Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Politics of Grocery Shopping

It’s just not politically correct anymore to use the plastic grocery bags when you do your shopping. I started noticing this here about a year ago, and then I really noticed it when I was in England earlier this year. The grocery store I go to now sells re-usable bags. They’re ok I guess, but they’re like a heavier duty plastic and I don’t imagine them holding up very well over time. So I’ve been using some canvas bags I’ve accumulated over the years. Whenever I’ve been away at a union conference I inevitably end up with another bag of some sort, whether it is a backpack or a canvas tote. Well I had the scathingly brilliant idea to use the canvas totes for bagging groceries. They are roomy and sturdy enough to fill them up without breaking, and they are showing no signs of wear after about a year of pretty regular use. The downside is that I used to use them for bringing my lunch and stuff to work when I was working on the factory floor. Therefore, even though they’ve been washed and I know they are clean, they look very grungy with oil stains and such; not very nice when you think you are carrying your food in them. Not to mention I don’t have enough of them.

So on a whim I stopped at the fabric store on the way home from grocery shopping today. I bought a meter of canvas and five meters of webbed strapping, making it up in my head as I went, and this is what I ended up with! This is the prototype and there'll be three more to follow (although I'll need to buy five more meters of strapping; I had a slight substantial miscalculation). This pleases me on so many levels. The egomaniac in me is pleased that I’ll have the nicest bags in the grocery store. The environmentalist in me is pleased that I’m doing something good for the environment. And the cheap bastard in me is pleased that the fabric store just happened to be having a 40%-off-everything sale! I’m just SO damn… pleased!


Sauntering Soul said...

That is so cute! You should seriously think about selling these.

knitty_kat said...

Nice!! Did you make the bottom gusseted so you can fit more in? I like that you carried the strapping all the way down - more sturdy.

Have you thought about dying the old ones so you can still use them?

Jacqui said...

Bev, I'm just not that ambitious! Not to mention people can buy these long-term grocery bags at the store for a buck or two, I don't know that anyone would want to fork out $10 for one of mine, which is what I'd have to charge to make it even barely worth my while. I'm using almost three yards of strapping for each bag to keep them strong!

Kat, I think that's a scathingly brilliant idea about dying the old bags! I think I'd still have to do something about the oil stains first, but to be honest I haven't tried any stain products, I've just washed them. Yes, they are gusseted, I'd be happy to post the instructions if anyone else wants to make some. They'd probably make awesome "politically correct" Christmas gifts.

Carol said...

Love the grocery bag idea. I keep meaning to do that, but never get a "round tuit." You did. Congratulations! Thanks for the comment on my blog, too. I myself thought the idea was quite brilliant. And the customer absolutely loved the sweater. Whew!

Kare said...

That's canvas?? It's the most beautiful canvas that I've ever seen.
Way to go. You will definitely be the envy of all the shoppers.
I wonder how many time you will be asked, "Where did you get those wonderful bags?"

I love your new look. Did you make the Noro cozy that's pictured?