States across the United States have begun implementing new laws that make shoppers pay extra for their bags.
For years, shoppers have adopted green initiatives to bring their own bags when they shop for groceries. Retailers have created cute canvas and plastic bags that fold and ball up into convenient sizes that fit in a purse or between the seats of a car. Shoppers have felt a sense of pride and responsibility in the gesture they have been doing to help their environment.
As of January 1st, 2012, San Jose, California grocers and some retailers no longer provide free plastic bags with purchases. Notices were posted at checkout counters months ago preparing shoppers for this change. It seems not everyone was adequately prepared.
On my shopping excursion today (Janurary 2nd), I visited a San Jose Safeway on San Carlos Street and Race Street. I chose to use the self-checkout option. There I witnessed a number of disgruntled shoppers arguing with employees about the unfair law to which employers could only respond “I’m sorry, but that’s the law now.”
When I reached the checkout stand I noticed that there were no bags and in order to get one you must request the number you need from an attendant. Before paying, the machine asks the shopper how many bags they used today and charges accordingly.
Initiative aside, I do not think enough marketing was done around this new law. A simple typed piece of paper at the checkout counter does not seem to have been enough to properly prepare and inform shoppers about the good they are doing for the environment.
I would have liked to see public service announcements in the form of commercials and billboards at least two m
onths prior to the law taking affect. Shoppers should be excited about this change and be proud to do what they can to he
lp our environment. They should have been made to realize that before they were already paying the bag fee and now they are simply given the option to.
Colorful posters should have been made and posted at cash registers and on the front doors of stores instead of the black and white typed notices we have grown used to seeing explaining why there is a shortage of tomatos or spinach.
Overall, this was a great opportunity for public marketing and education around environmental responsibility, but little action was taken and that has now led to unhappy citizens and shoppers.