Market Totes

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 in Things


There’s no easy way to take this on.  I will simply ask for dispensation.   I have a thing for bags.  Fortunately those closest to me understand this and have their own bag demons. 

This extends to re-usable shopping bags / market totes / call them what you will.   The greenest thing to have done would have been to use the first 3 or 4 I acquired and turned my head away from the siren call of the others. 

This did not happen.

I have many.

The larger early versions from Ikea have mostly turned into laundry totes.  The “stylish” ones from Metropolitan Market seem to come and go.  There are many others in between, including an old canvas tote that stays in the pile of shopping bags despite the severe unlikeliness of use.  That one has blue cats on either side and came from a little store in Key West more than 10 years ago.  I purchased it in the heat of the moment and while it does have nice memories, it’s too….  kittycat for me.  I suspect that were I to use it consistently, eventually I would run across a friendly man who would want to chat about the cat in that store who wore Mardi Gras beads and a hat and had I been there and Key West is better than Fire Island and… well.  Either that or the kittycat ladies would think I’m one of them.  

If you happen to think I’m insane, there are plenty of articles on the web discussing the merits and style of specific resusable shopping bags. 

My best bag, that I love the very most right now is my Pickle bag from London.  It has long handles, it’s from a beautiful shop, the typography is good, there is no URL, and it’s canvas. 

Second runners up: My “vintage” PCC canvas bag even though the purple on it ruined a load of wash, and my Lopez Community Land Trust canvas bag.  And my Rancho Gordo bags, but they’re a slightly different shape so I consider them a slightly different category since they do not have gussets on the bottom and therefore are more suited to either lightweight shopping or a stroll through the farmer’s market. The best bags have a little structure to stand up, are canvas (age well and are biodegradable), have long handles for shoulder carrying, but not so long as to drag when held at your side, have something groovy printed on them but not a URL or a corporate event and ideally if it’s a store name it’s a store that you genuinely are happy patronizing.

The others are…  so… disposable.  Ok, so the Ikea ones… a little too big for regular shopping.  The ones from various stores with the store name… eh.  I’m not a fan of store names unless I’m damned happy with the store.  Which is highly limiting.  URLs on bags like that are annoying.   I’d carry my market basket from Aix en Provence that I drug all over France because I wanted a damned shopping basket, but that might be just a little too much.  There’s a fine line between cute/hip and twee sometimes.  Worse, the line is more blurry between cute/hip and twee and dumb asshole.

Still with me?  So, for much the same reason I generally have ONE coffee cup that I use all the time (oh, we’ll get back to that, don’t fret) I tend to use just the Pickle bag and the runners up.  The others are there for emergencies, trips to Costco, wet clothes, etc.  

If you CAN pick the one that makes you happy, shouldn’t you?