Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Green Grocer?

Like other relatively affluent, tree hugging, bike riding liberals, I've started using reusable grocery bags. Maybe you've noticed them at your supermarket, maybe you haven't. They look something like this-

It's the unspoken option when the bagger asks, "Paper or plastic?"

You smugly slide a pile of reusable bags toward him and say, "Here, use these." A lot of grocery stores will actually pay you five or ten cents per bag saved. Kind of a sweet deal. the bags only cost a buck, so if you can use a bag ten, maybe twenty times, you break even, you're not polluting, and you're not stuck with a hoard of those nasty plastic bags.

So today as I was unloading groceries out of reusable Kroger bags I picked up last week, I noticed something in the bottom of the bag. When I checked, each of the four bags was the same-

Hmmm... what's this?

It's a leaflet, printed in three colors on heavy copier paper. It brags about the contest Kroger had (the leaflet isn't even current) where shoppers were encouraged to submit designs to use on future Kroger reusable bags. The contest kind of makes sense in terms of trying to create buzz about their bags.

But think about this for a minute (apparently Kroger executives didn't): People use these bags to avoid using expendable resources. So what do they do to brag about it? They print up these leaflets to inform everyone about it. It would be just as simple, and probably less expensive (not to mention greener), to simply print the message ("Visit") on the bag itself.

These bags and the leaflets inside kind of remind me of the GoGreen Hummer, although on a less noticeable scale-

Even if each of the extra leaflets is small in and of themselves, I still have to give Kroger a FAIL for them.

The whole point of going green is to save resources, prevent waste and pollution, to think in different terms. We can't go "all the way" unless we all sell our cars and grow all our own food; I realize this. But I like to think that whoever is in charge of Kroger's green campaign is an environmentalist (as opposed to a marketeer). As such, that person should be thinking of the best way to get the word out.

This isn't it. The green grocer? I think not.


Big Oak said...

You have discovered, my friend, what I believe is one of the biggest scams of this young century. If you come up with a scheme and use the word "green", you can be seen as an organization that is cool, hip, and really cares about the environment.

Some of these promotions may actually be environmentally sound, but I believe most of them are nothing more than phishing - trying to change social behaviour by bending the truth or flat out lying.

Thanks for calling out Kroger on this deal. I think the green they are interested in is the extra money they expect to get using that promotion.

velociped said...

"...started using reusable grocery bags"

Evidently, you are as new to "tree hugging" as you are to vehicular cycling and reusable bags. My wife and I have been bringing our own bags to the grocery store for two dozen years. This idea is not a revolution ...or even a revelation. Some of our bags bear logos from HyperMart (the original Super Wal-Mart) and Tom Thumb.

As I see it, you and Kroger are late to the party.

HeidiTri's said...

As I see it...better late than never! There are still many people relying on plastic bags.

highschoolteacher said...

Sorry you are not as cool as velocipad (2nd commenter).

It is crazy. I hate junkmail for the same reason.