Tuesday, June 17, 2008

plastic bag militia - updated!

Here he goes again, are ya ready? Two different points in this post. Read on, or run. Ha ha!

Ok, so this weekend we had a giant Hospice Flea Market in the town where I work. I mean, GIANT. Like giant warehouse, two floors big! Full to the brim with flea market finds (I was in the record section for like, an hour. Crazy!) Uh, but giant warehouse, two floors = NO air conditioning. I seriously think I lost eight pounds (I spent about four hours in there total.) walking those floors, just sweating the fat off. Ok, well, I'm sure I didn't, but I wish I had! But it was HOT! Freakin' hot! Whew...

Anyway, here's the thing. I brought my reusable totes with me, for all my purchases. How it works is, each section has a check out post. Records, check out post. Books, check out post. Christmas, check out post. Knick knacks, uh, yeah, you get it. Ok. Well, this is how they "kept theft down" (and really, if you need to steal from a flea market, that sells most things for a few bucks, well, you're just sad and pathetic, ok? Sad and pathetic. But onward...) to keep theft down they devised this ahem, great plan of wrapping each purchase in a plastic bag and sticking a sticker on it that said it was paid for, in that area. Gah. So I bought some records. And a couple cookbooks (from 1947!), and a few knick knacks, and a beautiful wooden bowl, and they were all from different departments, and are you seeing the pattern here. It was Hell people, Hell. Because we people in America just DON'T get it yet, and I had to fight tooth and nail for no plastic bags. I mean, EVERY TIME (about nine times) I had to go through my speech:

"Hello, yes I don't want a plastic bag, can you just stick the sticker on the purchased item and put it in my reusable tote." to which I would ALWAYS get "well, we'll stick the purchase in a plastic bag and then put the sticker on that bag, then put it in your bag, because that's what we have to do." Sigh... to which I would return with "well my goal is to not take one single plastic bag this year and I'm doing great at it and I'm trying to do my part to help the environment and if you could just help me out here it'd be great. They can search my bags when I leave, it's no problem. I'm not trying to be a pain." and then we'd have to hash things out along the way with weird looks and hemming and hawing and just freakin' put down the plastic bag, woman, and STEP AWAY! Finally, about the last woman I purchased from, she was uh, not happy. Like life had dealt her great unhappiness (and I swore I heard her mumbling some bitter thing to her co-worker about my bag as I walked around in her room, how "first it's one dollar, than another, and then before you know" as in I was so going to steal the world from them.) And I went up to her, and started my speech, and she wasn't going to have it, and I literally said "I'm trying to help the environment, and I'm not taking any plastic bags and blah blah blah!" Blah blah blah being an actual phrase uttered from me. I was so exhausted from the heat and the plastic bag fighting at that point. Ha ha!

But you know what, I walked out of that freakin' place with no plastic bags! But it was such work! One of my friends said to me "I'm so glad you're you, because I'm definitely not a you." which is so sad, because I feel he's more mainstream society. I was thinking this morning, if we have to wait out another generation before change is really made (as generations are so FREAKIN' stubborn to change) well, we're just doomed.

And I'm thinking of going back today to pick up a couple items I missed. But seriously, the plastic bag fighting is really making me not even want to go back. It's just too much work. (But uh, I totally will, cause I'm addicted to old Christmas and jazz records!)

Point two:

Went to see The Happening this weekend; the new M. Night Shyamalan movie. (Spoilers on: So stop reading if you want to see this movie. Oh but uh, DON'T! Really, save your money and buy a pet rock. It'll be more entertaining.) Atrocious! Horrible. Seriously, he's lost his ability to make movies, completely. I was so horribly disappointed. It was just SO BAD. Bad acting, bad camera work, bad movie (I mean, this would be a made for tv movie if it wasn't made by M. Night Shyamalan. Seriously. And a bad made for tv movie at that.) But see, it's about how plants are releasing toxic poison into the air to kill (or kill/warn) humans that we are destroying the world/environment, and we need to stop now, or face the consequences. And he had some information to back it up. And it could have been a very current events kind of movie to make, and inform others. But everyone's going to be too busy laughing at the movie to take it seriously. I just sat in the theatre going, what the Hell is with this movie? It's so bad! Sigh... I was so pissed at Mr. Shyamalan, because I think he did a big disservice to making the whole environmental issues known. No one is going to take this seriously.

