I was standing in line at Walgreens yesterday, and per the usual Walgreens policy, one disinterested teenager was serving seven or eight customers waiting impatiently in line. Then, the most extraordinary, beautiful thing happened.
Each and every customer said no to plastic bags.
Some of them had their own reusable bags. One lady pulled plastic bags from her pockets like some kind of sad clown. Others, like your imperious writer, used every nook and cranny to jam various sundries and goods (candy) in our pockets.
All over ten cents?
CT’s Plastic Bag Tax
Starting in August, “retailers making sales in Connecticut of tangible personal property to the public are required to collect a $0.10 fee per single-use plastic checkout bag.” (Source: The Law)
So if you need 3 bags, you pay an extra 30 cents.
Unless it’s dry cleaning. For… reasons.
You may find it difficult to believe, but many of our definitely-not-Russian neighbors were quite furious, happily let the New Haven Register Facebook comment section know exactly what they think about yet another tax.
Which is exactly the kind of platform you need to use to enact policy change. A local newspaper’s Facebook comment section.
That’s how bills become laws!
It’s Not About the Money
It’s not really about the ten cents. For some, every cent matters, and I sympathize with that. When you’re struggling, every little thing adds up.
Connecticut isn’t a cheap place to live. New Haven being no exception.
But let’s face it — for most Connecticut residents, ten cents is probably not the line, financially.
Instead, I think it’s the simple question the cashier now has to ask: “Do you want a bag?”
Simply by putting the question of consumption in our minds, I believe our behavior is changing. It forces us to ask the question, how badly do I need this bag? Can I make do without it? Do I want to keep producing more garbage?
(I mean I keep doing comedy so yes.)
It seems like such a trivial, inconsequential change. Yet I personally witnessed every customer make that decision. And decide nah, they really didn’t need a bag that badly.
And I assure you, not every customer at my local Walgreens is some kind of hipster environmentalist.
Even conservatives are getting into it.
Ned Lamont $ucks
Being a Connecticut Conservative is not an easy task. You’re surrounded by educated, liberal elites, with their salmon-colored clothes and crystal-rimmed glasses and Bob Dylan records.
You just know you hate taxes. And this bag thing is just another tax on the working class. Ten cents here, ten cents there, next thing you know, that’s one less gun you can buy. And then how will you defend yourself when the Deep State comes and tries to take away your plastic bags, hm?
But if only there was a way to show it. A cool, smart, environmentally-friendly way to tell the Governor what you really think of him.
It’s almost TOO good. You could almost die from the irony of it.
You’re buying a custom-made canvas bag to tell the Governor to fuck off and saving the Earth at the same time.
Ned Lamont is laughing all the way to the bank!
People Get Mad About the Dumbest Shit
I recently found myself at Bradley International Airport where I witnessed one of the dumbest complaints I’d ever seen.
A woman Hudson News was buying two sweatshirts emblazoned with Connecticut on them. Y’know. Bring something home for the kiddos. Y’know how kids love sweaters which say “Connecticut” on them.
At an airport. So like, $35 each.
The cashier, an older gentleman, gives her the total, and adds, “Oh do you want a bag? Because Connecticut passed a law and it costs 10 cents now, what a ripoff.”
Sir, you are selling generic Connecticut sweatshirts at an airport for $35. The granola bars here cost three bucks.
At an airport Hudson News, the plastic bag is the best deal you have in this store.
It’s Actually Working
You know how well the Connecticut Single Use Plastic Bag Fee is working?
Connecticut is now running a deficit because, per Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw, “Our consumers and businesses have adapted to the overall environmental goals associated with the levy on single-use plastic bags far faster than anyone initially forecasted, therefore we have lowered our revenue expectations on the plastic bag tax by nearly 75%.” (CTNewsJunkie.com)
We’re already using 75% less plastic bags than they thought we could.
That’s a good thing. We’re so pissed off by this new tax we’re going to accidentally pollute the Earth way less than they thought we would.
Take that, Ned Lamont. I’ll buy a reusable bag with your stupid face on it and use that bag to offset my waste.
This is Connecticut
Nothing could be more on-brand for Connecticut than our government trying to use a fee to discourage a polluting factor, everyone here getting all pissed off about it, and it ends up working better than anybody thought.
So, what’s up next, tolls?