On Friday I did not finish my lunch sandwich, and so the server kindly wrapped up half of it for me.

I cocked an eyebrow when she brought it back to me, though, since it looked like this.

bag and plastic leftovers container

My half-sandwich came back in a plastic clamshell container big enough to hold several sandwiches, which was placed in a bag large enough to hold about 20 such containers. Seemed like overkill to me. Even at considerably fancier restaurants I’ve gotten my leftovers back simply wrapped in aluminum foil, for example. (Swan shape optional.) It also doesn’t help that it’s unlikely I’ll even eat the rest of the sandwich, since it wasn’t all that good in the first place.

Aside from being awfully wasteful, not green, etc. (though supposedly it’s all recyclable), I tend not to have much tolerance for bad packaging. A combination of awareness of waste and my own general clumsiness — having resulted more than once in nearly amputating various body parts while just trying to access something I’ve bought that’s trapped in apocalypse-proof plastic.

I’ve got even less tolerance for bad packaging after being alerted to this recently: Frustration-Free Packaging. While not a universal solution by any means, it’s good to see a proactive response from company that’s been raked over the coals so many times for the egregious waste its packaging typically produces — multiple cardboard boxes, miles of bubble wrap, mountains of air-filled plastic cushions.

Now, if only I could consistently remember to bring along my reusable grocery bags when I go shopping… (Though I’m sure the stores don’t mind at all that I keep buying more.)

3 Comments on Wrapped in an enigma, then bubble wrap, then sealed in plastic…

  1. Hmm, this post seems a wee bit contrived. Especially coming from a woman who asks for her leftovers to-go when in fact she has no intention of eating them, and admittedly doesn’t consistently remember to bring along reusable grocery bags. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  2. For some reason, I always figured that the grocery stores were selling those reusable grocery bags at a loss. Do you think they really make money on them?

  3. @DJL – I was thinking about that at one point, and I think it’s actually possible. I base that on what similar bags cost when I did promotions, taking into consideration that that was >5 years ago, and that the volume we’d be talking for grocery stores is vastly more than what our company bought.

    Add to that that the more people buy reusable bags, the fewer plastic bags grocery stores have to buy, which, while extremely cheap, I’m sure, are an expense, and a repeated one, plus they don’t make any money on them like they potentially do with reusable bags (even if it’s not much). And there’s always the possibility that reusable bags are subsidized by somebody other than the grocery stores. In any case, profit’s not really the point, but certainly from a business standpoint the project is more appealing if they’re not losing money at it.

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