As I feel the 10 cent retail checkout bag is totally evil and it gained some notoriety on SFist, I was thinking of ways that storekeepers and citizens can give the finger to the city by beating the law their own way.
If you recall the so-called "Happy Meal Toy Ban" that's being enforced by the city, the law stated that a toy cannot be given to free for kids meals if it doesn't meet strict nutritional requirements. The fast food establishments decided to say "shove it [up your ass]" to the city government by still giving out the toys, with a small ten cent charge for the toy when a meal is purchased. Basically, the law was practically useless.
When I wrote the blog entry about the toy ban, I said that charging the toy item as a separate fee is very legal. If the city said no hash browns could be given for free in your meal, the store just reduces the meal by a dollar, and charges a side hash brown as a separate item for a dollar, therefore the cost difference is the same and the law is useless.
Store owners - How to flout SF's 10 cent bag law or flick-off the city government:
- If you have the work force, go into the store parking lots and give away free grocery bags as a "random prize" for being a loyal customer.
- If you go to fairs, they always have those spin wheels for people to win little prizes like flashlights; that's all perfectly legal, so why not just spin the wheel at a grocery store and every space is a prize of a free shopping bag?
- Instead of recycling those boxes you dump out after shipments, why not give customers a free box? It's not a bag, it's a box!
- Give out coupons to your customers or use a store loyalty card: Ten cents off your grocery bill for every visit at the register (just don't mention the word "bag" on the promo).
- Encourage people to recycle their cans: Install a recycling machine, for every two cans, you get a paper bag.
- Have a non-employee or a homeless dude stand outside the store and sell bags for a nickel, or install an old newspaper machine and sell them for a nickel.
- Make the 10 cent fee a "feel good" proposition: Every bag we sell goes to raising enough money to get the ban the 10 cent law on the ballot. Or if you want to get cute: Get a bag, we'll donate 10 cents to AIDS research (bring your own bag, and you don't like AIDS research?)
- Open a Speakeasy on shopping bags, gotta know the secret knock at the customer service counter and they'll sneak a bag from under the counter.
- During the holidays, do "free gift wrapping" but it also comes with a bow that doubles as a handle.
- For large items, just get those adhesive stick-on handles. Makes carrying items easier and there's no 10 cent fee.
- Give out a punch card (or use one of those punch-card phone apps): For every ten bags you purchase, you get $1 store credit.
Citizens: How to make the 10 cent bag law a big joke:
- Go shop on state or federal property and don't pay the fee (I'm buying my postcards at Hyde Street Pier, National Park Service property). Just like the fois gras ban was limited to state law, people could go to Native American reservations and federal property for their fix as it's legal.
- Go shop outside of city/county lines. Mayor Ed Lee will wonder why there's a drop in local sales tax money.
- Pay the cashier exact change for the products, but charge the 10 cents on your credit card.
- Bring a garbage bag to the check-out line. Don't worry, it's a Hefty!
- As per Twitter user WagonMoster: "I have closet full of plastic shopping bags, I'm now going to use those when I shop, just so I can get dirty looks.
- Buy dirty videos and magazines, but refuse to pay for the bag. Carry them around with you while you get stared upon for being a pervert, but explain to people that you refuse to pay the 10 cent bag fee, and maybe get some pity while they give you a newspaper to wrap that stuff up.