Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Walgreen's Goes Soviet-Style: Do You Want a Bag For That?

Gum at Red Square: No Shirts, No Shoes,
No Service and Bring Your Own Bag

Some years back I read that the large Soviet-era Moscow department store Gum, required their customers to bring their own bags.

Gum was a one place shopping venue for Russians to buy just about everything from shoes to groceries -- that is on those rare occasions when the store actually had shoes or groceries in stock.

And they had so little respect and concern for the customer that they wouldn't even supply a simple convenience such as a bag.

Now it seems, the Deerfield-based national drug store chain, Walgreens is going the same route.

After you pay for your purchase at Walgreens these days, the clerks ask you, "Do you want that in a bag?"

Walgreens Clerks Now Ask You If You Want A Bag
This is obviously a new corporate Walgreens policy, although the clerks I have asked deny it.

At three different Walgreens stores -- Howard & Western on the Evanston/Chicago border, Milwaukee & Western in Bucktown and in the Loop -- I have been asked by clerks: "Do you want that in a bag?"

Once, when my purchase was a six-pack of Walgreens' excellent house brand beer, the clerk asked: "Do you want that in a bag?"

I said, no, I'll just tie the six-pack to my belt and walk down the street and pull off the cans and chug them as I go along, the way the Canadians do --- of course I want it in a bag.

The provision of a bag to shopping customers is a convenience stemming from the free-market understanding that the consumer is king. Bags for American shoppers are as customary as providing cream and sugar for a restaurant customer's coffee.

But apparently infected with some corporate fixation on "going green," Walgreens has decided to "go Soviet" --- and to let the customer be damned.


  1. Did you look at your receipt? They may have charged you for that bag!
    That's what happened to me, I bought something and looked at the receipt afterwards and there was a nickel charge on the receipt.

  2. No I didn't and I'll be sure to look next time. I know Aldi charges you for bags, but they have let it be known that it was a cost-cutting store policy since their beginning.


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.