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Stores charging us to do their advertising?

Original post made by Shopper, Palo Verde, on Aug 17, 2013

As this is a busy back to school shopping season, it has struck me whether there is anything illegal about stores charging us to carry their advertising on the bags they now charge us for.

When buying expensive clothing, or new binders, folders and notebooks, we may not want to use the same bags that are used for groceries so tend to agree to buy a bag for 10c (or someplaces more). Should we then have to buy the stores bags complete with logos for all the world to see where we have been shopping? Should we let fellow shoppers know that we have been shopping in Nordstrom or Walmart? Is it ethically right or even legal to pay to do the stores advertising? Should we be within our rights to expect neutral bags when we pay for them? I don't mind it when bags are free, but not when we are charged.

I think that if we are paying for the bags, we should get blank bags with no advertising. What do others think?

Comments (15)

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Posted by buy your own bags
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Shopper - there are plenty of places that sell simple, reusable bags. If you don't want to buy the stores bag, bring your own along. Stores have every right to put their names on the bags, they don't force you to buy them.

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Posted by Dontcha
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm

"When buying expensive clothing, or new binders, folders and notebooks,"

I have lots of kids that I work with that would love your problem.

o/t: I always have a rule of thumb... if an anonymous post has five or more questions, it's a rant, or a someone trolling for a debate. Or if the title has 3 or more question marks.

Dontcha think????


So sorry you are out of plain bags. Or have so many new clothes that you can't carry without a bag. Oh, the horrors!

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 17, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Shopper-- you are not being forced to buy bags. You do not have to shop at any f the stores that sell bags with their logos.
You can talk to your council members about passing alw banning logos on bags you buy in palo alto. That sounds like an issu our council members can sink their teethinto. In fa t, if you can convince Liz that plenty of people are upset like you are, i am sure that she will declare that she is the guardian of shoppers not being forced to advertise for store. Maybe you can convince Karen that it historically people got logo less bags when they shopped. Or maybe Greg will feel there will be a photo op involved.
Bottom line, ignoring the above sarcasm, this is a non issue

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Posted by Professor Villian
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I concur with Shopper. I want to take Trader Joe's bags into Whole Foods.

Another pet peeve I have is Whole Foods asking customers for donations, where I am assuming that this amount counts as Whole Foods' own tax deductible contributions to charity. I prefer to make my own donations which I can write off my taxes, rather than support the executive ownership of Whole Foods with whom I disagree on social issues.

I have purchased many reusable bags, but I usually end up stopping somewhere unexpectedly, and, like shopper, if I buy an item of clothing, I don't want it going in a used grocery bag, just like when I buy a t-shirt at Costco I get squeamish with it on the wet and dirty conveyor belt.

How about if Whole Foods automatically donates the 10 cent bag fee, and keep their advertising? That would be OK by me.

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Pay to carry other peoples advertising.... Now you have hit on the real reason behind the bag laws.

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Posted by Plenty of bags
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I have never used a bag with a logo except for the free one Trader Joe gave out when the store opened. There are lots of plain bags for sale all over and they are cheap.
I've never worn a t-shirt with an advertising logo on it and the people around me would never wear one either. This has been going on for years. Maybe you just noticed it. And on sneakers.
And how often does one shop at the department stores? Not a big deal.

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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm

First, I really hate people who complain about the manner in which people post. Some arbitrary thing like if you post 5 questions or more it is a rant and not a post ... according to who, and what are you going to do about it? Nothing, just trying to discredit someone's ideas without putting forth any effort. Now, that's trolling.

Second. I see the poster's point, but it is so minor and moot as to not really make any difference. Maybe the bags would cost more if they did not have the store's logo on them? And, I for one never go parading around town with a grocery bag visible enough for anything to see it as advertising. I mostly take them home and use them for garbage bags or wrapping paper in some cases. They spend most of their lives in my utility closet.

