Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Small story about a Small Action creating Small Change

One nice thing about the location about my flat is that it is 2 min walking distance away from a MORE grocery store. This is very convenient when I randomly remember that I need something.

I generally go to MORE from home, so I take bags with me, which which I can bring home my groceries or if its small enough, stuff the things into my fairly large purse (whose size I actually chose for this purpose).

When you go to MORE, like any other grocery store, the cashier or his assistance automatically starts to put things in plastic bag. The first few times, I got strange looks and had to repeat myself when I would ask that they not put my groceries in plastic bags (and I don't think that was because they didn't understand my Gujarati accent). Over the course of a couple trips, I kept getting the same cashier, who asked me the third time he rang up my bill why I didn't take their bags. I quickly explained how plastic bags are bad for the environment, cause cancer and cow deaths and he seemed to appreciate the information. When I was about to leave, he stops me and asks, "Mam, can you fill out our comment form?"

I look and the form and am about to tell him that I needed to go, when he interjects my thoughts and adds, "I think you should share why you didn't want to take a plastic carrying bag."

I look at the form and again, my mind tells me that there is no point. But then figure what the heck, there is no harm. I quickly fill out the form stating that MORE should discourage stop providing plastic bags or encourage customers to bring their own bag (by potentially providing a financial incentive like stores in N. America do) as that will show that the company cares about environment, which is good for the company's image (I had to pitch it in corporate terms). I had the cashier the form and proceed home.

After that day, whenever the cashier rang up by bill, he never gave me a plastic bag. Through my small action, one other person learnt about the dangers of plastic bags.

An even bigger surprise came a month or two later. I walked into MORE after a long time and noticed a new sign on their announcement board behind the cashier and near the vegetables. It read:

MORE has not stopped giving plastic bags, but it atleast had taken one step in the right direction. Who said that you can't be the change?

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