Plastic bags
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Plastic bags

With all of the craziness around panicking about not panicking, self-quarantine as opposed to mandated quarantine, hand washing, flights being canceled, the possibility that people who haven’t made Passover ever in their lives might just have to make it this year, I have been remiss in discussing a very serious topic that has not received the proper attention. 

There are no longer plastic bags at ShopRite in Paramus. Not a one. You can’t even bribe the guy at the 10 items or fewer register for one. 

They have been posting signs about this for months. On January 1, 2020, the ban began, but they still had the plastic bags because it wasn’t going to be enforced until March 1, 2020. After that, there would be a fine, felony arrests, total anarchy. Plastic bags being sold by seedy-looking characters in the parking lot, like scalpers at a Rolling Stones concert. Oh wait, I meant a Mordechai Shapiro concert (for my boys), or a Maroon 5 concert for anyone who isn’t turning 50 this year, or a Paul Anka concert for anyone who knows my parents. “Hey,” they say to you, “Ya need a bag? Five bucks…. For ten bucks I’ll throw in a mini Purell…”  It is a whole new world, kids, a whole new world.

I knew this ban was coming because I am best friends with most of the cashiers at ShopRite. I come to buy food but I stay for the amazing 80s soundtrack of my life that they always seem to be playing. In any event, I have been stocking up on those reusable shopping bags. And they happen to be very lovely — I have one with tulips on it, one with a fruit salad, one with fresh tomatoes. You get the point. Then I have a whole bunch from Stop & Shop. They aren’t as fancy, but one opens up into a portable carton with straps, so I can carry around heavier items like soda bottles (Fanta) or watermelons. (I am assuming I could put a watermelon in there. If it falls on the floor I will let you know.) Yes, I was prepared for the plastic bag ban. I must have 15 or 20 reusable bags. I neatly folded them all up and put them in the bag that turns into a carton for easy storage and then I left them on the kitchen counter and went to write my shopping list. Yes, I was prepared.

I took the list, drove to ShopRite, and realized that I left all of the reusable shopping bags on the kitchen counter. I was so hoping that husband #1 was going to notice that I had left the house without the bags and he would have called to offer to bring them to me. That would have been so nice. Right? But no, he didn’t leave the couch until I got back. Honestly, I think he was watching the YU Macs game, but it’s good to know that he still has the bladder of 30-year-old and he didn’t need to get up from his favorite place in the house.

So there I was, in ShopRite, with a long list and no bags. Fortunately, I am not the neatest person in the world, and when I opened my trunk I found a few wayward plastic bags. But I only bought enough items to fit in those bags because I was too embarrassed to admit defeat and use those paper bags with no handles. 

Next day, I take the bags and put them in my trunk. I will show them. I am prepared. I am environmentally conscientious. I get to ShopRite, walk in with my list, and realize I left the bags in my trunk. Back to the car I go. Do you see where this is going? I use the bags, empty out the groceries, forget to put the bags back in the car, and end up buying more reusable bags that I continue to forget either in my house or in my car. Or I remember to put the bags in the car, but not enough bags. Or my groceries outnumber my bags and I have a cart full of bags and then some poor loser groceries that have to sit uncovered in the cart for all the world to see. 

This new ban is not for the weak at heart. Or for us folks who might be losing it just a bit…

But I still remember to wash my hands as soon as I come home from the supermarket, and apparently that is all that matters now.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck would like to give a shoutout to Fortune, who is another boymom extraordinaire…. Why, you ask? Because she said please. Hoping everyone is staying healthy and calm.

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