If I were into sweeping generalisations I would say that Britishness is synonymous with hardiness: our national psyche might just be ‘make do and mend’, ‘put up and shut up’ or ‘just get on with it’. That penchant for a stereotype is why I thought we’d all have moved on from the carrier bag charge now, why I hoped that a few weeks on, full grown adults could stop hurling their crumpets to the floor and ranting by the Pringles, that the poor men and women of the checkout could lose the haunted look in their eyes and ask, without fear,’ would you like a bag?’
Nope, the mandatory five pence charge for a bag has made an entire nation lose its mind and we seem unable to let it go. The fact that they are one of the worst things mankind has done for the environment – they just never die – and that there must be roughly a gazillion of them on the planet (half in the harbour, the other half in my kitchen cupboard) pale into insignificance next to the unbridled rage the average person feels at having to make that painful choice between juggling their satsumas and monster munch out to the car bagless or handing over 5p for the convenience.
I slowed down my own packing last week to eaves drop on the shop assistant telling the tale of the woman who’d argued the toss about the charge for a good fifteen minutes before dramatically sweeping all of her shopping off the counter and flouncing out of the store without any of it. Is that rational? No, that’s utterly insane. We need to get a collective grip and move on.
Can we just clear a couple of things up though before we do?
Firstly you are not ‘paying to advertise the store’ you are paying for the privilege of taking yet another scrap of toxic, indestructible plastic into the world because you were too lazy or weirdly stubborn to bring your own.
Secondly, the ‘top tip’ of bringing your own bags to the supermarket to save yourself the bag charge is literally the entire point of the levy. Sorry to break it to you but taking your own bags to the shop isn’t a victory for anyone but planet earth. But if it makes you feel better, keep telling yourself you’re flouting the system though. High fives all round.
Thirdly, remember that you are an adult. A real live functioning adult. Not a stroppy teenager whose pocket money has been docked. Real live functioning adults do not throw their beans in anger.
Let’s all don the stiff upper lip our kind is so known for, start making use of that drawer we’ve all hoarded our way to since the mid-nineties and for the love of god stop stealing baskets and chucking our groceries on the floor.