When being eco friendly becomes a scam to make money

There is no surer way to put people of caring for the environment that to feel that a scam is going on to rob consumers of money so that big business and make bigger profits.

That. sadly, is what I feel is happening at a local shop near to me, at least from my experience today.

Budgens have a franchised shop in Drayton (near Norwich) which told me, when I had done rather a lot of shopping today, at the till, that they no longer have normal plastic bags. They told me that I could pay 10 pence for a plastic "Bag for life" or I could pay £1 for a hessian style limited addition bag.

Now I don't mind the principle of paying a few pence, like they do in Ireland for a bag, as long as I have some sort of warning and don't feel like I am being ripped off. But this store had no signs up advising me of this new policy, so I had no warning that I could have bought some old plastic bags from home. So in no way has Budgens actions made me any more environmentally friendly. I used no less bags than normal, instead I was charged 10 pence for the privilege.

Surely the principles of charging for bags is to encourage the re-use of old bags, and this can only work if people are reminded that they need to do this, not given an ultimatum at the till where they have to pay too much for an expensive bag. I think Budgens are not fooling anyone if they think plastic bags cost 10 pence each to produce.

So what am I moaning about ? I've only spent 10 pence extra. But have I helped the environment ? No. All I've helped is Budgens to get richer, and for doing that I feel ripped off.

If caring for the environment means customers getting scammed by big business then nobody will take the necessary action to ensure future generations have a planet left to protect.


revinkevin said...

I would of left the shopping on the counter and left without paying.

Ex-Pat Alfie said...

Having explained why, I would have left the goods at the check out and departed without paying anything.
If like minded individuals did the same there would soon be warning notices plastered all over the store front.

Tony Sharp said...

But Nich, some people would argue the whole purpose of Al Gore's environmental crusade / witch hunt / self promotion (* del as appropriate) is to perpetuate a scam that makes him and green businesses a lot of money at the expense of those least able to afford it.

Mark said...

Politicians have to recognise that, however enlightened they think a policy may be in any area of life, profit-seekers will seek profit in it. Just because environmental harm is a concern for a politician it doesn't mean that it isn't a profit opportunity for others.

So, you restricted parking so as to reduce the number of cars in the city? Fine, householders will start 'letting' their parking spaces. (Result: same number of cars).

You wanted domestic electrical equipment to be safely recycled as an environmental measure? Fine, retailers will offer a (paid for)
service to take away your old machine when a new one arrives. (Result: increased profits from white good for the retailers as the cost of transporting new machines is paid for by the disposal of the old ones, thus encouraging more deliveries by large vans).

Politicians HAVE to get better at spotting this in this country. Policies CAN have and do have unintended consequences that can be as bad as, if not worse that, the original problem BECAUSE people act rationally.