Or perhaps I was just taking it a little to seriously, myself. Either way, it blew chunks.

PS - I just did a spell check on this post, and never realized how many times I type "freakin" into a post. LOL!

UPDATE This just in! Ok, so I went back yesterday evening to the flea market (eleven more records! Awesome!) and as I was walking in, I noticed something on their sign I hadn't seen the previous visit: "No shopping or tote bags" Ok, that 1) erked me; and 2) I was actually really close to just giving in. "Oh, my... maybe I should just take a plastic bag this time, I mean, it's one plastic bag. I can repent somehow." But no, I kept saying I am NOT going to do it.

So I go in, grab up my records, and head over to the woman I went to previously. Poor, poor woman. I sit my records down, and say "Can you wrap these in newspaper, instead of a plastic bag. Do you remember me, the newspaper guy?" and she says "OH yes, I remember you." and I say "I was tempted to not even come back." to which she says "BUT you did." Ha ha! So she's really very sweet, she gets the paper, says "you know the drill." as I have to hold it down for her while she tapes the newspaper together around my records. And she says "I told my husband about you last night, and he laughed." I said "He laughed at me?" To which she replied "Yes, because you wouldn't take a plastic bag."

THEN, she looks over, and says to the guy two down from me in line "Hey, this is the guy that wouldn't take the plastic bag." and I say "Is that your husband?" It was. I joke with him saying "You were making fun of me for not taking a plastic bag? I'm just trying to save the environment here!" To which she says "But you're just one person." And I look her in the eyes and say "But if I can just reach ONE person here and make them change their ways..." and she finishes my sentence "...you will have done what you needed to do." And I yell out "THANK YOU! Yes!" Then I mention that there are about nine women working there that wish I'd never come back; and she says "Don't you let them get to you." Aw! How sweet.

So again, I made it out plastic bagless. I didn't break down. In fact, I started thinking "I'm gonna DO this! I'm gonna look into if there are any petitions, or laws in the works in North Carolina concerning banning plastic bags, and make myself heard!" I looked online today a bit, and the closest NC has at the moment is a law they are wanting to pass in which every retail store 10,000 sq. feet or larger must have a plastic bag recycling box out front. WHEW, don't move too fast there North Carolina, slow down! LOL. Geesh. We shall see!


Kristin Hoenicke said...

HI-larious! I love your plastic bag stories. Really, they're inspiring. I actually do strive to do the same thing, but I'm not into the habit yet and I just forget! When I get home and start emptying my bags is when I realize that I took one. Ugh. I'll be there someday.

colleen said...

nathan, this story totally made my day. you must be the most persevering guy i've ever [virtually] met.

Netta said...

I can relate to Kristin, I have some food shopping totes from my neighborhood supermarket and I always forget to take them when I go grocery shopping and then don't realize what I have done until I get home and put the plastic bags into my recycling container.Ugh!!
I carry my "plastic bag rehab" tote that I got from the NY pop up shop in my purse (it folds up) and I am proud to admit that my last couple of purchases have gone into my tote. I am making some progress. YAY!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ok...not to sound too naive. i understand why plastic bags are so bad for the environment...i get that. here's my question...is the hope that by not taking plastic bags, we will show the plastic bag makers that people don't use them and therefore there is no need to make them anymore? because obviously by not taking one you're not really saving one from being made (i mean the bag is still there). i know this is all obvious observation. and what about paper bags? are they ok? and if they are, then how come retailers aren't replacing plastic with paper. or are we now getting into the cutting down trees issue? well then they could make paper bags out of recycled paper. what if in 10 years they realize these tote bags are causing land-fill problems...what then? i'm just saying. really though, i am in support of reusable totes because i am so sick of ALL the flippin' plastic bags under my sink...even though i do reuse them (but that still means they eventually end up in the trash). but, like kristin, i forget to take the totes with me...booo!

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