I am conscious of this though to as Plenty of bags said. I never use anyone's bags or T-shirts in public. As one who does not like advertising let me tell you the amount of ads popped in front of my eyes on the Internet is getting to the point where I just want to cut the damm thing off.

They pop up ads in the middle of videos, they pop up ads while pages are loaded to stop them loading, or block your view.

Before you watch a video they jam an ad in front of you, and then when the video ends if you are not fast enough it starts another one. Even if you go to a page where you do not want to even watch the video the video ad starts and cannot be paused of shut off.

They make pages load slowly so that all you see is the ads instead of the content that loads later.

And it is only going to get worse as they figure out every possible way to make us watch as many ads as possible while giving us as little content and information as possible, and thus we slide into an Orwellian state within two generations and the kids will not ever even know. That is what is sick, not that some grocery stores have a leftover inventory of bags with their logos on them.

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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm

> First, I really hate people who complain about the manner in which people post.

Sorry, that should read ....

I really hate it when people complain about the manner in which other people post.

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Posted by PAHS88
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2013 at 11:05 am

"Plastic please" is my response, as the bags are great for dog poop and have built in handles, household trash, wet garbage. Don't let me forget picking other other owners' dog poop. How many dog owners *buy* plastic doodoo bags? People throw away their kitty litter buckets and turnaround and buy plastic buckets from the big box hardware stores? What, you actually buy kitchen trash bags? C'mon people, you aren't martyrs for having a reusable grocery bag. Free, reusable bags, for me!

I've exceeded my limit of question marks...

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Posted by leigh
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 21, 2013 at 8:00 am

Bags with logos! Stores following Palo Alto law to charge for bags! People reusing bags for the environment! So much more important than world hunger, crimes and wars!

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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I know I just assumed that when these paper bags were sold to us, they would be PLAIN BROWN BAGS.
Seems faintly dishonest to me to be paying them instead of their paying us.
I also feel, going in very often not with my multi-use cloth bags but with one of THEIR old paper bags, that I look like a shoplifter. I might even absent-mindedly put something in that bag and then actually be an inadvertent shoplifter.
Oh, and by the way, some of those bags you can supposedly use lots of times develop holes before you know it.

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Posted by golly
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm

"Seems faintly dishonest to me to be paying them instead of their paying us."

He says, wearing his Lacoste alligator... while G delivers selected ads with his search results.

Oh, the problems we have! Finding a bag with the correct logo can drive a person crazy!

The perils of modern life.

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Posted by buy your own bags
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

This is just silly - local businesses did not decide that they were going to charge for bags, various government agencies decided for them (depending on where the store is). For 99 cents you can buy a reusable bag with no logo.

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Posted by Shopper
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Isn't the point of all this the fact that we are now being charged for bags, if we forget or want a clean bag for clothes, at a much higher cost than the stores pay for them. Walking around Stanford, I could shop in several high end stores paying a couple of hundred dollars for my purchases and yet still get charged 10c (soon to be 25c) for me to carry bags around Stanford advertising where I have been. I may want to look hip carrying an Apple bag, sexy carrying a Victoria Secret bag, and upmarket carrying a Nordstrom bag, and now pay to do so.

If I go to Target or Walmart and pay for a bag, I run to the car to hide my bags as soon as possible.

Not sure what happens when I buy a paper bag and wait for a bus in the rain and it disintegrates. Not sure about picking up dry cleaning in the rain (do I bring my own plastic garment bag?). Not even sure what happens when the schools ask us to cover textbooks in brown paper bags, do we have to buy those or is it now illegal to ask us to pay for brown bags for book covering since we are not allowed to be charged for PE clothes.

It is not just the practice that is ridiculous but the practicality is too. I take bags with me just about all the time, but I do forget or impulse buy or have the bags in the wrong car.

I don't like being taken for a fool, and I fear that this law is making me. We are all being taken for fools and as someone famous once said "the law is an ass".

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Shopper-- you should take it up with the council-- they want to be perceived as the " green" leaders in the area. This ridiculous bag ban is all part of that.
Maybe we can launch a referendum on the issue.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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