Plastic bags, Waitrose and the entente cordiale…

K Kuprat

I’ve now developed a bit of a thing about plastic bags. I’ve started to view them as a kind of amoebic life-form that keep trying to attach themselves to me when I’m not looking. They turn up in unexpected places. They are surprisingly resistant to mass culls. And they breed…

So I’ve had a bit of an internal stand-off with Waitrose on their home delivery policy to tenement flats in Edinburgh, which insists very politely that if you live in one, you have to order plastic bags for your delivery and pay for them too. (I know they take back the old ones to recycle but one or two always escape detection and migrate to lead a free roaming existence under the fridge or the sofa.)

So I just stopped ordering the plastic bags and didn’t pay for them. And decided to see what would happen next.

This evoked a few responses over the weeks. Sometimes, they ignored this and just served up the entire shop in plastic bags anyway and sometimes they brought it up in large plastic crates, plastic bag-free, bearing facial expressions that were a little hard to read. At other times, it was a hybrid of the two – crates with just some of the groceries in plastic bags…

Either way, everyone stayed friendly, polite and steadfastly silent on the matter.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, a driver takes the bull by the proverbial horns. In a nutshell, he wants me to order the bags. For them, it’s a health and safety issue – they can’t see their toes over the crates etc. I stand there feeling slightly worried.

My intention is to respond with something compelling about ocean plastic statistics and some kind of environmental high ground but in the moment I just blurt out, ‘But I hate plastic bags!’ Or something similar. Short anyway, and not elegant.

He is understanding! He suggests a solution. If I request it in my future deliveries, the drivers will buzz the bell. I can come down with my own bags. We transfer the shop into them and all parties will thus be satisfied. I am sceptical. Does he mean it?

So last week I put it to the test. It unfolded precisely as planned. A compromise has been reached. No more plastic bags for me. Happy health and safety toes for him. I think we may even have beamed at each other at the end.

Waitrose driver and customer in perfect harmony….

Of such small victories life is made.

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