Reusable Bags: The Trend That Keeps on Growing

The Growing Trend

A new trend is arising: reusable shopping bags. Yes, you heard right. It might not seem like a big deal or a new trend. You might not even know what I’m talking about.

Flashback to summer of 2013. $3 Home Depot reusable tote bags became a celebrity sensation. The discontinued tote bag flooded the internet & social media. The bag was in such high demand that it was selling upwards of $50 on eBay. Everyone had to have it. That trend is over. But the power of the reusable bag is still alive.

Checking Out

Major grocery store chains like Publix & Whole Foods have famous series’ of reusable bags. They have legions of new bags each year. Some bags celebrate holidays, while others celebrate seasons. Others support local sports teams, while yet others are plain & simple. You can use these bags, which are sold at dozens of other stores, virtually anywhere for anything. But the best part is the money-saving part.

At Whole Foods, you can get $.10 off your purchase for each reusable bag you have, but at most stores in the US, you can only get $.05 off your purchase. So instead of using 10 plastic bags at the store, bring your own. You can save half a dollar off your purchase. In addition, you’re saving plastic bags, which reduces waste, since plastic can’t decompose. Washing your reusable bags in the washing machine hardly makes a dent in your wallet. This cleans your bags & rids them of any germs & bacteria, which can be especially helpful if you’ve used the bags to carry meats & poultry.

Your Receipt

Shopping with reusable bags can be a little dicey, however.

Although warehouse clubs like BJ’s, Sam’s Club, & Costco require your receipt to be checked at the door, retail giants like Target & Walmart do not. So why is receipt-checking a big problem at stores like Walmart? According to a reliable source inside Walmart, greeters profile shoppers as they depart the store & decide whether or not to demand a receipt. A former Target employee tells us that Target doesn’t profile shoppers with reusable bags, because they want to promote the sale & use of those bags.

So what does this have to do with reusable bags? According to an anonymous source in local law enforcement, greeters at stores like Walmart suspect shoppers of shoplifting more often if they are using reusable bags, rather than store plastic bags, which happen to be a leading cause of turtle deaths in the US. A good way to avoid being stopped by greeters, our source says, is to place store plastic bags over your reusable bags. This, however, defeats the entire purpose of using reusable bags in the first place. One of the only ways to dispose of plastic bags is to bring them to your local retail or grocery store. Usually, stores will have specially marked bins in the front for recyclable plastic bags.

But remember: in most states, you don’t have to stop if an employee asks to see your receipt. However, in those states, this has become an ongoing legal debate which we think is best left to state governments. In North Carolina, for instance, Statute 14-72 protects shoppers from having to show proof of receipt to store employees, or “merchants” as they are referred to in the law. This does not prevent shoppers from having to show their receipt to local law enforcement if the store presses the issue.

Scores of cities in California enacted a plastic bag ban a few years ago. Since the ban, more reusable bags have been used, but shoplifting has increased.

Savings

All in all, shopping with reusable bags can be money-saving. And reusable bags are definitely more sturdy than plastic bags, so you don’t have to worry about heavy loads. It’s also reassuring to know that you’re doing your part to maintain the environment.

Even though they weren’t talking about reusable bags, Samsung said it best: The Next Big Thing is Here.


*(This story is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice.)*

(Sources: Walmart, Local Law Enforcement, Yahoo!, PaperMag, State of North Carolina)

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