who live in Europe, it's fairly common to pay for a bag. Perhaps for that reason or for my own commitment to sustainable development or both, I find myself understanding of the initial surprise, but not of the ongoing outrage.

                            1. Ha! Where I live bags costs 5 cents apiece citywide (it has cut down DRAMATICALLY on littering and dumping in the local rivers, which is great).

                              Why don't you just buy a few reusable bags, or use whatever totes/bags you already have lying around? That's what people generally do in areas where you have to pay for paper/plastic. I think you're being a little too sensitive.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kathleen440

                                Yeah Toronto!!.
                                It is real pain, though when you have forgotten the bag (or bags) you have bought and have to fork over either th 5c for a plastic one or $1 for the cloth ones.

                              2. I live in Taiwan and you pay for your bags in all grocery stores and convenience stores. Some places bag, some you do it yourself. The main reason for paying is ecological, rather than financial, as the plastic bags are horrible for clogging up drainage pipes, which in a country that can get a metre of rain in 24 hours is a problem. In a similar vein, you pay for garbage bags by the bag, but recycling and compost doesn't cost anything extra.

                                I did use to shop at No Frills in Toronto which had a similar policy, but also had empty cardboard boxes available at no charge. For me, the cheaper food more than made up for having to bag it myself.

                                I actually prefer bagging it myself, so I can end up with bags that are well balanced for carrying. And here, when you pay you get a big, sturdy bag, unlike those flimsy things I see in North America where they put two items in each bag, double bagged, resulting in dozens of bags for a single grocery run. That drives me up the wall much more than bagging myself.

                                1. About a year ago, they passed a law in DC that prevents stores from giving you a bag without charging you $.10 for it (for environmental reasons). Very annoying. I don't drive, so now I have to take an extra grocery bag or two everywhere I go in case I pass a grocery store - because it really annoys me to pay $.10 for a bag. On those rare occasions when I'm able to go to a store in suburban MD or VA, I stock up, as I use those bags for trash.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                    I have a couple of reusable grocery bags made of very thin, sturdy rip-stop material that stuff into a pouch about 1/3 the size of my wallet. I can easily put a normal grocery haul in two of them. They stay in my purse all the time and are small enough to fit inconspicuously in a jacket pocket. Highly recommended.

                                  2. a store has to cover its costs. here's the thing - you're paying for the bags in the places they "don't charge" you for them too. they just put it in the prices for the food. likewise paying someone to bag it for you. you're paying for it. they can charge less for food BECAUSE they are not building those costs into their prices

                                    1. I have some fold up bags, about the size of a greeting card, that I keep in my purse, and I have two folded-into-a littel- thing backpacks with clips, so in case I'm shopping and didn bring my bags in, I'm prepared.

                                      Those gawd-awful plastic bags are more likely to end up in our waterways, and eventually the oceans, choking wildlife. There is a platform of plastic in the Pacific Ocean that is the size of Texas. I would like to see $1 for plastic bags; then you wouldn't even consider using them. Wegmans has brown paper bags for their produce......

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                        I've used something similar to this: http://www.bing.com/shopping/cw1125-c...
                                        for re-use of grocery bags and have not purchased trash bags for more than 15 years now. The one I got was from IKEA, way ahead of their time...and much less expensive.

                                        1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                          In Italy, one chain uses "Plastic bags" with a limited life. made of a compostable corn starch, they have dates on them to advise you of when they are no longer usable; Kind of like a Cinderella. bag!!!...........

                                        2. as above --

                                          Here in Europe, it's normal and ordinary -- and after a few weeks it becomes normal and second nature to bag your own groceries into your own cloth bags.

                                          They also do a good thing here -- they have heavy-duty bags (like the Ikea blue bags, just a different shape) -- they're usually a euro or less, but hold tons of stuff and if you get a hole in one or the handle breaks -- no biggie. Take it to the customer service window and they'll give you a new one. For life.

                                          1. If it means less bags in circulation, I'm all for it. I just cringe at the thought of what goes into landfill every day, and I really hate buying things with excessive packaging or elements that can't at least be recycled.

                                            And bagging my own purchases doesn't bother me - it's one of the things that keeps prices down. Though in another sense it's a bit sad because it's probably done someone out of a job.

