Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Clearly this is a metaphor for something.

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The Bag Issue

New product for the homeless to help with
  (+29, -4)(+29, -4)(+29, -4)
(+29, -4)
  [vote for,

Many shops here in UK are beginning to charge for their carrier bags, or at least make them less evidently available.

I rarely remember to take a bag with me, and I usually remember as I arrive at the store.

The big issue seller outside the shop could sell carrier bags to forgetful idiots like me. I'd much rather give a pound to a homeless person who is trying to help themselves than 9p to Marks and Sparks.

theNakedApiarist, May 14 2008


       good idea
hippo, May 14 2008

coprocephalous, May 14 2008

       Could they sell string bags? String bags are more portable when empty and, of course, greener.
pertinax, May 14 2008

       M & S are donating the money raised from the sale of bags (I am informed) to charity and send unsold food (within best by dates) also to charity.   

       this is a great idea nonetheless as it gives the shopper a choice.
po, May 14 2008

       I should perhaps say that I'm not picking on M and S here - that's simply where I was heading when I remembered (this time) to take a bag with me, and my desk neighbour said glibly 'buy one from the big issue man outside'.
theNakedApiarist, May 14 2008

       and its 5p I believe.
po, May 14 2008

       Make sure the bags are wrapped in a plastic outer layer so that I don't have to put my groceries in a bag that has been handled by a guy who hasn't washed his hands since 1983.
nomocrow, May 14 2008

       + Still a great idea, as I always forget to bring one of the hundreds of bags from home!
xandram, May 15 2008

       OMG, multiple buns. Just last night I got to the grocery store and realized my bags were at home. I'd have gladly bought a bag or two from a guy outside instead of bringing home the extra plastics. [+]
Noexit, May 15 2008

       This idea is very appealing and socially responsible at first glance. It is very environmentally unfriendly though: this will encourage people to buy more bags!
nutty professor, May 16 2008

       It's fine if they're eco-friendly (non-disposable or bio-degradable.) That way, you're giving money to eco-hobos.
Shadow Phoenix, May 17 2008

       [Barebeeperson], with your permission I would like to give this a try. This is truly one of those: "Why didn't I think of that!" moments. I am close to the industry, I have seen these issues and still did not click.   

       Having recently worked with several large retailers, an astounding fact (although quite obvious in retrospection) is that the number one seller by volume is the plastic grocery bag. This is not money that retailers *like* to lay claim to. After all, they had paid lipservice *against* the mandatory charge. In the end the commoditisation of the plastic grocery bag had little, or no, impact on the amount of bags in circulation (only on small producers) and only opened the gap for profit margin. Large producers of said bags have colluded with large distributors (retailers) and the margins for both parties have been set.   

       The retailers express their dislike of the format in various ways: we give it to charity, we sell it at a loss, etc. These really are empty words. They actually love it! This is not hearsay.   

       As an example: Retailers cost bags in the following way: in product cost, in storage cost, logistics (tracking and admin) cost and distribution (retail and admin) cost, all thrown into the cost of the bag. A few of us will know some of the above are pure fiction, as the supplier takes the onus. Depending on this cost accounting (and sometimes the audience to which they preach) they will either say we made a profit and gave it to charity, or, we operate bags at a loss for the good of our customers. All manipulated bullshit.   

       I think there are many small producers, who have been materially affected by this legislation, that would have a dip at this alternative market.   

       Over here we have "parking lot attendents" who operate informally. Their income is a gratuity for watching your vehicle. I call them my "temporary security consultants" and remunerate them, not for a job done, but as a charity decision. They are trumped-up beggars.   

       Give each of these guys a box of bags and their income will increase exponentially. Brand it. Make it "poverty aversion" friendly. Teach them how to fold them into those little triangles.   

       The big guys (retailers) can't get politically or publically upset. We are either removing a loss leader from their bottom line, or, directly benefiting those that would have received their "charity". Almost immediately they will point to "cartels" that are flogging over-priced bags to indigents that sell them in the parking lot. Only existing cartels point to other cartels.   

       I am sorry for the slight rant. But this is one of my *bag* bears. I have often thought that the upliftment of people must come from those spheres that they most actively accessed (12.5kg of education for e.g). This is brilliant, costs next to nothing, and the only people to fight are the huge multi-nationals that can only be defeated by their own arguments.   

       A bun is not enough for this idea, but it is all I have to give.
4whom, May 17 2008

       I don't know much about the UK but in the US it has been my experience that homeless people beg in front of the shop because they don't want the accountablity and responsiblity that goes with having a job or anything that closely resembles one. Their M.O. is to beg for enough money to get that next "fix" that sustains their addiction.
Jscotty, May 17 2008

       jscotty, with all due respect, I have to say you don't know much about homeless people either.   

       To completely oversimplify the homeless population in that light is very apathetic, I think. People become homeless for a whole host of reasons, and with the current economical situation here in the US, I fear there will be more and more middle class homeless.   

       I think this is a brilliant idea and welcome in any country and/or culture.
blissmiss, May 18 2008

       bag up
clartsonly, May 19 2008

       Jscotty - a great number of them are mental ill or otherwise disabled. It's often a lack of drugs that is the problem (not to put too fine a point on it).   

       Only a few chose to be homeless, though any social worker will tell you that there are some who do.   

       Drugs are another very difficult problem.
nomocrow, May 19 2008

       Just noticed [4whom] that you actually asked permision. How courteous! By all means, try it!
theNakedApiarist, May 21 2008

       When did a croissant become a bun? In Shropshire?
plynthe, May 21 2008

       +. what's an Apiarist? anything to do with API?
pashute, Aug 10 2011


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