So, off I go shopping, and actually remember to take some bags along to reuse. I arrive at the checkout, look for my wallet, and when I look back... all my items are in a store carrier bag. The assistant smiles back, happy that they've packed so many things in so little time. Like 10 milliseconds.
I've even had this happen to me when I've already put my empty bags on the counter. It seems that many sales assistants use new bags automatically, especially if they're busy, as it saves time waiting for people to unfold their reusable bags.
In the small stores where I regularly shop, I'm trying to actively point out that I've brought my own bags. Even so, the assistant in one shop refused to listen, and pointed to a tiny hole my carrier bag. She then double-bagged my purchase (two more bags!) to "make sure it all gets home safely". Arggghh!
On the other hand, I sometimes manage to dispense with bags altogether. Like at lunchtime, when I walk off with a sandwich, a drink and a bag of nuts, using nothing more than my bare hands. "Are you sure you don't need a bag?", they say. "You've got a couple of items there". I'm sure the shop staff think I'm some kind of balancing act who has escaped from the circus.
What are your experiences of trying to re-use shopping bags?
(Photo credit: "carrier_bags" adapted from an original by "How can I recycle this", licenced under CC-BY licence; obtained via http://www.flickr.com/photos/recyclethis/167934944/ )