Four For Friday · Lifestyle · NaBloWriMo

Four For Friday #23

Four… Brilliant reactions to the 5p carrier bag charge

In England, shops had to start charging 5p per plastic carrier bag last month. This was already in place in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, yet there were still some disgruntled reactions to this, and I wanted to share some of my favourites with you all. But first here are a few facts about the charge, taken straight from the website.

  • Large businesses are required to charge for bags. Contrary to popular belief this includes retail stores. It’s not exclusive to supermarkets. Retailers with more than 250 employees count as ‘large,’ and that is per business, not per store.
  • There are some bags which don’t carry a charge. These include paper bags, or bags which only contain certain items, like raw meat and fish, unwrapped food, uncovered blades, and a few more.
  • Shops don’t keep the 5p for your bag. And it doesn’t go to the government either, the money is donated to charity. Shops are also required to report how their 5ps are donated, so the government can report on it.
So with that in mind, here are some of the brilliant things we’ve heard at work (a clothes shop) regarding this charge. My friend gave me the idea for this post, thank you Kirsty!
1) “I’m buying ALL these things, now, you’re not going to make me pay for a carrier bag, are you?”
Sorry, but yes, we do need to charge for each bag you need, regardless of how much you spend. Sorry. Not our decision. If you don’t want to pay (to donate to charity) then please just bring your own bags.
2) “Did you know that technically you can’t charge for a bag because it’s a thicker plastic, and it’s branded with your company logo, and you shouldn’t be charging anyway because you have less than 250 employees in this store and-“
Okay, for a start, you are very wrong on a number of fronts. Secondly, you realise we don’t have any control over the charge, right?! We just do what we’re told. No amount of ranting at us is going to change that – we aren’t going to turn around and say ‘you’re so right, let me scrap this charge right here and now!’
3) “No. I have my own bag.”
And then they throw down this ratty little plastic bag with holes in, all rolled up, onto the till point, and look at you as if to say, ‘yes, you’re still going to pack my things in there for me.’ We don’t mind packing things in your bags, but at least be a little polite about it please? Don’t stand there expectantly with your scruffy, rolled up bag. At least open it up?!
4) “Would you like a carrier bag? It’s 5p…” “I thought it might be, yes please!”
This one is always a nice change. I had a conversation with a customer who said that they found it an easy way to donate to charity, and how she wouldn’t even notice an extra 5p coming off her card. Which, like I say, is such a nice change, especially with the amount of people who pay for their things on their card and then give us 5p cash. Thanks for that?

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