Thursday, November 19, 2015

Silly policies on shopping bags and tactless security

Most if not all major supermarkets in the Philippines now encourage their customers to bring their own reusable bags for their groceries. Many supermarkets have even made the effort to design their own reusable shopping bags that many call 'eco-bags' to reflect their intended purpose relating to the environment. The observation many years ago was that there was just a lot of plastic waste due in part to the plastic bags used by supermarkets and groceries that, despite their being reusable, always ended up in the trash and sewers.

So we were surprised when when a major supermarket chain, Puregold, barred the wife from taking her reusable bag (which was clearly from Puregold Duty Free in Clark). The guard told her that she was supposed to leave her bag at the counter, get a number and someone was supposed to get her bag when she checked out the items she would be buying. The same was being told to other customers including one senior citizen who was offended by the manner he was told by another guard.  I assume that this was a policy only in their branch at Fairview Terraces because I had been taking my reusable bags to the Puregold branch in Q-Plaza and I have not been prevented from taking the bag as I shopped in their grocery there. Regardless, perhaps it was the manner by which their security staff were telling people that they couldn't take their bags inside that offended people.

What's with such policies? It is one of those silly policies that don't make sense. I'm sorry to say but other, even bigger retailers allow customers to go inside their supermarkets and shops with their reusable bags and I am not aware of a proliferation of shoplifting or stealing in these supermarkets. Even the old Cherry Foodarama, from which Puregold seems to have patterned its style of checking what their paying customers are taking out their doors, had no policies that discriminated and judged their customers. I would say that their security problems will not be solved by such policies and that these only hinder or discourage people from using reusable bags. And I did see a lot of people ending up having their groceries in plastic bags - a clear violation of a Quezon City Ordinance that is supposed to ban plastic bags (even those that are claimed to be biodegradable) from supermarkets.

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