Don't Take Bags from Anyone

Greetings from a former actual subscriber to The Rake.

not sure how I ended up at Ann Bauer’s blog tonight, but I enjoyed several
pages of it, and only quit reading as it’s long past time I was in bed!

like to challenge her on her attitude about cloth shopping bags,
though. Although I realize she was going for a humorous take on the
topic, I was disheartened by it.

I think I’m
a bit older than Ann—49 at my last birthday—and was in school
(Hamline) from ’76-’80, after which I lived in St. Paul for several
years, working at various restaurants as a baker, cook, and waitress. (I
finally escaped the business in the late ’80s; I make my living as a
classical singer.) I started shopping at co-ops in 1980, and those were
the days when you pretty much brought your own containers for
everything. I’m not sure they even offered shopping bags in the
earliest days of Mississippi Market, when it was on Selby, west of

Anyhow, as a child of the ’70s, the
idea of energy conservation always stuck with me, and re-using bags
(and avoiding excess packaging in general) always seemed like the
obvious "right" thing to do. I like to generate as little trash as I
can—not easy in America. Over the years, I’ve accumulated lots of
canvas bags, and always have one of two in the car. I still bring my
own containers for bulk stuff, like rice and beans, and spices. I have
a feeling of failure if I realize I’ve got to use a fresh, new plastic
bag to bring something home.

Now, though,
anyone can see that we’re drowning in those damned plastic bags! I mean
the extra flimsy ones that you get everywhere… and which are now
BANNED in increasing number of countries, and US cites here and there.
As the snow melted at last, right here in our fair metro, didn’t you
see bags floating about along the freeway? Didn’t you see them in the
trees? But beyond the Great Plains, haven’t you seen the horrifying
photos of the gigantic floating plastic HELLS on the oceans? who knows
where all those bags have come from… But they shall no longer come from ME.

January, I’ve had a hobby (added to my previous hobby: avoiding corn
syrup): I don’t take bags from any retailer. Not Cub, not Macy’s, not
TJ Maxx. Not only that, I produce my fabulous nylon Acme sacs with a
flourish, flicking them open to the astonishment of all, and make a
little speech about my hobby—mentioning that I haven’t used a plastic
or paper bag in 4 months!

It’s actually been fun—largely because of these particular bags, which are extremely convenient and light.

If Ann will tell me where I could do so, I’ll happily send her one in an
effort to change her mind about taking a bag with her wherever she
goes. I keep mine on my keyring (or in my purse).

I’ll tell you about my other hobby: never accepting another disposable
cup or styrofoam to-go container! But that’s for a separate email.

Best regards, Maria Jette

p.s. Ann mentioned somewhere that she has children—that should make her
all the more interested in cutting down on trash in the environment. I don’t have any… but can’t bear the thought of sticking future generations with my plastic bags!

Maria Jette, MN






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