I am very proud of myself! I refused to throw away a certain item when I was feeling forced to. An item that could be repaired easily. To someone else’s eye, it was doomed.
This item was one of our very first Compliments, Reusable Bag For Life. This bag must be 10 years old. It’s the only old one we have and its colour scheme is different from the rest of our other ones. I mainly use it to carry all my other reusable bags. Its our bag for bags.
So a couple of weekends ago, I was out shopping for groceries. I loaded our items onto the belt. As I started to load the first few bags into my cart, the cashier working took a brand new reusable bag from her stash, scanned the paper and then told me she was replacing one of my bags (free) as it had a rip.
I thought, oh. I had no idea. She showed more the bag, and sure enough, it was the bag for bags. A seam had let go at the top about 3 inches, maybe less. I said, “oh, I can fix that!” She said, no, they replace the worn bags for free.
She continued my order and again I tried asking for it back, that it was a quick fix. She denied me. Told me its not a problem. Standing there, in this situation, my heart was pounding. I knew it was wrong. That bag could be fixed. Am I really going to let it go? I am not a person who stands up for myself. I usually just let go of annoying/irritating/bothering situations. Don’t sweat the small stuff, right! I thought about the words Refuse. Repair.
She emptied my bag of its contents, cloth produce bags, other reusable bags and a Nickle. She put the bag behind her on an empty till. Placed my belongings in the new bag and handed it to me. Inside I was shaking. Shocked. She did not understand me.
As I loaded the last bag in the cart, my bank card in hand, and the cashier waiting for me to pay, my heart still pounding, I stopped, stood back from the payment terminal and stated “I want to undo the transaction for the new bag and I want my old one back. I can fix it. I am cutting out waste at home.” I slightly mentioned about avoiding plastics and such.
The cashier (whom I see regularly, and is very nice, loves seeing the kids) took on an expression of confusion. She reached behind her, picked up the broken bag and gave it to me. As I was starting to empty the new one, she said to keep it, “You are a good customer”.
I continued with the payment, and as we were finishing, she asked me, “Is it hard? To avoid plastic?” I said “yes, a little. Small steps and saying no, like I just did.” My mind was so boggled, I did not know what else to say in that moment. She nodded and we said good night.
I’m not upset with this cashier, she as only doing her job. But it goes to show how much things can just get tossed away over simple things. They should first ask for permission before removing and replacing the bag. Even mention that they can be repaired by the customer or someone the customer knows rather than assume no one can add some stitches.
I have to say though, a year ago or two, I probably would have let that bag go. So different mindset now! I am glad I have grown to reduce our waste, mend our things and stand up for myself. Even to be able to talk with others and give my own opions. That is new for me too. I like it!!
So a couple days later, I took out the sewing machine, I like the sewing machine, and mended the seam within a minute. It really did not take long!! If I did it by hand, probably a few minutes or less.
My bag is set for more trips. Side pockets for cloth produce bags. 2 thermal bags for meat packages. No contamination, no little thin white bags needed, and if there happens to be a leak, these bags clean very easily! All my other reusable bags fit neatly packed.
After explaining the situation to my husband, he wondered what happens to these reusable bags. Are they trashed or recycled? So I went ahead and sent a message to Sobey’s via facebook.
I asked what happens to their ripped reusable bags. I know the policy is to replace the Sobey’s brand bags. The reply was, you may return the ripped “Bag For Life” to your Sobey’s store to be replaced.
I then said I knew that, but happens to the bags? Are they disposed or recycled. The response was, “They’re recycled Rachel”.
I was not feeling there was enough detail. So I asked again, if they were made into new bags or something else. I did not get a response for a few hours, so I sent another message telling about my experience with my bag. Our question to wanting to know what happens to these worn out bags. I also said I know not all recyclable items are recycled, and was wondering if you knew where they go and what the result of the recycling was.
The response was simply, “all ‘Bags For Life’ are recycled.”
Oh dear! Not impressed! No answers. No conversation. No nothing!