In my last post there was a brief discussion in the comments about the evolution of charging (or not) for shopping bags – plastic and reuseable.
It occurs to me now that if you really want people to remember to bring their own bags, you should actually *charge* them $0.03 for forgetting to bring their own bags. I think that would psychologically be a better incentive to remember to bring your bag than either a discount.
Of course, a company probably would think twice before implementing this policy because it could tick off consumers. However, it might actually serve as a better motivator.
Which reminded me of the Real Canadian Superstore chain.
Ever since I can remember shopping there (which goes back to 1994 or so), they’ve been charging $0.10 per bag if you want a plastic one from their store to haul your groceries home in.
Growing up in a small town where there was only one small supermarket which charged the high prices you’d expect in that situation, we made semi-monthly pilgrimages to the Superstore 35 minutes away to stock up on groceries for the family.
And even then, more than a decade before “green” was trendy, Superstore was encouraging the purchase of “Green Boxes” – crate-like baskets that fit into their specially-fitted shopping carts, so you could fill them while you were shopping, then unpack and repack them to put into your car.
I remember my mom LOVED them, because they were really easy to handle, and it meant there weren’t bags rolling around in the trunk, squashing groceries on our way home.
I don’t think anyone in my family shops at Superstore anymore. There isn’t one close to any of us, and we aren’t buying things in the quantities Superstore usually packages them in. But to this day, I still have a couple of those green boxes in my storage room, holding dog supplies and recyclables.
The more I think about the Superstore days though, the more I remember them having quite a few green products in their President’s Choice line. I didn’t see special advertising for them, they were just on the shelf next to the regular products. And I never really thought about why.
I have noticed a few commercials and videos going around though, about a new campaign/initiative that the Loblaw’s chain (parent company of Superstore & Extra Foods
Price Smart Foods oops! my bad.) is running, trying to bring local produce to their stores:
Sure, now it seems like they’re just doing it to be trendy – but Superstore’s been quietly leading a green charge for a helluva long time (fun fact: they launched the “Green Line” of President’s Choice products in 1989 – yes, eighty-nine).
But is it really (as their commercials claim) worth switching supermarkets for? It’s hard for me to say.
It’s entirely inconvenient for me to get to a Superstore (or any other store in the Loblaw’s chain). I am a creature of habit and convenience, and unless there is a really REALLY compelling reason to go elsewhere (usually a huge price advantage, or to get products my closest store doesn’t carry), I shop at the supermarket closest to home – supplemented by trips to the local farmer’s markets.
But their efforts do make me consider what my local stores are doing. I actually even feel a bit guilty for not rewarding Loblaw’s (by shopping at their stores) for being so green so early. And while I’m still not compelled to actually trek over to their stores, I am curious about what they’re doing and do think about them. Which I suppose is a start.
How about those of you who have a few options for nearby supermarkets? What influences your decision to shop where you do? To those close to a Superstore: do you shop there? Why or why not?