Friday, May 15, 2009

My Local CVS Stores and Plastic Bags

Update: A kind reader, Debbie, has let me know that not all CVS stores implement this policy. Therefore, I'll probably be able to work with just the two locations where this has happened recently. Nonetheless, a frustrating evening. Read on for details:

Original Post:
You may have read my post titled "I don't need a bag but thanks anyway." Well, the exact same thing happened to me tonight at CVS. I was breezy and pleasant. I requested no bag just as the person ringing me up tossed my items into a bag. She removed them. She crumpled up the bag. I stared in horror. As calmly as possible, I tried to explain that the reason I was requesting no bag was so that she would RE-USE the bag. "Re-use it for what?" she asked. "For the next customer," I replied.

This woman proceeded to tell me that she was the manager, and it is OFFICIAL STORE POLICY to throw away bags that touch ANY CUSTOMER ITEMS. While I might understand if this were food service, the items I was purchasing were not gooey or messy at all. I cannot understand the possible explanation for such a policy.

The manager this evening wound up saying that she "respected my beliefs" and would reuse the bag. However, my choices are not based on beliefs. They are based on these FACTS.

*14 plastic bags contain enough petroleum to drive a car a mile.
*380 BILLION plastic bags or wraps are thrown away in America each year.
*Cities spend up to 17 cents per bag in disposal costs.


Debbie said...

I appreciate your frustration, and have shared it at stores other than CVS. I wanted to let you know, though, that not all CVS stores have this policy. My office is located upstairs from one and I am embarrassed to admit how often I shop there. I always tell them no bag, sometimes after they've started to put things in one, and they always honor my request, even if they have to take things out. They always leave the bag on the rack, so I'm sure they use it for the next person.

Perhaps a letter-writing campaign to the individual store owner/manager and the corporate office would be better than a boycott, at least as the next step.

Good luck, and keep up the pressure!

JMcK said...

Thanks for your tip that it's not company-wide policy. I absolutely was planning to talk and write letters before boycotting, and I'm glad to hear that some CVS stores are more respectful of the environment. I will definitely follow-up with what I find out from the owners of these two stores.

Thanks again for your thoughts!