I recently faced an onslaught of illogical idiocy surrounding the Austin plastic bag ban and thought everyone should know about it. I purchased a little more than I could carry in my hands on my latest trip to HEB and the checkout guy asked if I needed bags. I asked if they had paper bags since plastic bags are illegal in the Nanny State of Austin. He said sure then tacked on a whole dollar to my bill. So something that was free to consumers before the bag ban now costs a dollar. Thanks City Council! (By the way, some retailers like CVS provide paper bags at no cost because they’re not trying to scam the consumer based on a corrupt law.)
I told him that I’ll just carry the items to my car in the little red basket then bring it back and the guy said that that wasn’t allowed. Why? It’s against policy. So, you can bring a shopping cart to your car, but you can’t bring a little red basket to your car, probably because people have been stealing the little red baskets because the moronic nannies in the City Council banned plastic bags.
My lovely fiancee once brought her reusable bags to the store and the checkout people complimented her on the cleanliness of the bags. Evidently most people reuse their bags that have accumulated bacteria-ridden meat juices and decaying vegetable particles so that not only is the reusable bag process unhealthy by spreading contaminated bacteria and viruses, it also makes the formerly clean process of bagging an offensive endeavor on par with septic-tank cleaning.
And that’s if the baggers bag anymore. Before the bag ban I would bike to the store and have the baggers load my backpack with my groceries. They had no problem with that. Now, after the bag ban, the baggers won’t even touch my backpack. It’s almost as if they are too good to do what they were fine to do before the Austin City Council Nazis banned plastic bags.
There are more unintended consequences of course. The bag ban no doubt means people are buying less during each trip to the store, so they must make more trips to the store for the same amount of goods. That clogs streets more, producing more exhaust and makes checkout lines longer. There goes the environmentalist argument for the bag ban. And many people I know who used the plastic grocery bags for trash bags or doggie doo bags will have to buy those now, adding a personal tax of a couple hundred dollars a year.
Oh, but making people buy reusable bags is good for the economy, some proponents may whine. But that’s just another version of the broken window fallacy. If it weren’t for reusable bag expenses, those consumers would be spending their money on other, more beneficial things.
*Note: Some people have claimed that HEB and Randall’s both provide paper bags with handles to those who need them. I’m not sure what the official policy is, but that is not what I experienced at HEB. Either the checkout person was uninformed by the policy when he charged me a dollar for one paper bag or that is not the policy.