1. #748 – The Plastic Bag Ban!

    857 Reasons and Counting!

    IT’S BEEN a month, folks!


    On January 1st, 2014, the “plastic bag ban” officially went into effect across the County of Los Angeles. Or was supposed to – compliance has been delightfully inconsistent.

    As a good, rank-and-file LA County Komrade eh, Citizen, this means that – if you didn’t already have them before the first of the year (Shame, shame, shame on you! Shame on you!) – you dutifully purchased your reusable shopping bags at the beginning of January, placed them in your car so they’re at the ready for your next trip to the market…and have forgotten them every goddamn time you’ve gone shopping until you’re already in line at the checkout.


    The plastic bag ban is of course the work of our infamously idiotic LA  City Council, and believe it or not, I’m not terribly against it. I mean, I’m against the LA City Council, but c’mon, everyone is.  I’m talking about the plastic bag ban. There’s a floating sea of crap in the Pacific – and it’s not the diarrhea that the Caribbean Whosess cruise ship is currently leaving in her wake (wrong ocean). No, I’m referring to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is apparently full of plastic bags.

    So you want to get rid of them? That’s (mostly) fine by me. The thing is, they’re perfect for use as a cushioning agent [industry term] for those of us who sell junk on eBay and are too cheap to buy bubblewrap. See – I’m reusing them so that’s good. I’ll certainly miss ’em after I deplete my enormous stockpile (Dr. Abramson calls it my ‘hoard’ – cute!) bursting out of the garage. But I’m willing to let go.


    The biggest argument I’ve heard against the ban is that by using our municipal government-approved “reusable grocery bags” for the very purpose for which they were made, they’ll harbor dangerous amounts bacteria. Really? It’s the grocery bags that harbor bacteria?

    Here’s a visual newsflash for those germaphobic geniuses:


    (And I think we can presume the shopping carts are even worse.)

    No, the reason the plastic bag ban is one of the 857 Reasons to Leave LA is that should you forget your reusable shopping bags – and if you live here, you will – the store will now sell you paper bags – for ten cents each. It’s not up to the stores – they’re required to do it. By LA City Council Law!


    Gone are the days when grocery stores gave us complimentary bags to carry home the food we just purchased from them. What’s next? The end of green stamps?!


    Is there a way to fight the Bag Ban? Yes and no. Thank Christ I live close enough to the edge of the border so I can slip into reasonable Ventura County and request, née, demand that every brick of ramen, every Mama Celeste pizza, every single 25¢ snack size bag of Utz pork rinds (and I buy a lot of them) that I purchase at Ralphs is placed in its own plastic bag. (If they give me trouble I just tell them it’s a religious thing, and then I start yelling a lot of throaty halalala gibberish.)

    Conversely, when I’m feeling particularly persnickety, sometimes I’ll drive twenty miles out of my way – as you would – to Whole Foods in tony Santa Monica and when the cashier asks if I need to purchase a bag, I announce, loudly, “Nope, brought my own!” and – with a theatrical flourish worthy of the Great Ballantine himself – yank from my pocket one of these dolphin blow-hole clogging beauties:


    And if I want to really stir the pot, I’ll make sure a pack of cigarettes and a mohel knife clatter to the floor when I pull out the bag.

    Sometimes I’ll even get on my cell phone and say something like “Disoriented mountain lion in Palisades Park? Shoot it if you have to – I’m teaching a fitness boot camp there in twenty minutes.” It’s kind of overkill, sure, but you know these Santa Monicans! They’re not happy unless they’re outraged.

    Posted by on February 1, 2014, 9:00 AM.

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