                                            1. So stock up on reusable shopping bags and you'll never have to worry about what to put your groceries in again. DH has gotten so used to them that if there aren't any in the car and he stops for groceries, he'll pay a couple of bucks for more (then I give the oldest ones away to our 'feed the homeless' program.) They're much easier to carry than the stupid plastic bags, and much sturdier.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                +1. They hold more, are sturdier, and are more comfortable to hold on your shoulder. I have some that are so old, I've already washed (cold water, air dry) and had to stitch up the sides. And still going strong.

                                                Plus, you don't even have to pay for them. Go to fairs and local city govts have booths where they give them out.

                                              2. There are three main grocery stores where I live. One charges 0.09$ per bag. The second doesn't add a charge, but does give a credit of 0.02$ for every re-usable bag used. The third doesn't charge, but has the worst produce and I end up with waste whenever I go there.

                                                1. At the two major grocery chains in the Twin Cities customers have been bagging their own groceries for many years. Each clerk has two conveyer belts so while their last customer is baggi g the clerk is checking out the next customer. It's very different from the stores in Arizona where I have spent significant time the last two winters.

                                                  We do not have Sav a Lot stores, which are more or less patterned after Aldi, because the Sav a Lot parent company is SuperValu, which is headquartered here. They do not wish to take away any business from their traditional grocery stores.

                                                  It may have been due to the arrival of Aldi here, but we started using the cloth shopping bags a few years ago. We go to enough different stores so that we rarely end up with a huge cart full of groceries so the bring your own bag thing is not much of a problem.

                                                  As to the Aldi cart deposit...a few months ago I was in a hurry and just gave my cart to someone in the parking lot. Her reaction surprise and and pleasure at the gesture. She said she will give it to someone else when she was done with it. Now I always look for someone to give the cart to and suggest they pass it along. Alas, it seems that too often there is nobody around to give it to.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    When someone gave *me* a cart recently, I gave her the money I would have put into it. So it's a win-win.

                                                  2. It's been enlightening to hear about other chains and/or locations where paying for bags and/or carts is more commonplace. Perhaps I've taken it for granted that a retailer would simply provide the means to accumulate and carry the goods purchased out of a sense of customer service and good business sense, but I guess there are enough people not bothered by it that plenty of stores have found ways to make it work.

                                                    I've found myself shopping mostly at the Publix a couple miles down the road as they carry a wider variety of products and brands, and I do appreciate that they seem to care enough about my business that they don't charge me for bags. With the Publix BOGO deals and weekly sales ads I can generally beat the prices at Save-A-Lot anyway.

                                                    The one item that Save-A-Lot does seem to have an edge on is ground meat. For whatever reason Publix charges an arm and a leg for all meat products, and while Save-A-Lot is similarly high on actual steaks and chops, they are pretty reasonable at $1-$2/lb for ground beef/turkey/sausage, so when I need that I shop there and put up with the bag charge. I'm still a bit torn because I want to support the grocery store in my neighborhood, but I would much rather have a Publix/Sweetbay/Fresh Market/Whole Foods/etc than a cut-rate store.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                      Charging for bags has nothing -- zip, zilch, nada -- to do with customer service and good business sense. In an awful lot of places -- most of Europe and a growing number of US cities -- it's the law, enacted to cut down on the number of plastic bags littering the landscape. Carrying your own bags is really no big deal -- it becomes second nature after a few weeks - and it's kind of nice to have good sturdy tote bags around for other things. I'm forever chasing down my reusable grocery bags all through the house because they've gotten commandeered to hold/carry something else. (reusable shopping bags are also immeasurably better for the environment on several levels)

                                                      The shopping cart deposit is also good business sense -- shopping carts are extremely expensive and cause bajillions of dollars of damage when they're left to roam lose in parking lots -- and they tend to collect in empty parking spaces where paying customers could park. You get your money back, so it's not like you're paying to use the shopping cart -- but then the carts stay where they should, so it's almost always easy to find an available cart (the week before Christmas maybe not, but you get where I'm going) -- the stores don't lose thousands of dollars a week in shopping carts that have headed off to who-knows-where, municipalities don't get harnessed with the cost of fishing them out of ditches and rivers, and they don't have to pay someone (including insurance, pension, etc., etc., etc.) to go round them up. It's not an inconvenience whatsoever.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        It isn't the law here - businesses are free to give away plastic bags. The reusable tote bags may be more environmentally friendly, but it should be my choice if I want to use them. You are right that it isn't that inconvenient to carry some bags in my trunk when I'm going to the store, but IMO I shouldn't have to. The store should go out of its way to earn my business, not ask me to go out of my way to give it business.

