Plastic Bag Snobbery

“smiling woman in black and white checker print shirt riding on push cart during daytime” by Laura Marques on Unsplash

I walked into a big name grocery store in an upscale neighborhood on my way home from work. I usually shop at my neighborhood shops in my average middle-class neighborhood. Poor writer/librarian and all that. Today was different. I was looking for Jackfruit to make vegetarian BBQ. I figured this store would have the fruit since it is an unusual item that you can’t find just anywhere.

I filled my cart with normal things too like yogurt, soda, potatoes, avocados, bread, and a few other things. Then I located the Jackfruit.

I made my way to the check out. In front of me in line was an older woman dressed as if she was a young single woman on a cruise ship looking for a sugar daddy. She had brilliant pink lipstick on her pursed lips. Her off the shoulder blouse, cropped pants, sandals, and toenails were, all the same, I’m-sixty-and-I-dress-like-I’m-twenty shade of obnoxious pink. From her ears dangling down to touch, her shoulders were large saucer sized gold hoop earrings. A scent of perfume that resembled sweet dirt, not in a good way wafted up and away from her.

The woman looked over my cart. Then her eyes gazed down her nose at me. I was dressed in my librarian uniform of sensible flat shoes, straight purple dress belted with a black skinny belt and topped off with a black cardigan. My hair in a messy bun. I smiled, she didn’t.

As she placed the contents of her cart on the conveyor (loaf of french bread, a bottle of red wine, tossed salad and caviar) she made a big production of carefully laying her cloth reusable shopping bags on the counter. She then dramatically like she was waving a magic wand, placed the plastic stick order divider on the belt. She nodded in my general direction giving her royal permission for me to put my things on the counter.

I waited.

She looked away to speak to the clerk. I put my jackfruit, yogurt, soda, potatoes, avocados, bread, and a few other things on the conveyor. The woman finished her transaction and waited for the pimpled face high school boy to finish bagging her items. As she turned to go the clerk asked me, “Are plastic bags ok?” I smiled and answered, “Sure, that’s fine.”

The woman’s head spun around so fast and her face was plastered with shock. She says nothing, just makes a humph sound and turned to walk away. Telling the cart boy, “Be careful and do not let my bread get flattened” as she pushed the young man’s hands off the cart handle, reached for the loaf placing it like a child in the toddler seat in the front of the cart.

The store clerk shrugged.

Really? Can you be any more rude? Maybe I do not look like I am from the same country club neighborhood. Maybe I have regular bread in my cart and a crazy fruit instead of caviar. However, I am just as worthy of standing in the same shopping line as you. I can use my plastic shopping bags without guilt. I can smile at you without even a hint of a smile in return.

My face must have had some look of distaste or rebuke written on it because the clerk said, “Don’t mind her. She owns the boutique next door.”

My mouth began to speak, without engaging the filter. It does that sometimes. “Oh so that gives her the right to silently judge each of us? She looked down her nose at you the same way she did me. Probably judging you by your career choice. I do not care if she owns the entire damn town, that is no excuse to be rude.”

Moral of the story: Do not be like that woman, ever. If you find yourself in the position of owning a business and having oodles of money, do not treat others as less human.

Shame on you.


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