Friday, April 20, 2007

Little things...

Whilst on the way to see Lost Prophets (again) in Manchester last night, I got a sandwich/drink for myself and Kai Lai.

Whilst waiting on the platform the bags completely ripped open and fell apart, leaving me to pick the stuff up and hold it all in my arms.

Then an old (ish) lady came out and handed me a carrier bag she had to put it in. That really made my day, and reminds me just how nice people can be.

Another thing. I back the efforts of supermarkets and shops to save waste by making thinner bags and using paper ones; but EVERY bag I now get from Sainsburys splits open, so I have to use more bags than before to get my shopping in. (Jaffa cake boxes rip them open in seconds, literally seconds)

The bag that split yesterday was paper, meaning i then needed a plastic one to carry it.

Companies have to be aware that skimping on bag thickness and strength may save waste, but if we need 3 bags instead of 1...then it actually makes things worse.


Anonymous said...

I like this post - I like this post alot. Not because of the plastic bag issue [though that's fair too] but because you acknolwedged the power and beauty of random-acts-of-kindness.

For some reason it always seems to involve elderly people - either they offer it or are the reason we do it ... and yet, when it happens you go away feeling truly happy with life for a second - as if your faith in humanity has had a 'top up'.

I know I am sounding all hippyish, but it's something worth celebrating given we seem to be heading more and more down a road of 'selfish individuality'.

I could link this to brands and how they could behave, but I don't want to ruin the moment, ha.

lauren said...

i'm going to ruin the humanity moment by suggesting that perhaps it's not the supermarket bags that might need to change, but the whole idea of packaging itself. if jaffa cakes didn't come in big boxes, then they wouldn't rip open sainsbury's bags. i know there are flaws in that argument, but i still think the solution comes from further back than the supermarkets.

Anonymous said...

Well said Lauren.

And well said My Cynic. Niceness is amazing when you don't expect it.

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is Lauren - out in parts of Asia and India [the very rural parts], the big companies already use totally different packaging.

The core driver of this is that many of the items they create just aren't used in mass by the public, so they offer it in volume sizes that stand a greater chance of being purchased and used - ie: a bag of shampoo that is only good for '1 wash only'.

With this in mind, I would put it back to you that it isn't the companies who are all at fault with this issue, but the Western shopping mentality of 'buy in mass, buy in bulk'.

Just a thought ...

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I am new to actually responding to Blogs (although I have been reading & enjoying your blog for a while), & thought I had to have an account and log in to comment here. Sorry bout that.

As I said on the other rob's blog, in response to this post:

"BTW - I really liked your blog about ‘Little Things’. Was going to post there, but would have had to have logged in & it seemed too complicated. I had a similar encounter when I was in Dublin the other week. So as not to scare an old lady we were walking behind, I said to my hubby “It’s cold” (just so she knew I wasn’t about to mug her). She turned and offered me her warm scarf. I was shocked at her generosity. A sad world when we are shocked at kindness.

As far as bags - you should come to the Middle East - here you will have thick plastic bags coming out of your ears. Unfortunately they will end up in landfill. Perhaps try taking your own cloth bags - much sturdier".

I was actually surprised by your reply saying:

"Thanks, thats a nice story. I agree though, its sad when those things surprise us. The fact that you felt that an old lady would instinctively feel she is going to be mugged says a lot as well about how we think.

Cloth bags are the way. As is charging for plastic bags. No better way to make people bring their old bags than to charge for new ones".

What surprised me was that I was too busy blabbering about it being a sad world when we are surprised by kindness to realise that I assume old people will think I am going to mug them. I should prob say it isn't a 'sad world' but a sad way I think and feel about the world around me.

A while back in Aus, when the bring-your-own-green-cloth-bag movement was up and running (and I have every reason to believe it is still running), it was interesting to see the way they became a fashion trend. Apparently they were seen popping up at airports all over the world (I’m sure they went further than the airports, but the article I read just mentioned the airports). The colour of the green then started to make a strong hit on clothing as well. I believe that movements like this start to guilt people in a way into joining in – sure that isn’t the only reason people join in (many do it for the enviro impact, others cause it is convenient, others to escape paying for plastic, or loosing their goods when the bag splits etc), but guilt does become a motivator when we see green movements like this on mass.

Age said...

The green bag thing is still very popular in Oz. Though the funny thing is, most people I know forget they have them in their car boot. So they do the shopping, realise too late, buy another one (for $1) empty the shopping, throw the bag inot the boot, and repeat.

My mum has collected so many of these bloody green bags now it almost defeats the purpose!

Anonymous said...

Hi Age, you are right - I've done the same thing myself. I wonder what the impact of this will be in the not too distant future when they all start showing up at the tip. I wonder if they are biodegradable? I went home last night - brought groceries on the way, they were stocked into the standard very thick plastic bags & I realised that I moved to Dubai without even bring one green bag. Where did my hoard of green bags end up in the move?? If I was in Aus - I prob would have brought another green bag just to get my groceries home. At least their marketing is working even they may end up having a negative impact on the enviro. Plus Woolies get me to walk around with their logo plastered all over my bag.

Maybe soon we will start seeing a brand making polar fleece jackets out of green bags instead of plastic ones.