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Monday, January 4, 2010

To Market, To Market

I love market bags. All kinds. And I use them just about everyday...when I go to the farmer's market, the CSA, grocery or drug store, to haul files, to carry my knitting or sewing, to bring home recyclables from the office or committee meetings. Sometimes I'll use one as an overnight bag when I make a quick visit to NYC to visit my daughters.

I always have at least five or six bags in the trunk of my car. And I keep one in my hand bag - usually a small, fold-up one like the Baggu bag made of parachute fabric that was a party favor from a museum benefit or, more recently, the cute red and white flowered envirosax  that my sister-in-law Beth gave me for Christmas. Another favorite is an old blue plaid Burberry bag that sometimes doubles as a casual purse.

Even when I did some holiday shopping at Marshall's and Old Navy, I toted my tote bags. A few clerks seemed not to understand that I really didn't want my purchases put in plastic bags, and proceeded to do just that even after I said "I have my own bag, thank you." But the sales woman at a local cookery ware store thanked me for not taking a store bag.

The SuperFresh grocery store, where I frequently shop, encourages customers to bring their own bags by offering a 2 cent credit per bag, although I have to remind the clerks to punch the rebate into the register. The nearby Giant grocery store doesn't offer a rebate, but they do seem to sell a lot of their own reusable bags.

Leah Ingram wrote extensively about bag rebates in one of her Suddenly Frugal posts I wish more stores would offer rebates, or at the very least ask customers if they would prefer to use their own bags. Do you regularly carry a reusable market tote? What is your favorite?


  1. I love my market bags! I use them every single day: carrying my lunch to work, the grocery store, the liquor store, etc. Great gift idea!

  2. Dee Dee:

    Target is offering a five cent discount for EACH reusable bag that you bring with you when you shop there. Same with ShopRite in Flemington. Hey, every little bit helps!


  3. I personally don't carry a tote bag but I've noticed here in Paris that almost every supermarket is equipped with a "rapide" checkout lane for tote-bag carriers only. Also, the popular chain Casino frequently charges 1 euro (~$1.30) for each plastic bag, especially on busy days like Friday and Saturday. Lastly, it's seems like a pretty common thing to have a tote bag here, and I always see older women with their personal 2-wheel pushcarts. In honor of your blog I promise to start using my tote bag, which has been sitting idly in the corner of my room for 5 months. If it's any redemption, I do use the plastic bags as wastepan bags.


  4. Lovely article, Dee. I like the suggestion of keeping a bag in my purse since most of the time when I am in a check-out line, my bags are in my car. Having one in my purse will really help me not to use store bags.

  5. Leah, I wish we knew about the Target discount - we were just there a few days ago! Samantha, I'm so pleased that you like your Baggu bag - they are very handy for city girls like you. Joe, we're going to have to work on you! Some of these bags, like the one Samantha has fold up so small that you can keep it in your pocket - then you can use it when you visit the boulangerie, the charcuterie and for your vin ordinaire! Nadine, thanks for the vote of confidence!

  6. Dee Dee - Whole Foods gives a 5 cent discount per bag and also sells some great looking bags. I have a collection of totes and always carry in my car - feel like a bag lady, but in a good way. If you work on any committees where there is a gift offered think about making it a reuseable tote. This year we used a tote for the annual meeting of an international scientific society instead of a backpack and Univest offers a great tote every year when they sponsor the Doylestown bike race in September. Nancy

  7. Thanks for the tip Nancy. Good work on the part of Univest. The Riverside Symphonia and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor both have offer nice totes too.

  8. Hello!
    I'm new here and I'm happy to tell u that I have canvas bags older than my 18 yr old. My favorite is my Mass General holiday blood donors bag that dates from 83!

    I wish I could teach my clients to use cloth, but they use their bags for trash liners. I'm a home health aide and my seniors (with 1 exception) just won't pay for garbage bags. I try to tell myself that they are reusing the things..