Friday, 16 November 2007

Are you sure?

Seems like I'm getting asked this question a lot lately.

It usually goes like this:

I'll be in a store, buying something small and trivial (like a carton of juice, or a Cranks sandwich) and the ever-helpful checkout operator will automatically reach for a carrier bag.

"Hold on," I'll say cheerfully. "I'm alright without a bag."

Or perhaps:

"Don't worry about a bag."

Or even:

"I don't need a bag. Thank you."

Whatever the format, I usually manage to deliver the statement with a cheery smile. The response is depressingly predictable, delivered in a slightly disbelieving tone.

"Are you sure?"

Well, yes. I'm quite certain, as it goes.

It's not a difficult concept to grasp, surely? A customer declining a shabby scrap of plastic that will serve its intended purpose for a few minutes before retiring to clutter up the house for months, and then some landfill site for the rest of the century. Or just loiter about in a tree forever.

My response is generally less cheery, delivered through teeth gritted in resignation or suppressed rage.

"Yes, I'm quite sure."

One day this question will be a thing of the past, a distant memory. Perhaps when we've got away from this habitual, helpful, value-add attitude and got into the habit of carrying our own bags. Or just using our hands to Carry Things.

Radical stuff, eh?

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