Paper or plastic? This once was the question at your local grocery store. Then it became: Is plastic okay? Now? Now, they dont even ask! For many years I have suffered in silence as I get distracted by the bright orange tic tacs on the shelf as my groceries slide by on the conveyor belt only to look a split second later with a half stifled cry as the bagger has zipped out the plastic bags, bagging at record pace.
I distinctly remember the day when the bagger would grin sweetly, ask you for paper or plastic, and sometimes even walk your groceries to the car and help you unload! Now? You can’t even get paper bagging! What is going on? Using careful sleuthing methods (i.e. my little brother a former bagger who prefers to remain anonymous) my suspicions were confirmed: The bagging by plastic sans permission was not just a coincidence. In truth my confidential source revealed this was an all out conspiracy of baggers nationwide. Instead of the old, “Paper or plastic” they were instructed by those higher up the chain to ask: Plastic okay? Thereby taking the unwary customer, distracted by (strategically placed) orange tic tacs to absentmindedly agree, or the particularly timid shopper who might infact truly desire paper but wishing to appear agreeable into saying “yes”. Manipulation via subtelty at its finest.
Well ladies and gentlemen I your vanguard out to make a change for the citizens of the world can tell you that today, as the food began sliding over the scanner and into the baggers field I did not stay silent. I watched as she began reaching, pretending to be all casual, for the plastic bag, and just as her fingers touched the flimsy plastic I nonchalantly asked, “paper please” She looked at me for a full three seconds. “Excuse me?” Remaining strong, determined not to back down I stood my ground “Yes Paper. I’d like to have my groceries in paper” Our gaze met but I refused to look away, smiling I faced her in the showdown, a smile frozen upon my face. A bit dazed, she took out the paper and began bagging. As I walked out the store with three paper bags and not 20 plastic ones I felt a rush of emotion. I felt victorious. I felt triumphant. My bagging experiences would surely never be the same again.