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When A Tree Falls In The Forest, Will Anybody Hear?

writer x

My local grocery store is a gold mine of annoying things: kiddie shopping carts, store sidlers, empty express checkout lines, and overly flair-pinned store clerks who are always extremely helpful but only when you don’t need any help. The grocery store is also big into pushing their colorful plastic grocery sacks, and count on lots of guilt at checkout if you dare ask for the standard brown paper bag. Warning: I think they take your picture à la mug shot style and post it on the door if you slip up and ask for plastic.

Yesterday, I noticed a brand-new banner near the front doors of my grocery store. It was impossible to miss and looked like one of those homemade signs from high school promoting Senior Prom except the sign said “SAVE A TREE! SAVE A FOREST!! BUY A GROCERY BAG TODAY!!!” in bright red, environmental green, and fluorescent yellow letters. There were lots of exclamation points, happy faces, and flowers sprinkled throughout to give it a nice touch. Clearly it was painted by a former cheerleader who’s never been able to progress beyond high school. Still, snaps to the cheerleader/grocery store manager for the pretty sign and who wouldn’t want to save a forest?

So, while my grocery store is busy saving a forest, I wondered about the other forest it was destroying with the bazillion grocery flyers it mass-produced every week. It’s kind of like your bank berating you to “go green” and opt for on-line banking statements but then thinks nothing of mailing you dozens of shiny credit card and home equity promotions every week.  It’s called irony.

The plain grey grocery flyer at my local grocery store doesn’t contain any coupons, only promotional tidbits of information about new products, recipes, and wine specials. (Two-Buck Chuck, anyone?) I rarely read it, simply because I visit the grocery store every week and practically have the store memorized and organic strawberries and balsamic salad dressing are only so exciting.

Besides, here’s the thing about the five-page grocery flyer: I receive it in the mail each week. When I arrive at the grocery store, there’s a copy waiting in the grocery cart. When I walk through the front door, a clerk is standing at the entrance with a stack of them and handing them to every customer who walks through the door—whether you want it or not. When I check out, the cashier stuffs another one in my grocery bag. I figure that the branch of one tree (at least) is destroyed each week simply to give me a grocery flyer that I never read.

When I queried the store manager about the flyer and how it related to their whole  Save the Forest campaign, she mumbled and said that the flyers were printed on recycled paper. But so are the paper grocery bags? I replied. She shrugged her shoulders. I guess that makes it okay.

Then she asked if I wanted to buy their $4.99 non-recyclable plastic grocery sack and gave me another flyer.

::Writer X also writes at The 100 Most Annoying Things::

July 13, 2009 10:36 am

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