monday musings: thwarted jars

Why must people make saving the earth more difficult than is really necessary?

Last Thursday, I was in the throes of grading and trying to finish up my two classes. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happened and we ran out of coffee. I asked Justin if he would go get more and, while he was on that side of town, stop at the wine store. My amazing husband agreed and dutifully loaded up our jars to head to the grocery store.

Justin did our bulk shopping as usual. He filled the jars with our purchases and labeled them with the contents so that the cashier could do their thing. As I’ve mentioned before, we always have our jars pre-weighed so that the weight of the jar can be subtracted. When he went to pay, the cashier informed him that the store policy had changed and that they weren’t taring jars anymore. The cashier’s solution was for us to pay for the entire weight of the goods plus the jars. Feeling irritated and flustered, Justin went with it.

When he got home, he told me what had happened, and I immediately called to speak with a manager. One of the reasons that we drive 20 minutes across town (which is quite far away when we go past several grocery stores on the way) is so that we can use our jars. If they were discontinuing the policy, we were going to stop shopping there. First, I asked the manager to explain the policy. She assured me that they would still tare the jars and that the cashier was mistaken. Then I asked what we were going to do about us being overcharged (and their inventory being out of whack). She said that if I came in, she would “take care of me.” I couldn’t go back that night, but Justin went back on Saturday. 

After waiting for some time, a different manager (i.e., not the one I spoke to) fixed the issue… sort of. We were refunded $78(!). Yes, our jars really do weigh that much. But, this manager told Justin that the city has been causing them problems with people bringing their own jars. While company policy hasn’t changed, some cashiers aren’t doing taring jars anymore. /sigh. I’m not sure we’re going to keep shopping there.

On the upside, I was chatting up my cashier at the Whole Foods up the street and she said that we could bring our jars there. I’m going to do a test run during this week’s grocery trip with one jar. Hopefully, it goes well.

I know that we look a little strange to most people when we go grocery shopping. We bring our own bags and jars. We don’t bag our produce. We try to avoid plastic. All this in the name of doing our part to leave the earth a slightly better place. We’re like the black mouse (in the picture). We just want to go our own way on the wheel. 

Have your attempts to be more environmentally-friendly, frugal, or anti-consumerist been thwarted? How did you handle it?


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