                                                        As far carts, I don't know how much of a problem cart theft is. Most places have little aisles in the parking lot where the carts are supposed to be left, and I always make a point to put them there. Forcing a deposit to take a cart shows distrust by the store towards the customer. I don't want to shop somewhere that doesn't trust me.

                                                        1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                          Carts cost at least $150 each. Next time you are out shopping, look around nearby bus stops or apartments in walking distance and count the number of carts abandoned; it adds up quickly.

                                                          Incentive to keep the inventory of carts steady, as well as not having to pay an employee to round up carts several times a day and evening is part of savings passed on to the customer. It is not a sign of distrust.

                                                          You put the coin into the slot and when you push the cart back into another cart, the coin pops back out. I see people handing a quarter to someone walking back to stack their cart.

                                                          1. re: Cathy

                                                            if cart theft weren't a problem, there wouldn't be an entire industry (and even laws in some locations) dedicated to keeping carts on the property of the store to which they belong.

                                                            It's a HUGE problem, worldwide.

                                                            and as far as "it isn't the law here" -- that's great, but you can't thump stores in OTHER areas for obeying the law rather than cater to your desire to have a free bag (which you are paying for, anyway)

                                                          2. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                            I live in a small Missouri town, and carts parked behind apartment buildings and other places they don't belong is noticable. But the reason I like that Aldi makes people pay a deposit on carts is that twice my vehicle has been dented by other people's runaway shopping carts that were *not* put away in the little corrals. Tute, you're right that the store doesn't 'trust' you, but as usual, like in so many aspects of life, it's because the actions of a few ruin it for the rest of us.

                                                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                              There are several cities in California such as San Francisco, Malbu and Santa Monica that do not charge for plastic shopping bags, they have banned them altogether. It certainly is your choice whether to but plastic shoppings bags or not or to shop at a store that does or does not charge for bags. I have noticed the grocery clerks in Arizona use many more plastic bags than if I were bagging my own groceries. It is evident by tge number if bags blowing around everywhere you go. The mainstream grocery stores have not yet started to charge for bags but one of the main grocery chains has started to give .05¢ per reusable bag a customer brings in.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                whole foods gives bag credit whenever you bring in your own bags.
                                                                trader joes will enter you in a raffle to win $10 of groceries when you bring in your own bags.

                                                              2. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                then don't.
                                                                shop somewhere else.
                                                                the market will bear whatever the market will bear.
                                                                if a supermarket finds that their bottom line is better when they don't provide the service you want, they SHOULD stop providing the service.
                                                                after all, they are in the business of providing a good return to their stockholders. if they piss you off while improving on stockholder returns, so be it.

                                                          3. Portland, OR, just approved a ban to take effect Oct 15.

                                                            1. yes, it sounds to me like you are being a nut.
                                                              either take the lower prices or take the higher service, but not both.
                                                              you, at least, have a choice.
                                                              you made your choice.
                                                              no reason to complain.

                                                              1. Can't we all make an effort to refuse one or two bags each time we shop? Yesterday at K mart they packed my purchases into 6 bags, and while standing there I repacked it into 4 bags and gave 2 back. My toilet paper which is already in a big plastic wrapper does not need a bag. At the produce departments I see people putting such things as 1 grapefruit, 2 bananas and 1 or 2 sweet potatoes into bags. They have skins which aren't eaten on them so they don't need bags.

                                                                If millions worldwide just made an effort to lessen their bag use we would all be contributing to less bag production and waste/disposal. It would be a start.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: smartie


                                                                  and can someone please tell me why a half-gallon, or even worse, a gallon of milk needs to go in a plastic bag? It's just going to rip anyway.....

