Beckerman column: A bag within a bag
When I lived in the suburbs, I used to keep a dozen reusable grocery bags in my car to replace the disposable plastic bags they used at the stores. Naturally, I would always forget to take them in, and then I’d have to make a mad dash to my car to get my bags, mid check-out, while a line of annoyed shoppers formed behind me. I thought it was okay for them to wait five minutes while I saved the Earth.
When we moved back to the city, though, I had a problem. Without a car, I didn’t have a place to keep all my reusable bags when I went shopping. Now, I had to carry them with me, and the challenge was to find something small enough to fit in my handbag but still big enough to carry all my groceries.
“I need a bag for my bag,” I told my husband.
“I need a small bag that becomes a big bag that I can fit in my regular bag.”
“Still not following you,” he said.
“Ugh!” I said. I was frustrated that my husband didn’t get it until I realized this must be how he feels when he tries to explain technology to me.
Since my husband would clearly be no help, I decided to do some research online. I discovered that apparently, I was not the only woman on the planet with this problem. When I searched “small reusable tote bag,” I was rewarded with a list of literally hundreds of items that would work for me. There were cotton bags and nylon bags. Dog print bags and cat print bags. Folding bags and zipper bags. There were so many bag options it was clear I was going to need a bag just to keep my brain in after my head exploded from all the bag options.
I finally selected the material, print, and closure I wanted and ordered one, just to make sure I liked it before I ordered more.
Four days later my package arrived. It was the size of a small pony.
“What the heck is that?” asked my husband.
“Remember I told you I needed a small bag that would become a big bag that I could fit in my regular bag?”
“Vaguely,” he said. “I thought that was just a bad dream.”
“Well, I ordered one,” I said and pointed to the extremely large cardboard box.
“I’m not sure, but I think your small bag might get big enough to carry a jet plane in it,” he said as we both eyed the package warily.
I got out the scissors to open the package and sliced through the tape. Inside the box was another box with the name of the company on it. And inside that box was my bag … and 99 more just like it.
I was dumbfounded, and quickly went back online to check my order. I scanned the information and realized I had indeed ordered one. One case. One case of one hundred bags. I now needed a suitcase to carry all my small reusable tote bags.
Unfortunately, the bags had a no return policy, which did not seem like a big deal when I thought I was ordering one small nylon bag. But now that I had a hundred bags, it was more of an issue.
When I explained my error to my husband, he looked at the bags and shook his head.
“So, now what are you going to do?”
I thought for a minute and then turned to him.
“Do you need a bag for your bag?”
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