I work as a cashier at a local grocery store. Many of the customers who shop at the store are the sort of health-nut, earth-friendly people you’d expect to see shopping at a neighborhood grocery store. They’re committed to the local economy as well as to the environment, so of course many of them bring their own canvas or plastic reusable grocery bags. Which is great! But nine times out of ten, people forget their bags in their cars. Most people who do this just choose to have their groceries sacked in traditional paper or plastic bags, but there are a select few who insist on running out to their cars to grab their green bags. Now, if they have a cart full of groceries for me to check, I don’t mind, because I will probably still be checking when they get back with their bags. BUT, if they have just a few items, it is incredibly annoying for me to have to wait for them to get back. It doesn’t take long to scan a small basket of groceries, and I don’t like it when people hold up my line. (Tangent: I also get annoyed at the people who wheel their carts up to my register, don’t say anything, and then wander off for ten minutes picking up “a few more things.”) Anyway, the point of this whole story is that I made the poster you see above to address the problem described above. I used my recently acquired InDesign skills to layout the poster, and I am pretty pleased with the final result. Not the most beautiful or original sign ever created but not bad for a short little project. I wish there was some concrete way for me to measure if the sign actually makes a difference–if people actually notice it and return to their cars to get their bags–but there isn’t. People still forget their bags in their cars. I guess they always will. Unless the U.S. makes plastic bags illegal, like in Ireland. But I don’t think that will ever happen.
I bet you never thought someone could go on for so long about grocery bags, did you? Well, bag politics are big when you spend most of your shift dealing with them. I could go on longer about the difference between paper and plastic, about how silly it is when people try to justify their selection (“I need the paper to recycle my newspapers”), about how some people take their grocery bags way too seriously… but I won’t bore you. This post was supposed to be about the poster I created. It’s nice to realize that something I learned in the classroom was actually useful in the real world. Whether or not the poster makes a difference, I tried. And that’s what counts.