Shopping Trauma (Feb09)

I don’t really like shopping – particularly when it entails actually going out of the house. I do most of my shopping on the internet. Earlier this week, I went into Yeovil for a few things. It made me even more committed to purchasing with my ‘mouse’.

First on my list was an energy-efficient, decorative light-bulb, with equivalent light to a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Given that new legislation has rather controversially banned the sale of ordinary 100 watt bulbs, buying a compact fluorescent (CFL) version should have been easy. At Toolstation they looked baffled. The chapped flipped through the catalogue to discover that they only sold 60 watt equivalents. B&Q were no better.

A quick look on the web at Energy Saving World and I find what I want in seconds.

B&Q have been leaders in environmental policy for some time. I’ve sat on a government committee with Alan Knight who used to be their Environment Manager, so I’m quite familiar with it. But going into the shop I didn’t see any evidence of this. Furthermore, I bought a garbage pail from them about 10 days ago. The first time it was emptied it broke – the bucket appeared to be brittle and got a hole in it.

On this ill-fated shopping expedition, I forgot to bring the bucket for evidence. Even though I’d telephoned in advance, they said I had to get it before they could help me further. But what really horrified me was the girl behind the customer service counter. She said that if I brought the bucket back they’d replace it with one from another bin – and then just chuck that bin away! When I challenged her about this rather wasteful approach, she said that actually, they’d probably sell the bin without the bucket at a discount price. The bin was very cheap to start with and probably imported from China so I can understand why they might take this approach but it still made me uncomfortable.

Worse was the girl’s attitude to food waste. She said she put all hers in a plastic bag and threw it in with the main rubbish. I explained to her that in South Somerset there’s a very good scheme for collecting food waste (weekly) if you put it in a brown bucket. She wrinkled up her nose in distaste and said that it might attract maggots. And she admitted she threw away masses too! Oh dear…

I’d also bought in some cardboard to take to the Scrapstore but by the time I got there they were closed. However, I did manage to get to the main recycling centre.

Wondered why the can bank wasn’t there. The chap explained that there were so many TVs and related equipment being chucked away that they had run out of ‘cages’. Digitilisation is coming….

On the way home I saw a huge flock of starlings circling and swooping. They almost made up for the shopping trauma…

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