Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Not My Bag

So, I'm sliding onto the 2nd Ave subway this morning when I see this huge line snaking outside of the new Whole Foods on Bowery all the way around the corner, and I think to myself, "Wow, they're all waiting for Whole Foods to open" and promptly descend into the sweaty hell that is the F train and I don't give it another moment's thought. Turns out these folks were in line to buy a $15 limited edition shopping bag. And, now, I think, "What suckers." These bags apparently caused riots in Taiwan, where 30 people were hospitalized (I kid you not) and similar melees in Hong Kong and elsewhere. And you thought standing around for hours for an iPhone was lame! And, by the way, these bags are selling for over $300 on eBay, which probably reveals the real reason a lot of folks were in line. You can buy similar canvas bags (without the holier-than-thou slogan) at other NY supermarkets for like, a buck. Oh, and I understand people left carrying their canvas bags ... in a Whole Foods plastic bag.

Now, as the NYT article above describes, the gazillion plastic bags we've unleashed on the environment are a serious problem. I witnessed a remarkable display of this traveling by train through Morocco and would see huge fields stretching for acres upon acres - probably square miles - littered, blacked with hundred, probably thousands of these black plastic bags they place fruit and veggies in within the medina. It was as clear an example of the Tragedy of the Commons as I've seen.

  • Apparently, the bags are made in China using cheap labor.
  • And look, Trader Joe's are way cooler anyway.
  • There's a satirical version of said bag, of course.
  • Globototes look like a handsome and much cheaper alternative, too.
  • Gothamist story from which I ripped off some of these links. This guy in the comments proves even more cynical about this whole event than me:
    I waited in this line, bought three bags, and now have an extra $300+ in my pocket that I will use to pay down some credit card debt. This whole operation was a joke - the "I'm NOT a plastic bag" bags were given to me inside a Whole Foods plastic bag. I don't feel bad in the slightest for taking advantage of the "it's hip to be eco-friendly" girls that I sold these bags to. We're all powerless to stop this rampant consumerism that plagues this country anyway.

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