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a little dirt ain’t gonna hurt ya.

28 August 08

a few months ago when i was really struggling with some …well let’s just call them “nine to five environments” that my personality isn’t used to and can’t seem to Get used to, a friend of mine gave me the best advice.  she said i needed to find the angle that made a situation look so Ridiculous that it was no longer frustrating, it was Funny.

today, it took me a few minutes but i put her advice to good use at Meijer, when encountered with one of many employees in that grocery store that just completely don’t Get that i don’t need paper or plastic, thank you, and i definitely don’t need 25 of them for three items, thank you even more.  so here it is, episode number 25 with reasons number 26 and 32, for why Checkout Manager Man at Meijer feels personally afronted with my desire to reuse a bag:



the checkout guy at the grocery store across the street Always, every time i am in his lane, has a reason why reusable bags (or just not getting a bag for one thing) are frustrating.

for example today:  i have my reusable bags.  the one i pull out has a tiny bit of dirt, and it’s clearly dirt, left from getting my veggies from my csa yesterday. 
he asks if they can be cleaned.
after trying to figure out why he’s asking, i explain oh it’s only a little dirt.
from an organic farm.
“a little dirt never hurt anyone ha ha ha”
he goes on to tell me this story about how his wife had a kidney transplant and he came home with some virus from a reusable bag (because, you know, he Saw that virus on that bag and Knew that’s where it came from instead of the bazillion other things he touched in the course of his day) and his wife was in the hospital for 2 weeks.
now, i am sorry for his wife who had to be on dialysis for 8 years three times a week, that honestly is horrid, and i’m sorry that when she finally got a transplant she then had a long hospital stay because of a virus her husband brought home.  but i have to be honest:  i felt like telling him “if your wife has just had a kidney transplant, maybe you should be more careful about Washing Your Hands before coming into contact with her or her home, rather than expecting the rest of the world to be sanitized for you.”  but i just let him ramble and said oh and hunh a lot.
i walked out steaming, not because of this one thing but because he always has something, and they seem to get more ridiculous and less founded on reality every time.
while we are having this conversation, and he is begrudgingly putting the items in my dirty, dirty, nasty bag with 1/8 t of dirt at bottom, and i’ve got all my reusable bags right in front of him  HE PUTS THE MAGAZINE IN A PLASTIC BAG, and then into my reusable bag.
and then AND THEN looks annoyed when i say i don’t need a plastic bag for my magazine next to my box of crackers, thanks though.
i know what i should do is educate him, love him, help him see the light on why we should care a bit more about our overuse of plastics.
so next time…i think i just won’t choose his lane.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. ritesofpassage permalink
    28 August 08 4:07 pm

    I have similar problems with one particular cashier. He’s not quite so hostile as your guy, but he apparently honestly believes everything should be in plastic. Unfortunately, he’s often the only cashier on duty when I shop after midnight (which I do often) so avoiding his lane doesn’t solve the problem. I’ve been going there for years now, and he’s softened quite a bit, but I do still have to watch him. I have caught him putting stuff in plastic bags and then putting that into my bag. The really frustrating thing for me is that if I am a few seconds late in stopping him from pulling a bag off the rack and then tell him I don’t need it he’ll ball it up and throw it away. Possibly just to teach me a lesson, I can’t figure out why else he’d do it.

    I also don’t put produce in those plastic produce bags (unless they’re small like mushrooms or beans and I’ve forgotten my own cloth produce bag). Once I had piled my fruit and veggies on the conveyor belt, which I sort out in groups for ease in weighing, and the (very young) cashier gravely informed me that I should be sure to wash them because she couldn’t guarantee the belt was clean. I just laughed, I had no idea what to say to her. I hope she doesn’t assume her produce is clean just because she puts it in a plastic bag.

    But mostly I have good experiences — either cashiers just accept it and go about their business or they comment positively about it. It helps that in my area lately there is a profusion of those polypropylene $.99 bags EVERYWHERE and in some places the cashiers are giving them away. It educates both the public and the cashiers.


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