Here we are again, trapped in a grocery store
on a Saturday night
. The cast: Me. Lisa.
. Needless to say, I shouldn't be here -- at the exact
same time, my girlfriend is sitting at home on the computer or something. Here I am, darling,
earning money to take you to a movie.
Tonight, it's only getting later and we've resorted to playing tricks on the customers. Of
course, by 'we' I mean 'I', since Lisa is far too kind-hearted and simple to hate the
yuppies at this stage in her life. I don't even really hate the yuppies, unless they do one of
a number of things:
- Talk on cellphones, loudly. "I'm in the supermarket. IN THE
SUPERMARKET! No, I can't buy tomato paste. I'm in line! No, the bagger looks like a jerk."
Your meats will be placed with the powerful deodorant soaps that you use to wash the stench
of failure from your skin.
- Fear technology. "Are you sure that the computer added it up right? Let me get out my pen
and paper. In my day, cashiers had to do this every..." Mysterious charges will be added to
your order. You do not understand how much this pains me, because it means I'm just feeding
more money into the dank bowels of the Company.
- Hate the young. "Goddammit, kid. This is the ten items express lane, and that guy had
eleven items. God, I can't believe this shit... why didn't you yell at him?" -- "I'm only
seventeen. He was about eighty." -- "God. Friekin' kids..." You will be mis-changed if at all
possible. We will find a way to deal with you. We bag your groceries. Do not fuck
- Insist on paper bags. More on this:
(The following is a critique of paper bag-users. Skip it if you're familiar
with the material.)
There are a whole bunch of different types of customers, all with their own reasons for
demanding paper bags in their order. Namely:
The arthritic older person. This is allowed. If you can't lift a plastic bag, I have
sympathy for you and will do whatever you want.
The old-fashioned middle-aged person. This is marginally allowed. As long as it's not that
much stuff, it will be tolerated.
The half-assed environmentalist. "Plastic bags kill the environment! Don't use any!"
Meanwhile, every single item in their groceries is packed in its original plastic packaging,
which occupies a much greater volume than the plastic that we bag it in. Real
environmentalists bring their own cloth bags and keep all their goods wet and gross.
(The critique ends here.)
From our point of view, bagging in paper is a huge pain in the ass -- it takes twice as long
and is a lot harder to do. By 10 PM we're so tired of it that we exact our revenge. Enter
"Excuse me? Son? Could you put this in paper, please?"
I cough. "Certainly. But sir? We're conducting an informal survey: What is your reason for
using paper bags?"
"Instead of plastic, that is. What's your reasoning?"
"Oh. Well, it's better for the
environment to use paper."
"Really? Why is that?"
"It's a recyclable material. Plastic is, uh, a non-renewable resource, right?"
I've been preparing this for days. "Actually, statistics from the British
Trade Foundation recently revealed that paper bags are heavier by volume than plastic bags.
Therefore, they take more fuel to transport. Fossil fuels. Also a non-renewable
resource. If you're really trying to save the world, may I suggest you purchase some of our
"What?" He looks appalled, but by this point I am finished bagging his order.
"Have a nice night, sir." He walks out.
Lisa gives me one of those looks that say "You're scum, but you're fascinating." I give her
back the ol' "I'm fascinating, and I'm right." Enter Yuppie #2.
"Can I have paper, please?"
"Certainly." I repeat the line. "We're having a survey -- would you mind describing why you
choose paper bags?"
"Uh, sure. I'm trying to discourage supermarkets from destroying the
"And you think that using paper bags will help?" Aw, top form, top form. "You know, the
store buys the exact same quantity of plastic and paper bags, and has done so since 1993.
Have you been down to the basement? It's full of tons and tons of unused plastic bags. You
might as well let them fulfill their original purpose instead of leaving them in our basement
Exit Yuppie #2. Amy has been laughing quietly from behind the courtesy booth through the
whole experience. At least I get to go home early.
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