When I went to collect my dry-cleaning for the first time, I had to a lot to pick up. Most of the clothes I’d brought with me from SydneyÂ had beenÂ crushed beyond recognition. I nearly failed to recognise them myself, when they were presented to me. That’s primarily because each item was smothered by a huge triangular piece of paper on which was emblazoned the words: We Love Our Customers! The paper triangle, as I’ve since discovered, comes in a variety of sizes to suit the item you’ve paid to have dry-cleaned and comprehensively packaged. It also serves no discernible purpose whatsoever.
At the grocery store, which is manic no matter which time of day or night I attempt to shop there, the concept of conserving plastic or reducing the number of shoppings bags used per customer is yet to catch on here. On the contrary, at the checkout muster – and muster is the only word for it – there are people whose dedicated roleÂ it is to place a large brown paper bag inside ofÂ each plastic shopping bag, prior to packing it while the checkout operator rings up my bill. The other day I really screwed with their minds when I brought along my ‘Norton St Grocer’ canvas shopping tote and asked to pack it myself. It made no sense to them at all.