Nannies Bag Another Victory
Life has a way of creating ironic moments when you least expect it. For example, on Sunday my wife and I were returning from celebrating the long Independence Day holiday in the Eastern Sierra. Arriving back home in the sweltering Crescenta Valley, we made a quick stop at our usual local grocery store to pick up some provisions for the coming week.
Upon checking out, the young store employee who would normally have already started bagging our groceries just looked at us blankly and muttered, “Did you bring your own bags or do you want to buy some?” I returned his conversational lob with, “Um … what?”
“Your bags. Did you bring anything to put your stuff in? Or did you, like, wanna buy paper bags for ten cents each?” he parried.
It might have been the stunned look on my face, or maybe my wife sensed that the conversation was about to get ugly, because she jumped in with, “Since when do we have to bring our own bags?”
At this point, the checker came to the rescue of her underling and informed us that as of July 1, thanks to new Glendale city regulations, stores are no longer allowed to provide customers with plastic bags and could only load up customer-provided reusable bags or use paper bags. And apparently, our “home” store has decided to gouge its customers a dime per paper bag.
Sensing our obvious frustration, the poor checker must’ve thought it would soften the blow to inform us that, “In January, all of L.A. County will outlaw plastic bags.”
At that exact moment, I could’ve sworn I heard a post-July 4th fireworks rocket explode out in the parking lot. Turns out it was just another one of our liberties going up in legislative smoke.
The term “nanny state” is defined as “a government perceived as authoritarian, totalitarian, interfering or overprotective” which, unfortunately, sounds an awful lot like the state (and country) we live in today.
Then again, I shouldn’t have been surprised that the powers-that-be would have gone after yet another one of our contemporary conveniences. Like most good progressives they have successfully set their sights (excuse the violent gun-related reference) on plastic bags, having already taxed, over-regulated or outright banned certain light bulbs, flush toilets, smoking, salt, trans fats, saturated fats, guns, helmets, pledges of allegiance, high fructose corn syrup, oil, meat, carbon dioxide, fireplaces, school vouchers, conservative talk radio, voter IDs, Christmas carols, manger scenes, coal, home schooling, fast food, soda, pesticides, large homes, large families, large SUVs, spanking, discipline, responsibility, gasoline-engines, minimum wage, the Bible, genetically modified foods, accountability, personal responsibility.
To be fair, the nanny numbskulls in far too many positions of influence and authority are very much in favor of some things, like seatbelts, air bags, electric cars, abortion, the use of drones against U.S. citizens, taxes, even bigger government, condoms, sex ed in grade school, Plan B pills in middle school and day care centers in high school. Oh, and they definitely are in favor of control and power. Lots and lots of power.
Now, plastic grocery bags may or may not be the environmental plague that do-gooder activists and politicians claim them to be. I only know that in my own travels to countless areas of our city, county and country, I have yet to look around and think to myself, wow, we’re being overrun by plastic grocery bags – there ought to be a law! On the other hand, graffiti on public property, ugly retail strip malls and adult males wearing their baseball caps backwards are a real and present blight I wouldn’t mind seeing legislated out of existence.
For the time being, at least, we still live in the land of the relatively free. Unless, that is, you’re talking about grocery bags. Then you’d better be ready to pay up.
I’ll see you ‘round town.