Green yet disloyal

I mainly intended this blog to be for writerly or SFnal matters, but following on from my last post, I feel the need for a small green rant.

I’ve always tried to hang back from mankind’s headlong rush to trash the planet (the only one we’ve got, incidently). I’ve done this not out of masochism or pride, but because it seems like the sensible and responsible thing to do. And suddenly, after decades of being weird, the green lifestyle has become trendy. This is bad, because sustainable living isn’t about fashion, it’s about species survival. However, even though my old hippie habits are now socially acceptable, most people can’t get their heads round the fact that being green isn’t that hard.

Take the vital and fascinating subject of shopping bags. When shop I don’t throw the bags away. I put them under the sink. When I go next shop I get the bags out. I go round the supermarket with them hanging on the hook-thingy on the back of the trolly. When I get to the checkout I take them off the hook and use them to put my shopping in. OK, so you have to remember to take them with you, and somehow I usually manage to take one less than I need, but each time I shop that’s a dozen oil-derived non-biodegradable pointless hazards to wildlife I haven’t used. Really, it’s not rocket science.

Up until recently I seemed to be the only person in the world who did this. Then a big supermarket chain introduced points on their loyalty card for people who re-used bags. Irrelevant to me as I don’t have a loyalty card, but this is the supermarket closest to me, so I go there. While this simple process still appears to be too complicated for most of their customers, who continue to use new bags each time, it does leads to a tiresome checkout scene for me. It goes something like this:

At the checkout I produce my bags. The cashier spots this, smiles, and says, ‘How many of your own bags will you be using today?’

I say, ‘Oh, about a dozen, but it’s irrelevant, because I don’t have a loyalty card.’

The cashier looks at me in total incomprehension, unable to imagine why anyone would re-use something if they’re not getting rewarded for it.

At this point, I crack. I shrug self-depreciatingly and mumble something like, ‘Actually, I just like to be green.’

The cashier shakes their head and, careful not to make eye contact with the loony hippie, starts to scan my shopping.

I wish I was stronger. I wish I could think of some sort of witty yet non-offensive comment that made the cashier think and maybe reconsider their attitude. I can’t. I’ve tried. So I’m going to get a loyalty card, just to shut them up.

I suspect that means that the bastards have won.

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