Bag ban diaries, week 12 - The Packer

Bag ban diaries, week 12

06/14/2013 10:44:00 AM
Pamela Riemenschneider

Pamela Riemenschneider, Aisle WanderingPamela Riemenschneider, Aisle WanderingAUSTIN, Texas — It’s been three months since the man took our bags.

While I’m adjusting well, thanks to my extensive collection of retail visit and trade show swag bags, it appears that my Austin shopping brethren — and retailers — aren’t.

Last time I visited my neighborhood H-E-B, there were at least nine stand-up signs, like the ones you see during election season, adorning each aisle of parking lot reminding — no, nagging — me to remember my reusable bags.

click image to zoomheb bag banPamela RiemenschneiderI'm so grateful to H-E-B for putting up not one, but NINE of these signs in their parking lot recently. Nag, nag, nag. And of course retailers want shoppers to remember reusable bags.

It appears that shoplifting’s kind of a problem since the ordinance went into effect March 1.

There have been several stories in local media discussing the difficulty in identifying items in the process of being stolen when a shopper decides not to use a bag.

Short of instituting the Costco/Sam’s Club system of verifying receipts at the door, there aren’t too many things a retailer can do to prevent this.

I’ve had H-E-B individually sticker every item I don’t put in a bag.

That gets kind of tedious when we’re talking about things like a loaf of bread or a box of raisin bran. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.

I don’t know if reusable bags are becoming so common that people are starting to think of the produce department now, but I’ve also seen several instances of reusable bags being used for produce purchases.

This is something I’ve only seen at the Central Market downtown.

Now I’m seeing it in the ’burbs quite often, so it could mean people are actually getting serious about reusables.

click image to zoomwegmans reusable produce bagPamela RiemenschneiderYes, I'm THAT guy who brings a Wegmans bag to H-E-B. My extensive travels and visits to retailers have earned me an impressive collection of reusable bags, which have been used quite frequently since Austin instituted a bag ban March 1. Apparently, we Austinites are the butt of surrounding cities’ jokes as well.

At a recent get-together, friends talked about shopping outside the ordinance’s boundaries and the laugh cashiers have at our expense.

One was in line behind a guy who told the cashier, “Oh, I’m from Austin. I can’t have those bags,” as if the bag ban police will confiscate contraband upon crossing those famous City Limits.

There are several efforts in the works to repeal the ordinance. We’ll see what sticks.

pamelar@thepacker.com

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