The brainwashing continues…

In my office, I am now an outsider. A renegade. Someone to be chastised. Why is this? What have I done that is so terrible? I’m not a criminal. I don’t smoke dope, although that becomes more and more acceptable. I don’t cook methamphetamine. I don’t eat babies or hurt animals. No. It seems my crime is much worse than that. I am guilty of continuing to use plastic bags.

I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. People tell me I’m ‘naughty’. I’m the one telling everyone to break the rules, to do things they are not supposed to. But when I engage with people on the subject, their arguments always fall apart. “Saving the turtles’ is a popular one, but it doesn’t take much to prove that no turtles will be harmed by any of my plastic bags. “We’ve got to do something about all the plastic we use” is another favourite, but no one seems to have an answer to the fact that the ban has started with the most convenient items, and no one seems worried about all the other plastics that they take home from the supermarket. My favourite is that we should ‘all change to paper bags like we used to have’. Nobody seems to have figured out yet that this will mean massive deforestation, and exactly what will that do for our levels of CO2, which is presumably what this is all about?

No. Some oracle somewhere has spoken. No one seems to know quite who or where, but the oracle has spoken and plastic bags must not be used ever again.

Here in Lower Hutt, Countdown has not actually stopped giving out plastic bags as yet. I did ask the question and was told, in vague terms that they would be halted ‘at the end of the year’. But no one seems to know much about it, and it seems that we have escaped the chopping block, at least for the moment.?But none of this stops the virtue signalling, the bag shaming or the brainwashing.

I was walking through Countdown car park the other day and observing how many cars now have neat rows of reusable bags lined up in the back, all duly filled with groceries. It has taken no time at all to get most people to fall into line. If the media told everyone to jump off a cliff, how long would it take before there was a queue? Why do people just do what they are told without thinking things through? Because they think they are saving the planet?

If I was going to do this – and so far, I have resisted completely – I’d rather my shopping trolley look like this. At least there would be some advertising in it.

Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

Bag shaming is alive and well, however. I went up to the checkout with a reasonably full trolley and got a cold stare from the checkout person. The person before me and the one after me both had reusable bags on show, so I knew what I was up for.

“You do know that plastic bags will be going soon,” she said huffily, packing my shopping into the dreaded bags. I thought about Rodney Hide’s mouse leaping out of an unsuspecting reusable bag and thought about how lucky she was. I’m sure I could find some mice somewhere, to use especially for this purpose. Next stop, the pet store.

“Yes,” I replied. “But, until that happens, I’ll be collecting as many bags as I can, to use afterwards. I’m hoarding them, and I have quite a stack so far.”

Did I say something about being a babyeater? Her look of disgust was so bad, I expected her to call security.

Instead, she leaned back and got a reusable bag, filled it up and gave it to me for free. I said thanks…?Trouble is, I’ve got a car full of them back in the carpark. I’m trying to make a point here, and I’m getting nowhere.

However, I have managed to put the reusable bag to good use. It now holds my store of ‘single-use’ plastic bags.


At this stage, I have no reason to ‘borrow’ green supermarket baskets, like they do in Orewa, but it won’t be long. That will be the next stage. I’m looking forward to it.

It terrifies me the way people just fall into line though. Brainwashing is alive and well. It doesn’t even take much. People just seem to do what they are told without really thinking about it. And that is the scariest thing of all.