In the bag (Dec. 18)

What’s this you say, Giant Eagle will soon get rid of the single-use plastic bags? First, who knew they were called “single use” bags. It seems to me like these bags stick around forever. People keep them under their kitchen sink, in the closet and all over the place. I keep an empty bag on my door and stuff other bags in it until it is full and then I take them to the recycle bin at the store. Every time I go shopping I forget to take in one of the many bags that I have purchased so I don’t accumulate these slippery, flimsy bags.

Last week I went to the grocery store on Monday, the day the big announcement was made. As I was walking through the store I noticed a large group of people listening to a young lady speaking about the environment and how limiting the use of plastic bags would be a good thing. On this day I did remember to grab one of my multiple-use bags out of the back seat of the car, so I was prepared. I only had about six items and decided to get in the line without a cashier. Self-service? What was I thinking?

Please pay attention people, this will be helpful to you in the future. I want you to learn from my frustration. I started by swiping my Advantage Card; that sounds easy enough but a new question has been added. Do you have your own bag? “Yes, as a matter of fact I do.” So I pressed the button and answered yes and then tried to place the large bag in the area where the single-use bags were and began to swipe my items. “Error.” Now I needed human intervention from a staff member. She reset the screen and I tried again. “Error.” This time it seems my bag was too big and the system thought it was an item that I was trying to purchase. The human comes back again and resets the screen. Now I’m trying to keep my bag in the right spot, swipe my groceries and get out of the store.

In case you didn’t know, grocery shopping or any kind of shopping, is always a treat for me. Now the use of my own bag just to gain one advantage point is becoming a problem. I’m sure I would have had a better experience if I had stood in one of the long lines for a live cashier. I hope this will prepare you for Giant Eagle’s greater plan, which is to eliminate single-use plastic at Giant Eagle by 2025.

What happens if you forget your bag? A: You can buy them for 99 cents. Or, you can get paper bags for 10 cents each. If a customer is on government food purchase assistance, like food stamps or SNAP, they are exempt from the fee. Stores will put reminders in store windows and other areas to remind customers to bring reusable bags into the store. I’ll be happy to move away from those plastic bags.

by Debbie Norrell, Lifestyles Editor

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