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Because the bottle/jugs/cartons sweat in warm/hot weather and can ruin the leather upholstery or carpet in your car. The cartons often leak. Nothing worse than the smell of spoiled milk that has leaked in the trunk and baked at 100+ degrees F for a few days.

                                                                    In cool weather, I just take the gallon milk jug by the handle and put it in the car, this time of year not a chance.

                                                                  2. re: smartie

                                                                    I don't reuse grocery plastic bags while shopping. I do reuse them as wastebasket liners. I no longerf buy a 30 count box of small 4 gallon garbage bags every other week. This saves 780 bags per year.

                                                                    I do consolidate my groceries so as not to use excess bags. I also bag all loose items in the produce department, this is because the conveyor belt at the checkout lane often have spills on them and I'm not interested in having to handle sticky produce when I get home.

                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                      so what do you do when your packages of pasta or coffee get sticky on the same conveyor belt?

                                                                  3. I honestly thought that everyone used canvas or other reusable bags by now - almost everyone in Maine does. I have no objection to bagging my own groceries if the price is right. If it would bring the costs down at WF, I'd actually consider shopping there.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                                      <If it would bring the costs down at WF, I'd actually consider shopping there.>

                                                                      Whole Foods in Manhattan knocks a dime off your bill for each bag you bring & use. Is this not the case in Maine?

                                                                      1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                                        I like the fact that I don't have to worry about which of my groceries end up in the street between the car and the house -- never an issue with reusable bags.

                                                                        The fact that they're better for the environment is icing on my cake.

                                                                      2. Perhaps reading this will make you feel less upset about bringing your own bags to the supermarket.

                                                                        "American shoppers use an estimated 102 billion plastic shopping bags each year — more than 500 per consumer. Named by Guinness World Records as "the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world," the ultrathin bags have become a leading source of pollution worldwide. "
                                                                        read more... http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/...

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Rmis32

                                                                          In Italy, at least one supermarket chain has started using plastic, made from a corn derivative, that has a "do not use after date" on each bag. After that date it starts to decompose in a bio-degradable mannner.

                                                                          1. re: Rmis32

                                                                            That 500 bags per person per year is one of those stats that I don't believe at face value. It's like when someone says that lawn mowers annually spew 60 million tons of particulates into the atmosphere in the U.S. without any actual data.

                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                              I'm sure they can figure the total number of bags used annually, and the rest is simple division. thats how averages work

                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                That's my point. The story did not say how many bags are used annually, it provided an estimate with no supporting data when it should not be difficult to do. The real number is high enough, much too high, and yet too often in similar stories/situations they over estimate and exaggerate the numbers to make their point and I find it annoying. The reason I find the number hard to believe is that my household of five, even if we never used reusable bags, would not use/bring home 50 bags per week.

                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                  Household of 2.....that about 20 bags per week. Between groceries, takeout food, walmart/household item shopping trips, and the misc bags here and there 20 may be on the low end, That having been said in the last few years we have been more conscious about our consumption so this number is harder and harder to achieve.

                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                Whatever the actual figure is, you can bet that it's still too many and that it's not good for the environment.

                                                                                1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                  Of course it is. I never said anything to the contrary. I happen to believe that some areas of the country must be using more bags than other areas. I see bags blowing around everywhere in Arizona and far fewer in Minnesota.

                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                    Where are these plants that manufacture 102 Billion bags?Have they been downsizing since so many communities are outlawing bags? How many did they used to manufacture?

                                                                                    1. re: Cathy

                                                                                      I would guess that many, if not most, of the bags are made in China. It seems that a lot of other plastic manufacturing is done there..

                                                                            2. It's spreading.
                                                                              "Shoppers run into L.A. County's plastic bag ban
                                                                              Since July 1, large supermarkets and pharmacies in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County have been required to charge 10 cents each for paper bags and have been banned from using plastic grocery bags."

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                We get charged 10 cents per bag but it is ok with me. I bring my own bags but I do use their tear off bags for my veggies and meat that could leak into my "good" shopping bag. I now need to wash them tho' and it is beginning to make me nervous that they won't come out well.

                                                                                1. re: BeverlyJane

                                                                                  Machine wash, cold water. Air dry. They'll come out good as new.

