Not So Handy In This Situation

, , , , , | Right | February 8, 2018

(In an effort to make people consider reusing bags, the United Kingdom requires all retailers, by law, to charge customers at least five pence per plastic bag used to carry home one’s shopping. Two customers approach my coworker at the cash register.)

Customer #1: “Just this, please.” *drops very large, very heavy book on counter*

Coworker: “All right, your total today is [price]. Would you like a large plastic carrier bag for five pence?”

Customer #1: “Yes, of course—”

Customer #2: *interrupting* “No, you will not! You shouldn’t stand for this! You are a paying customer, and being charged for a bag is ridiculous!”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but, as you may know, the charge is mandated by the government. Giving away free bags is not just against store policy; it is illegal.”

Customer #2: “The law is stupid! There is no reason to pay for a bag!” *turns to friend* “Don’t buy one! That’s what they want.”

Customer #1: “Yes, you’re right.” *to coworker* “I don’t want one. I won’t pay for it.”

Coworker: “That’s fine. Without a bag, your total for the book is still [price].”

Customer #1: *suddenly hostile* “And how am I supposed to carry it?! With my hands?!”

Coworker: *dumbfounded* “Well, you said you didn’t want a bag…”

Customer #1: “Now I don’t want this, either! How dare you, making me hold it?! I won’t carry it!” *grabs smug-looking friend and storms away, leaving book on counter*

Coworker: *speechless*

Me: “I want to know where she intended to put the bag if she wasn’t going to use her hands.”

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