Thursday, 2 October 2008

A Bagful of Sticks and Carrots

I figure that, being pragmatic, one of the main uses of this blog should be to give people an inside view of what living in Japan is like. I mean, coz clearly there's not enough blogs and sites doing that already.


(The ahem is meant to indicate that the preceding statement was sarcast... oh never mind)

So here's something you get from day to day life in Japan: shop assistants love bagging and wrapping things up for you. I'm pretty sure I've gone into this before, but my mind is fried this week, so humour me. Seriously, much more than in the UK, and to a farcically impractical degree. I have a pretty good understanding with the donut shop I buy coffee at now, whereby they know me and just give me the coffee, in my hand, and I walk out the door. At first though it was coffee, in a paper bag, in a plastic bag, and then it tips over as soon as you pick the plastic bag up. I like the new deal.

This can be tied into Japan's phenomenal service culture of course, but it's really, really wasteful when the supermarkets are always giving you more plastic bags than you need, or bagging your groceries for you into far too many bags. Wasteful... until yesterday that is!

As of October 1st, both of the Supermarkets I go to regularly have stopped giving out free plastic bags! Not only that, they are using both the stick (5 yen per bag) and the carrot (1 yen off your shopping if you bring your own bag) to incentivise their customers. Seriously, I'm astonished and delighted, but now I have no idea what I'm going to use as bin bags at home coz those medium sized Daiei bags were just the beans.

I guess I'll take one for Mother Earth.

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