                                                                                  1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                    I will definitely give that a try. I have 10 that I NEED each week. They are good, big and sturdy. I don't want to have to purchase new ones. We recycle EVERYTHING. So no matter how many small plastic bags I use to pkg my meats, etc., they get used again. We have two bins in the kitchen with lids. One for recycles and one for real trash. Our town recycles EVERYTHING.

                                                                              2. And they don't bag it. I don't mind the cost, but I always bring my own bag and I open it up (It has a flat bottom and they stay open) and they still won't put it in my big bag. I don't shop there anymore. As you can see above. It is a small thing, but I think pretty silly of them since they are open and I am holding it open, they drop...and I mean drop the items in the cart.

                                                                                1. The two issues are separate. Self bagging is often seen at "discount" grocery stores, where the food costs reflect the amount of customer service given (no baggers, less salary costs, cheaper gorceries. that's the theory).
                                                                                  Charging for plastic bags however is to discourage people from using plastic bags so that they don't wind up in the landfill and with reduced demand, less production of plastic bags is better for the environment. Its an environmental initiate, not a gouging issue. In China, charging for plastic bags has reduced the number of bags used by half. Same in India. Same in Europe. North America is trying to follow suit.
                                                                                  I personally use reusable bags and rarely bag loose veggies. i know I have an impact on the environment, but every little conscious effort helps, IMHO.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: freia

                                                                                    I realize the issues involved Freia. However, I do what my husband requests and it is my dime that I spend when he requests that I bag each fruite or vegetable separately. Then they go into my Big Bags that I bring with me. I still want to keep my BIG reusable bags clean on the inside and when meat ends up crushing my bread and the juice is running all over, I really don't appreciate it. JMHO

                                                                                    1. re: BeverlyJane

                                                                                      Yes,, that's pretty common, especially with respect to meats. I do use the thin plastic produce bags to put my meat products in when I use my reusable bags and there is no charge for those. They are awfully thin, and let you scan right through them, too. . I wish they were made of recycled plastic, though. And I use a designated "meat product" reusable bag for those, as it is nasty when meat juices run over the fresh food. I think the OP was referring to the cost of the thicker plastic bags at the checkout, rather than the thin produce bags at the produce section, and I'm sure you're using those thinner produce bags for, say, 2 cucumbers, rather than a thick plastic bag from the checkout?
                                                                                      In any event, it is better on the environment to see people use the large reusable bags to carry groceries to the car than the dozens of plastic bags we used to see. Interesting that Costco doesn't use plastic bags. But then again, they sell massive amounts of fruits and veggies already packaged.

                                                                                      1. re: freia

                                                                                        The only veggie I buy pre-packaged is potatoes. Even then, I sometimes choose one at a time as for some reason we get a lot that have mildew on them.! That I don't need in my home. The larger plastic bags at the grocery, rarely need to be used for any of my foods. But, if they were used, they do get recycled. As do all cans, bottles, paper, etc. We are a very recycle conscious town. It is mandatory recycling here.

                                                                                        1. re: BeverlyJane

                                                                                          We have also had mandatory recycling in the Twin Cities for many years (15?) now. It's amazing how little trash we generate. We could easily have our trash picked up every three weeks instead of every week, at least during the cold months. I don't want three week old trash in my garage in the summertime.

                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                            We are the same John. We could go once a month but not in summer when it is over 100 degrees. And I don't want critters so every week is by far the best way. But We don't use much in the way of processed foods either, so very litte waste. No soda, etc.

                                                                                            1. re: BeverlyJane

                                                                                              Well, the soda cans or plastic bottles go in the recycling bin anyway.

                                                                                  2. Coming to a store near you, soon enough. The trend is spreading.

                                                                                    "New bag tax takes effect in Montgomery County"
                                                                                    "Across Montgomery, the debut of the bag tax surprised many shoppers, drew praise from some who said they hope it will clean up the environment and angered others who said any new tax is too much in a tight economy."

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                      I know, it is hard for any of us on a fixed income to have all the increases (medical is over the moon more expensive --- not to thread drift). But I do think we need to do away with a lot that isn't recycled yet. And talk about pre-packaged stuff. It is crazy to see the designs and waste in the packaging.