It no longer is, due to the advance of the Bag Scolds. You used to be able to go to the grocery store, get your cart or basket on the way in, and put your purchases in there. Then, when you got to the checkout line, you placed your items on the movable belt to be scanned by the checker, and bagged by a high-school student in either “paper or plastic”, according to your wishes.
Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. The Progressive Scolds have, in their infinite (un) wisdom, and in the interests of “Saving the Planet”, or “reducing waste”, banned disposable bags. They initiated the ban on plastic bags, due to their belief that plastic bags invariably end up in the Sacred Oceans as evil Pollution. [just in case anyone wants to know, the US is one of the least polluting sources, far behind the countries of Southeast Asia, and mostly China, which is the largest source of junk in the world’s oceans]. In my town, not only has the City Council BANNED single-use plastic bags, but they have MANDATED a special FEE that grocery stores MUST charge for Paper Bags, too. All in the interest of making citizens bring their own, reusable bags whenever they go to the grocery store to shop. [as another side note, those reusable bags are proven to harbor all kinds of harmful bacteria and viruses. You do what they say, and you get sick!]
Now, when I reach the self-checkout in my local store, I get out my reusable bag, tap the “I brought my own bag” button on the screen, and put it down in the “bagging area” to receive my purchases. However, when I do that, a whiny voice of the computer says “Unexpected item in the Bagging Area! Please remove item from the bagging area!”, not remembering that I already told the stupid thing that I Brought My Own Bag! I proceed to scan my own items, and put them in My Own Reusable Bag. When finished, I tap the “Finish and Pay” button. But no, I still have to answer the question “How many bags did you use?”, in order that they may CHARGE ME THE BAG FEE. I have to tap the ZERO button three times before it finally spits out my receipt so I can take my groceries home.
Yes, grocery shopping in a store with zillions of colorful, nutritious items and multifarious choices used to be fun for me. I have always liked grocery stores. No more, since it is now simply a chore, being nagged six ways from Sunday to bring my reusable bags. By the way, NO plastic bag is single-use in my house. Every one is eventually used as a trash bag, to take out the trash from the second floor of our house (hubby does the downstairs, I do the upstairs every week). It makes me very angry that those who know better than I, are determined to change my behavior. Well, they have. I will never vote for any of them again in future elections.
I WANT MY PLASTIC BAGS BACK! And I have bought 500 single-use “white t-shirt bags”, to use at those grocery stores in my town that have banned single-use bags. You ban them? I bring my own!