The Boring Word About Just a Plain Brown Wrapper Please!

April 20, 1988

When plastic bags were introduced in grocery and department stores I thought they were a neat idea. That was when the majority of stores still used plain brown paper bags. Now that a brown bag is becoming a rarity I am beginning to value the few that are left.

I know plastic is lightweight and I guess it’s less expensive or the stores wouldn’t use it; however, in my opinion, the list of disadvantages is longer than the list of advantages.

For instance how do you carry one of the plastic grocery bags with handles if you are under 5 foot 2 inches? In case you haven’t noticed, your bag, especially if it’s filled with heavy items, drags on the ground. This means the average kid has managed to get out of carrying the groceries to the car or into the house. (Unless you like your bread bumped over every rock in the driveway.) And if you ever needed help in carrying bags it’s when they are made of plastic. What used to fit in three or four paper bags, thereby making two trips to the house, now takes what seems to be a dozen plastic ones and results in five or six trips.

Speaking of bread, the bag boy may put it on top but as soon as you put the bag in the car, it will fall down along the side (plastic bags have a habit of spreading out like jello), then when you pick it up it will be nicely flattened.

With plastic bags all of your privacy is also gone. Now everyone can see what snacks you eat, the deodorant you use, if you buy generics and even the type of underwear you purchase. If you don’t mind parading through the parking lot with all your purchases visible to the world you may consider how hard it is now to hid a gift. At Christmas there is no more getting a gift into the house in the bottom of a bag. It’s either wrap everything immediately or find a plain brown bag.

Magazines that used to be wrapped in brown paper now come encased in plastic. Excpt for my National Geographic. I haven’t decided if that’s because they don’t want anyone to see the cover or they are just old-fashioned like me.

And what are we supposed to do for Indian vests (we made them from bags in pre-school) and all the other craft projects that bags have been used for over the years? I’ve heard brown bags are making a comeback in some stores. I hope it’s true.