Hate the NJ bag ban? We also hated shopping carts

I came across an offbeat article that I had to share with you. Something I’ve never experienced and find interesting given the change New Jersey has just gone through.

A few days ago, the way we shop changed forever. On May 4, grocery stores were no longer legally allowed to put things you buy in plastic or even paper bags. Now you need to bring your own reusables. Other stores are also breaking the new law if they dare to hand you a single-use plastic bag. But paper is OK if it’s not a grocery store.

Buyers are still trying to get used to it. I’ve spoken to grocery store workers who say the complaints aren’t as bad as they thought and others who say they’ve been the butt of really nasty pick words.

I’ve seen frustrated shoppers raise their hands in stores and mumble out loud how stupid they were for forgetting to bring their bags back from the car. Still others forget them at home.

Will we ever get used to this nonsense?

This is where this interesting article I came across might provide some insight.

Did you know that we don’t always have wheeled carts, only much smaller hand carts? I imagine this was back when there were fewer foods with preservatives and trips to the grocery store were more than once a week to “stock up” as families tend to do it now.



People hated the idea and refused to try them.

The shopping cart originated in the 1930s, according to CNN. Sylvan Goldman owned grocery stores in Oklahoma and he saw people stop shopping when their hand baskets became heavy and full. He introduced the much larger wheeled baskets that you could push around the store, thinking people would line up just to use them.

Nobody did.

People hated the idea and refused to try them. The women said they pushed prams all day and wouldn’t push another wheeled contraption yet. The men talked about how it would make them weak not to carry their own things.

Goldman, knowing that these complaints and concerns were ridiculous, hired people to pretend to be buyers. Their job was simply to pose as shoppers pushing these shopping carts around stores by filling them with items so that all real shoppers could continue to see other people using them.

It was basically the principle that no one wanted to be the first to dance. Soon real buyers were grabbing them too and the rest was history.

Strange to think that there was a time when no one would touch a shopping cart in a grocery store.

Maybe we’ll get used to this new reusable bag thing after all.

The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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