Has Some Environmental Baggage

, , , , , , | Working | August 27, 2018

(I am grocery shopping at my usual place. I bring reusable bags. A couple of them are from the store I am at, and a couple are from a different chain. I am checking out with a cashier I have never seen before. I have put the reusable bags first on the conveyor belt, so she picks them up and says, “You have four bags.” I confirm it, but wonder internally why it matters. Then, as she scans the last of the groceries, the following occurs:)

Cashier: “And you had four reusable bags, so that’s 99 cents each.”

(She picks up the bag they use to scan the bag price into the computer and tries to scan it four times.)

Me: “Wait. Why are you doing this? These bags are old. I brought them with me; I am not buying them. And two of them are not even from [Store].”

Cashier: “We charge 99 cents for reusable bags.”

Me: “Yes, when a customer buys them, but I am not buying them. I already paid for them when I bought them a long time ago. And two of them are not yours.”

Cashier: “I can’t let you have them for free. Reusable bags cost 99 cents.”

Me: “Can I speak to your lead cashier, please?”

Cashier: *rolls her eyes, but calls the lead cashier* “Hey, [Lead Cashier], this lady doesn’t want to pay for the bags.”

Me: “No, I already paid for them when I bought them a while ago. They are mine. I brought them with me.”

Lead Cashier: “[Cashier], I already explained it to you that we do not charge for reusable bags every time the customer uses them. They buy them, and then get to use them as much as they want to. They are their bags now. And as far as I can see, these bags are from [Another Store], so we couldn’t charge for them, anyway. We don’t sell them.” *to me* “Sorry for the confusion. I will clear that for you.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(The lead cashier takes over and finishes the transaction, while the new cashier — at least I assume she is new — stands by and mumbles.)

Cashier: “That makes no sense. The law says we have to charge at least 10 cents per bag. It’s for the environment.”

(I ignored her, and so did the lead cashier at that point, but I never saw that cashier in the store again. I don’t know if she got fired or moved to somewhere where she doesn’t have to deal with customers.)

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