Thursday, 8 October 2015

Paying 5p for a bag?!

Yesterday  I had the wonderful task of making my first weekly food shop on returning to university. My mother's previous supplies had finally run out and I understood I had to make the frankly tedious and infuriating trip to Iceland, the home of 89p pizzas and £1.50 curries.

On arriving I felt a gush of relief as I saw that the supermarket was not filled with its usual customers, the type of people I can only describe as on the waiting list for the show Jeremy Kyle.

Taking a basket in hand, I proceeded in making the most of the £15 in my wallet.

Pizzas, curries, chicken, milk, eggs... you name it. All the bare necessities for the student chef. I even pushed the boat out with a packet of nectarines! (6 for £1 if you're wondering.)

On arriving at the till I was welcomed by a lovely woman who asked how I was. I simply replied with a warm 'thank you, yourself?' and she genuinely seemed surprised I hadn't said 'f-ing this' or 'f-ing that'. I believe this is the usual language of the Coventry locals when asked if they are doing OK.

As she began to move my precious cargo over the till she then looked at me and stated if I wanted a bag, to which I replied with an obvious, 'yes'.

She then cocked her head a little and uttered the words in cautious kindness, 'you know you have to pay 5p for them, right?'

I again nodded back and said, 'yes, that's fine'.

The look of shock that overcame her tired and bland face was simply incredible. She looked at me as if I was Jesus Christ himself and that I had offered her wealth and fortune.

This, if I'm being honest, was a little shocking and not at all what I had expected. So, as the naturally curious being I am, I enquired to why she was so shocked.

This was a mistake.

A barrage of stories came at me like a tidal wave of pain and hurt, begging for sympathy from myself and probably a hug.

Stories of arguments, confrontations and even one man walking out with his shopping in his pockets and under his coat came at me in relentless speed. All because people felt disgusted at paying 5p for a sodding bag!

I nodded and smiled then shook my head and frowned and simply didn't know what to say.

I had read, for what I believed was, the satirical comments on social media and gathered it was just people looking for a cheap laugh.

But now, as I write this, I have become aware that some people are genuinely offended at the prospect of paying for a bag! The same people who would probably be happy to pay £3 for a pint or £60 on a handbag but horrified at the prospect of paying 5p for a plastic bag!

I couldn't believe it and once the poor lady had finished, red eyed and had a gleaming brow of fury provoked sweat, she pittered out the words, 'would you like a bag-for-life?'

I felt almost obliged to buy all the bags-for-life in the world just so she could give them to people for free and not have to deal with the torment she had done. And I very nearly did until she told me the price of them.


I pitied her but not that much. 5p is one thing but 75p? Come on love, don't take the piss!

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