I think the Health & Safety Officer at the local supermarket has definitely issued some kind of warning about me. Whenever I approach a checkout, the cashiers kind of flinch. It might just be because my children tend to be screaming by that stage of the shopping process, but it might also just be because my recyclable “green” bags present a very real health risk.
Ah, the green bags. A couple of years ago, I handed over a huge wad of them to the cashier which turned out, upon closer inspection, to just be two bags, one of which was designed to carry wine bottles and no use at all when it came to the packing of Bumper Size cereal boxes. The cashier obviously took pity on me and gave me a little something for nothing.
“Some customers,” she said, “Put their green bags inside one of the ‘chiller bags’. It keeps them neat and all together and you always have enough at the checkout.”
Such sensible advice! Of course she might have just been directed by management to cross-promote her supermarket’s branded chiller bags but, what the hey, I bought one anyway and have been storing the vast majority of my green bags in there ever since.
Now, until I saw that toilet paper ad about “folders” and “scrunchers”, I never even thought there was another way to deal with toilet paper other than to pull off half the roll and scrunch it into a ball big enough to protect my hand from all excretive matter. ANYWAY, it turns out my mother is a reformed scruncher when it comes to green bags and now folds them neatly in the “mother” bag. I tried it for a while but I just can’t find the time to neatly fold them all and, hell, those bags don’t fold easily and I get as little OCD satisfaction from folding them as I do from trying to fold fitted sheets. Fact.
And so I’ve gone back to scrunching. And I don’t just scrunch a few in there, I scrunch a lot. So the resulting effect is like one of those “can ‘o’ snakes” you buy in joke shops – the poor unsuspecting cashier unzips the chiller bag only to have all the green bags spring out into their face, giving them a bit of a shock to say the least and potentially taking an eye out One of These Days.
Which was why I think Health and Safety have issued some kind of warning about me to their staff – although after yesterday’s little shopping adventure, I would definitely have been upgraded to a Category Seven Risk.
You see, yesterday I was just doing a “mini-shop” and, wanting to avoid an unnecessary can’o’snakes incident, had just grabbed a couple of rogue bags stuffed at the back of the cupboard.
The cashier gave me this strange look when she packed my shopping but I thought it was only because I’d bought a 3 litre container of milk marked down to a dollar because it only had one more day left before the use-by date. I felt like saying “I’ve got three kids. We drink a lot of milk. So sue me.” But I held my tongue.
It wasn’t until I got home and unpacked the bags that I finally understood the “look”. Inside one bag, along with all the groceries, was a petrified carrot. And in the other bag, was a small pink pair of size 2 underpants that had obviously once been well and truly soaked in urine and then forgotten and left to dry out at the bottom of the bag and at the back of the cupboard over the course of at least a year. They had subsequently taken on a strange cardboard quality and were prettily dotted with black mildew, like some kind of experimentation in organic batik methods gone terribly, terribly wrong.
I’m sure if my mother were the type to leave comments on my blog, she might gently suggest I go back to folding. That way there’s never any risk of leaving anything behind. And I won’t become the only customer in the brief history of our local Coles whose bags they will ask to check on the way *in* to the store.