These fold-out tote bags make eco-friendly shopping a breeze

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How are tote bags “a pain” to carry around and how are these fold out any less of a pain? I ride the subway back and forth to work and always have a reusable bag in my backpack or man-purse. My supermarkets use two lime-green plastic bags even if I only buy a six-pack of beer and it’s far more of a pain to deal with these crappy bags than it is to use a reusable tote bag.

  • No way to tell how much weight they will hold. The reusable bags I take to the store are the same size and shape as a paper grocery bag, so they stand upright on the counter or in the car. Each bag can be filled to the brim with canned goods without failing. If you can lift it, it’ll hold it.

  • Often when I am checking out at the grocery store there is a bagger at the end of the counter packing my reusable bags while I am still unloading stuff from the cart. With these bags that process would have to wait until I had cleared them by transferring everything to the checkout belt, not making me any friends with those in line behind me.


Also, most places that I have shopped that encourage bring-your-own-bag also kindly request that you don’t put the stuff in the bags to start, because it makes it too easy to shoplift. Anyway, you’re going to have to take all the stuff out of the bags to check out before putting it back in, so I’m not sure this approach really helps anyone.

Maybe in a world of no-checkout Amazon Store whatever, but that’s a whole different story.


Some supermarkets in the UK have had self-scanning for years - using a handheld scanning ‘gun’ you take round the store while shopping. Now they’re moving to smartphone apps to do the same. Dumping in trolleys and then removing for scanning and then repacking - those days are coming to an end. Though I’ve heard the US supermarkets may be a bit behind the times in this respect and perhaps it will take Amazon to make them up their game. One supermarket issued their own bags - perhaps similar to these - for precisely this purpose and, a decade or so on, ours are still in good condition and perfectly functional.


Those are quite common in the US these days. They don’t seem particularly popular. Many stores near me have them, but not a lot of people use them. Go along with the self check outs which are rapidly replacing express lanes.

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The best part about the newer way to do it is that you can get an avocado for the price of an apple.

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This is why we can’t have nice things.


Which is theft/fraud. And often enough when checking out (paying) the automatic till says “assistant coming” and you get a manual re-scan.

Also, what @Skeptic said

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Until the no-checkout Amazon Store bans you because your social credit score is in the toilet…

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Apparently though it is a big problem in the UK. (The avocado example is a specific one I recalled from a story on the radio.) And the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Police Act of 2014 sets a £200 threshold below which there’s very little risk.

In my experience automatic tills take noticeably longer to check out than a properly-trained cashier. I don’t see them as a positive addition to a store.

One clerk can monitor 6 self-checkout stations. For small quantities, I think it’s win win. Where it fails, I think, is when I see people checking out an entire cartload of groceries at self-checkout, they don’t know the codes for the produce, and they are crap at bagging – leaving me wondering why the heck they went to self-check in the first place. I think some people are just anti-social and don’t want to deal with human clerks. Others, I dunno.

That’s a win for the shop owner, who can fire 5 high school kids/senior citizens and use the savings to buy himself a Porsche.

My father was a shop owner. I like saying hello to the checkout clerk.

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The automatic tills at my supermarket take no time at all, because I only have to scan in, and pay - the items are already scanned with the gun, so the till just needs to be told what I scanned. Takes a few seconds at most.

But self-scanning checkouts are a pain. Mostly because of the ‘bagging area’ scales - they know what you just scanned and I assume expect a certain weight. My usual haunt is not too bad on the few rare occasions I’ve used them. But the other place I go to just introduced them and they drive me mad. Place a scanned item in the bagging area. Add the next one but if you lift the bag to neatly stack things in my bag, for even a second, the scales go berserk and suspect you’ve done something untoward (or just cant cope) and an assistant has to come. Every. Single. Fucking. Time.
A third place I go to has been doing self-scanning checkouts for years and theirs seem to work well, but then I rarely buy more than a couple of items there, so I do not tax the scales too much.

Hey-ho. It will all happen in the end - exporting work to the customer and making them think it is a benefit is the same old trick. Only works when there really is a benefit. With the guns the benefit is checking my bill as I go round, and no queues. Self-scanning sometimes has shorter queues, but only for baskets. For trolleys, less so - but the third place I go now has proper conveyor belt self-scanning checkouts that can take a trolley load.

ETA - yeah, I also read about that study and was surprised. I guess I am too honest and too naive in expecting others are too. Just not brazen enough to try it.

I’m surprised the guns don’t get stolen regularly. I haven’t been back to the UK in years, but my experience when I lived there was that people would steal anything that wasn’t nailed down. (And bolted, welded, and epoxied.) Of course, nowadays you can use your voluntary whole-life surveillance device mobile phone.

Of course, post-Brexit it will just be a matter of recording the number of turnips in your bag.

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Those people are known as management. It “saves” on labor costs, especially when it’s time for industrial action.

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It’s Waitrose. Hand scanners (‘guns’) don’t get stolen. They’re eff all use to anyone else, anyway. You have to scan a card to release one from it’s ‘socket’. Branches that never had them are moving to the smartphone app. Those that had them still do and I guess will carry on with them until the money is there to remove them, but as long as they work I hope they stay.

Maybe you lived somewhere less salubrious. :wink:

Hull. We didn’t have no stinking Waitrose.

You do now.

That’s closer to Kirkella, for which the 19th century “suburb” pejorative was practically invented. That said, when I lived there all I can recall along that stretch of Beverley Road (which I drove frequently) was the old synagogue and a crematorium.