Wednesday, June 07, 2006


My apartment has been inundated with bags. Plastic bags of all sizes, blue bags, black bags, white bags. Lots of white bags. Bodega bags, grocery store bags, clothing store bags, fruit stand bags. I open the under-sink cupboard and out pours a deluge of bags. I wake up in the morning, roll over, and there's a pile of bags next to my pillow. I reach for clean underwear and put on a bag instead. If all the bags in this apartment were turned back into oil and then into gasoline, I could use it to drive a small car to California. I hate bags.

Everyone wants to give me bags. Bags for free. Yippee! Double bags at the grocery store. Chicken gets its own special bag, then into two others. Coke and an apple on the corner? Bag. One CD down the street? Bag. Last time I got a haircut, I got a bag.

I hate bags.

Of course, the omnipresence of overbagging and overpackaging is no new revelation, but it's worse in this city than any other place I've lived or visited. Hands down. My favorite example, which I used often upon arrival, is coffee in a bag. Yeah, really. You have to be careful. Not only will they put it in a cup, but they'll put it in a bag too!! Completely looney! *

Everyone is an offender. If I order an egg-on-bagel sandwich plus a donut to go at MDC, I have to be careful, otherwise I'll be walking out of there with sandwich and bagel each in their own paper bags, and both in a plastic bag. Of course, the bagel sandwich has already been wrapped first in wax paper and then in aluminum foil, and includes enough ketchup, salt, and pepper packets to arm a small country. All said and done, packaging outweighs food ten to one. The sandwich/grill shop on the corner and Thai place down the block both follow suit.

I get angry when they give me bags I don't need. Though it's not quite the fault of people behind counters, I have found myself getting slightly gruff with some of them if it's late at night and I turn around to realize that they've stuffed my cranberry juice in a bag. With a straw. Often, I make them take their bags back. Sometimes people get offended when I reject their bags, and I have to tell them, "Don't worry, it's not you, it's me."
It's becoming by own personal crusade: reject as many bags as possible. Each day, I'm getting better and better.

Tangent: You also have to be careful here if you ask for a regular coffee. As you take a sip, expecting hot, black mud, you will realize that you are drinking dessert. Half cream, half coffee, with several spoonfuls of sugar. New Yorkers are not hard when it comes to coffee, they are wimpy, girly sissies.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Aw. fukuro irunai desu is one phrase you can use to politely turn down a plastic bag in Japan, and I think it was one of the first I learned. I support your rant.

12:41 AM  

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