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Fair enough but I wonder how much of that has to do with simply being asked? Being given a bag was standard, as normal as expecting the store to be heated. An invisible service.

Now, you don't get given a bag for your Sandwich & Water at lunch, and you don't get a free bag with your McDonalds meal to name just a couple of services.

1p or 5p wouldn't make much of a difference? A Family paying 100 pound a week on shopping at a super market, can easily just spend 100.35 on 7 bags and won't bat an eye lid.

If that was 107.00 that would make a real difference and I bet the decrease would be much greater.

Behavioural economics teaches us that the jump from a price of zero to a price of 1 penny has a much, much larger effect than going from 1 penny to two pence.


The same acts in reverse.

I personally reuse the same bag every time I go shopping until it is damaged. When I walk to my local, I carry the two or three items I bought directly, rather than in a bag. I could afford to buy over a million plastic bags a year, yet I've changed my behaviour to avoid buying them whenever possible.

(In my case, it has nothing to do with being asked, as I invariably use the automated checkout machines. Bags are available for purchase adjacent to these machines, so it's not an availability problem either.)

Having spent 18+ years without a car, walking or cycling or taking the bus, I always had a backpack with me. I would often tell a clerk I didn't need a bag and I'd be ignored -- they just automatically put items in a bag. Once a 5 cent bag fee went into effect and they had to ask, I never had a problem not getting a bag. (To be fair, other places knew me and knew I didn't need a bag.)

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