Economics Lesson

As the “climate change” foolishness grows apace, we find bullshit like this increasing at a similar rate:

Shoppers have been left furious as Sainsbury’s has doubled the cost of its plastic bags to 20p in a move dubbed ‘day light robbery’ and ‘profiting from forgetfulness’.
The supermarket’s bosses have said it is part of a strategy to reduce the stores plastic footprint by ‘encouraging customers to develop a re-use mindset’.
There is an incentive to cut plastic use by more than 50 per cent in five years, with the profits going to good causes, Sainsbury’s claimed.

Of course they will.  Actually, what this is really all about is Sainsbury’s doing a little “virtue signaling” (as I believe it’s called nowadays).

It’s been a while since I looked at the numbers, but I believe that plastic supermaket bags carry a F.O.B. price of something less than a penny per bag, so that’s quite a profit margin to pass on to the so-called “good causes”.

I think I use canvas bags about 50% of the time, mostly because I either forget to pack them in the car before going shopping, or I do some impulse (i.e. unplanned) shopping on the way home.  When I remember, I keep the canvas bags in the car, but it’s not a big deal in my life, because I reuse all supermarket plastic bags at least once, as bathroom trash bags or similar.

Here’s a word of warning about canvas (or any reusable) bags:  you have to wash them frequently (errr involving electricity, hot water and detergents, oh dear) as over time they will become portable petri dishes of bacteria, especially if you carry raw meat or fish home in them.

When I travel in Britishland and Euroland, I carry a little polyester bag (folded, it’s about the same size as a handkerchief) in my coat pocket just so that I don’t get caught without one and have to pay for the bags — and in some Euro stores, they don’t offer any bags at all.

If this pisses you off (and it does me), then your revenge should be to pack your groceries away yourself before paying.  It slows down the transaction, and cashiers are measured on a simple “time/#items scanned” efficiency metric.  Take your time, for added pleasure.


  1. I suspect that a major re-use of the plastic bags from the supermarket is to pick up dog poop. Our little mutt produces prodigious amounts of crap and 3 or 4 times a day, every freakin day, we reuse those bags for said purpose. Sooo as John Ross titled his book, there will be Unintended Consequences.

  2. If they’re this incensed at the thought of passing on the costs of plastic bags, imagine how incandescent they’ll get when they find out what happens when they jack up corporate taxes.

    1. LOL Dave — the ignorant idiots would probably be pleased, because the eeeevil corporations are “paying their fair share”.

  3. Idiots indeed. I cannot count the number of times I have remarked “Corporations don’t pay taxes. We do.” only to get a deer-in-the-headlights response.

    We bought our Town & Country van new, in California, in 2003. The rear most seats came with wonderful rounded hooks on the seat backs that are specifically for the handle loops on plastic shopping bags. Grocery shopping here in DFW, I smile every time I load up those bags. We also have an insulated canvas Trader Joe’s bag. It’s handy to put cold/frozen stuff in if we’re not headed straight home from the grocery store. We have a cat too, whose box requires regular attention. Plastic bags? Oh my.

    I will admit it. I am a plastic container hoarder. Plastic coffee cans, old pool chemical buckets, deli counter containers, you name it. I have just about an equal number re-purposed to hold odd lots of rifle and pistol brass in various and sundry calibers.

  4. A couple of years ago, when the city of Dallas added a tax on “single-use” bags, local 7-11s started putting up signs pointing out this was the City Council’s idea, not the store’s, and that anyone who had comments about that should contact the City at whatever the phone # was. Hilarious.

    Modern plastic bags are actually made of some kind of starch that breaks down over time. Don’t believe me? Stick one in your glove box in the spring and check on it at the end of summer. Oh, but bring a Dust Buster out with you, or you’ll be mad at me. The little flecks that are all that will be left cling to *everything*.

  5. Worked a contract up in Portland OR back in 2012-2013. All the convenience stores in downtown Portland were already into the “paper bag only” nonsense.

    Care to guess how long a paper bag holds out when a couple of cold drinks are put into it in the humidity level typical of downtown Portland? Yeah, you were lucky to make it out the door before the condensation-soaked paper bag fell apart…..

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