Author Topic: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)  (Read 6865 times)

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Charliebug

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The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« on: August 11, 2012, 07:38:12 PM »
I work as a cashier in a drugstore that had instituted a policy in the summer of 2011 whereby customers are charged 5 cents per bag if they need plastic bags. I started working there at the same time as this policy was being newly enforced  and I am sure you can guess it was not seen as a welcome change by many. 

For the first 6 months, at least, I was met with varying levels of resistance when I asked if the customer needed to purchase a bag for their purchases, most being fairly mild (eye roll, a polite "no thank you". Some just ignored the question, I believe, in the hopes I would pony up the bag and not charge because they didn't actually agree to it) However, at times I have been met with hostility towards the entire concept of bag purchasing. Everything from someone's firm conviction that the fat cats in corporate are getting rich off selling bags (perhaps they are but the whole idea is to stop people from actually using plastic bags so their long term financial plan isn't Forbes-worthy by any means) to it being government brainwashing that plastic is bad for the environment, to being told that it is absolutely ridiculous that we are even concerned about the environment since our part of the world is clean compared to China, and the list goes on.  Over the months I have cheerfully discussed the reasoning behind the policy, ignored, smiled and nodded, stared blankly, changed the subject....you name it. Now I know we are not to engage the crazy...and believe me I know who they are by now. I am wondering if there is a phrase I can use, without sounding snarky, that basically says "you wouldn't have to ever concern yourself with needing or paying for a bag if you just brought your own"?   The closest I have come is stating that "it may be a pain, but it sure has cut down on bag usage and after all, that is what this is all about" ...

Thanks in advance  ;D

Hmmmmm

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 07:52:28 PM »
I'm sure our store manager would be happy to pass your comments on to the corporate office.  Would you like me to call him over?

Yes, it does seem like nothing is free anymore. 

Many customers are seeming to like the policy as they see it saving them money on the food costs.

I'm sorry your bothered by the policy. 

I don't think you should engage in the value of the policy nor suggest they bring their own.

Sharnita

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2012, 08:49:45 PM »
I wouldn't address bag usage or any aspect on that end.  I would say "I was not involved in that decision.  You can contact corporate headquarters with questions or suggestions at the phone number/email on yor receipt."

I'mnotinsane

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2012, 11:46:19 PM »
I wouldn't suggest bringing their own bags at all.  You are trying to shut down their rant, not solve their bag problem, right?  When I worked with the public one thing that almost always shut down a rant was suggesting they write upper management, asking if they had a pen handy, here's the address.  You could offer an email address or CS phone number if applicable.  This helps because you have 1) not disagreed with them 2) are asking them to do something and 3) are being soooo helpful.  Anyone who is just complaining because they are miserable will usually backpedal at having to spend 5 minutes actually composing a letter/email.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 11:51:35 PM by KitKat »

bopper

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2012, 12:33:07 AM »
"Some people have started bringing their own bags.  Now, how many bags would you like to purchase today?"

BC12

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2012, 01:57:28 AM »
"Ugh, I knowwww. It's totally inconvenient. You might want to consider just bringing your own bag next time. I know, that's sometimes inconvenient, too, but it's better than paying for a new bag each time, right?"

I worked in the hospitality industry for a long time, and a lot of the training I received said to sympathize with the complainer using statements like, "Oh, gosh, yeah, I can see why that would cause you trouble/concern/annoyance." Of course I'm just paraphrasing here, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the wording I was instructed to use. But I found that being "buddy-buddy" with them and not using "customer service-y" language really seemed to work for me and made them more receptive to any resolution to their problem I had to offer. They felt that I was on their side and listening to them.

Of course, in doing this, you do have to be careful to never bash the company you work for or their policies. I almost did this a few times. Not good.

kglory

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2012, 04:41:44 AM »
Where I live, we have this law too -- one area got it a couple of years ago and another neighboring area got it just starting in Jan. 2012.  The response has been exactly what you are saying!

I would recommend you limit your comments to saying something like, "I hear you, but that's the law.  Would you rather carry these items or pay 5 cents for a bag?"  In other words, say "It's the law" as much as possible so they will realize it's not up for debate. 

