Today I had an interesting experience. I went along to the local Warehouse (the New Zealand answer to Walmart), looking for a Tamagochi for my daughter's 9th birthday - it's her requested gift. The stores I visited on the weekend were all sold out. While there I chose a few things - some foam sabres (don't ask) and a big box of fireworks for Guy Fawkes - yes I know, its all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
At the counter I noticed the cashier refused to give another customer a plastic bag for her purchases: 'We don't do them anymore.' The lady had a number of little things, she was baffled and, I thought, felt a little bullied. I didn't get a bag either.
I came back later in the day with Zoe - she said she wanted a walkie talkie set so she could talk to one of her school friends - hey, you're only nine once. So we found a set she was happy with, picked up some batteries and presented ourselves to the counter. Again, no bag.
Here's the thing. The warehouse are inconveniencing their customers without explaining. It would seem to me an ocassion when a managed conversation with customers would be warranted. The consequence is that we feel victimised or denied. Not a useful position for a significant retailer. Though they are trying to do right, they aren't - and then there's the small matter of the landfill products they sell.
I had a coffee after my first visit to the Warehouse (you should visit the Milford mall - it's quite posh), flipping through MindFood magazine I noted a story about Good brand bottled water - lauding them for their rightiousneous. Ok, small problem - bottled water is the devil's work in New Zealand - tap water is as good as it gets.
Aside from the packaging (the bottles are made from biodegradable stuff - though the sipper tops are not), the energy required to produce the product…the whole shooting match…Bottled water might well be profitable but it is a disastrous product that cannot be considered sustainable under any circumstances. (Read article in Healthy Food Guide)