A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Paying for bags: The honor system at work

Written January 1st, 2020 by Hasso Hering

grocery sacks

On the first day of Oregon’s new law on grocery carry-out bags, the answer is that yes, as I had supposed on Monday, part of it will rely on the honor system.

At least it will at Fred Meyer, the Oregon unit of the national Kroger chain of supermarkets. At the Albany store, the self-check-out stations now ask, when you get ready to pay the machine, how many paper bags you would like to purchase. You punch in the number of bags you have taken, and the requisite number of nickels gets added to your bill.

Presumably it’s the same at other stores where you can check out on your own.

On the first day of the statewide ban on plastic carry-out bags decreed by the 2019 legislature, the Albany Fred Meyer also handed out a sturdy reusable shopping bag free to anyone who wanted one. Nice gesture! (That’s the free bag on the right in the shot above, along with one that cost 5 cents.)

At the North Albany IGA, which has no self-check-out stations, the checker asked if I would like a bag. I said yes, and she rang it up and put my merchandise into a paper sack with handles.

All of this is pretty simple, obviously. Still a nuisance, but not a big one. Unless there’s a downpour and you left your rig at the far end of the parking lot. We’ll see how well the 5-cent paper bags will hold up then. (hh)


11 responses to “Paying for bags: The honor system at work”

  1. Ted says:

    Dang. I know I’m old. I can remember when the plastic bags were a godsend since they were manufactured from a waste gas from oil/natural gas production and they were going to save thousands and thousands of trees.

  2. Rachel La Brasseur says:

    The self checkouts are a little more than honor system at least where I work, the scales know if you are using a paper bag or your own just be the weight . Granted I’ve never tried lying to the machine. I personally think the plastic bag ban is kind of necessary ever since China quit taking our “recycling”. Now we have to use products that are reusable or that our recycling centers are able to process. New year, new Oregon.

  3. My Real Name John Hartman says:

    Please! I beg you! Give this story a rest. Bringing one’s own bags, or purchasing a bag from the vendor is not an existential crisis. Move on please.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Nobody is forcing you to read this blog.
      Maybe YOU should move on?

      • J. Jacobson says:

        “We should live, act, and say nothing to the injury of anyone. It is not only best as a matter of principle, but it is the path to peace and honor.”

        Robert E. Lee

        • Bill Kapaun says:

          Quoted by another true hypocrite that doesn’t feel the words they quote apply to them.

          Your usual behavior says otherwise.

          • My Real Name John Hartman says:

            “Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.”

            Bertrand Russell

  4. Lundy says:

    One of my arguments in favor of plastic bags of any kind is that I reuse them in various ways. I’d been beginning to suspect, however, that I could not reuse them and/or wear them out at anything close to the rate I was accumulating them — and that suspicion was confirmed yesterday when my wife hacked her way through two kitchen drawers full of plastic bags and nothing else. I don’t really like the concept of a ban, or of making stores charge for something they used to happily give away, but all in all this is not a huge issue.

  5. Cap says:

    Oh, my Gawd! People! People! Please! Trump ordered an attack that killed the second in command in Iran. Experts in international matters are saying it was “an act of War” by the U.S. (Trump, that is.) Let’s move on from the plastic bags.

  6. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Another option (albeit small) to acquire plastic bags: subscribe to the DH, GT, or almost any other newspaper. In inclement weather, they’re enclosed in flimsy plastic bags.


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