Also, unless they are tourists to your area, if the policy has been in effect since 2011, surely they know what it is, so they don't truly need educating on the policy's goals and recommendations for what they should do going forward.  They are just making those complaints to guilt you into agreeing the policy is stupid and giving them bags for free.  So I would not even engage on that level.


ClaireC79

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 05:18:39 AM »
It's been for all of Wales for over a year now, tbh noone thinks twice now and carry their own (except for when you go to England buy something there and think 'ooh free bags I'll have two thanks')

The signs are still up though - 5p per bag

Sharnita

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2012, 07:48:20 AM »
Where I live, we have this law too -- one area got it a couple of years ago and another neighboring area got it just starting in Jan. 2012.  The response has been exactly what you are saying!

I would recommend you limit your comments to saying something like, "I hear you, but that's the law.  Would you rather carry these items or pay 5 cents for a bag?"  In other words, say "It's the law" as much as possible so they will realize it's not up for debate. 

Also, unless they are tourists to your area, if the policy has been in effect since 2011, surely they know what it is, so they don't truly need educating on the policy's goals and recommendations for what they should do going forward.  They are just making those complaints to guilt you into agreeing the policy is stupid and giving them bags for free.  So I would not even engage on that level.


I don't know that it is the law where OP is, it sounds like it is store policy?

Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2012, 08:55:24 AM »
I think you should definitely mention to your store manager how unpopular the bag charge policy is.  It's not enough to simply refer customers to management or sympathize with them.  There are a few options for the store to continue - perhaps a give away of those cheap bags that last a couple of trips, writing a nice script for the cashiers or baggers, posting an entrance sign for customers, or changing the policy to have free bags and give a discount to those who bring in their own. 
Formerly Mrs.Bart

Redsoil

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2012, 09:04:52 AM »
"I can certainly understand your point of view, but it's store policy.  Would you like to purchase a bag or would you prefer to carry the items?"
Look out... 
It's one of the Aussie Contingent!


KenveeB

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 10:34:31 AM »
Most stores with this policy also have reuseable bags for sale. If yours does, I'd try something like, "I'm sorry, I know it's inconvenient. But we have plastic bags for 5 cents, or you can get one of these reuseable ones for X and be able to bring it back next time!"

ShanghaiJill

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2012, 11:17:21 AM »
"The make us  (employees) buy them too if we make a purchase.  It's a pain."
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 10:12:31 AM by ShanghaiJill »

PeterM

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2012, 01:06:23 PM »
I worked in the hospitality industry for a long time, and a lot of the training I received said to sympathize with the complainer using statements like, "Oh, gosh, yeah, I can see why that would cause you trouble/concern/annoyance." Of course I'm just paraphrasing here, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the wording I was instructed to use. But I found that being "buddy-buddy" with them and not using "customer service-y" language really seemed to work for me and made them more receptive to any resolution to their problem I had to offer. They felt that I was on their side and listening to them.

I'm surprised you were officially encouraged to do that. One of my co-workers at the library tends to do the same thing, though I'm pretty sure it's just her nature and not the result of customer service training elsewhere. I can see how it could help with some customers, but with a lot of our patrons it just encourages them to keep going on and on about their complaints because they've found a sympathetic ear.

LeveeWoman

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Re: The Great Bag Debate....(no I do not want to debate it.....)
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2012, 01:49:29 PM »
I worked in the hospitality industry for a long time, and a lot of the training I received said to sympathize with the complainer using statements like, "Oh, gosh, yeah, I can see why that would cause you trouble/concern/annoyance." Of course I'm just paraphrasing here, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the wording I was instructed to use. But I found that being "buddy-buddy" with them and not using "customer service-y" language really seemed to work for me and made them more receptive to any resolution to their problem I had to offer. They felt that I was on their side and listening to them.

I'm surprised you were officially encouraged to do that. One of my co-workers at the library tends to do the same thing, though I'm pretty sure it's just her nature and not the result of customer service training elsewhere. I can see how it could help with some customers, but with a lot of our patrons it just encourages them to keep going on and on about their complaints because they've found a sympathetic ear.

I'd rather put up with that than someone who continues to rant in an antagonistic manner.