I have a gripe.
On the first of July, the City of Glendale enacted ordinance 5790 which places a ban on plastic bags in most grocery stores and large retailers. I'm happy with the new ban. Aside from a few forgetful trips to the store, I've been toting around my reusable bags that my aunt gave me for Christmas several years ago.
My gripe isn't with the plastic bag ban, it's regarding a result of the ban at my local Ralphs. All of the employees at Ralphs have been trying their best to familiarize customers with the new ban, including smoothing over disgruntled shoppers. I've noticed a lot of unhappy and rather vocal fellow customers while in line. This is a city ordinance, not Ralphs fault!
Anyhow, as part of their customer service, they have been giving away a heavy duty reusable plastic bag for every twenty dollars spent. I'm not sure, but I think this may be a temporary give-away as the city adjusts to the changes. Aside from bringing your own or using the give-away bag, there is a surcharge of ten cents for each paper bag that you may need. The paper bags at Ralphs are not the best quality either.
I shop several times a week and have been diligent with bringing my own bags. Every time, I'm offered a give-away bag and every time, I turn it down. It's not as nice as my own bags and I simply don't need it. Every time I turn it down, I get the same response from the disbelieving checker/bagger, "But it's free". I even had people in line egg me on to take the free bag.
I've stood firm and for several trips to the grocery store, I've turned down the bag.
Today, the checker and bagger were aggressive in pushing the free bag and basically would not touch the bags that I brought. It's free and they were going to force me to take it. It turned out to be such a big ordeal, that I took it and spent a few minutes in the parking lot transferring my groceries from the free bag to my bags.
Two issues here... First, my reusable bags are better. They are more rigid with segments to create compartments and they sit straight in my trunk. I moved my frozen food away from my hot food, that had been all lumped together in the free bag. Second, I don't NEED the free bag!
Everyone gets swayed by the idea of receiving free stuff. I'm no different, but I'm trying to be more thoughtful about it. This year has been about simplifying and getting rid of unnecessary clutter. Free stuff creates clutter. Thanks, but we have enough plastic bags.
My biggest pet peeve regarding free stuff is the grabbiness that surrounds it.
I loathe the samples at Costco. Shoppers loiter around the sample tables, clogging up the aisles and it's not because they are genuinely interested in sampling with the intent to buy the product, they just want it because it's free. Also maybe because it's yummy.
I think that it's annoying when people try samples at Baskin Robbins when they already know that they always get the same flavor.
There is no reason to amass a collection of hotel toiletries, when you know that you will never use the products.
It's like people who go to a buffet and pile their first plate sky-high with more food than they can possibly eat or they take ten desserts, having a single bite out of each. It's excessive and grabby. I feel like it's one of the worst attributes in our society. We have so much, that we don't stop to think about what we actually need.
Just because it's free, it doesn't mean that I want or need it.