I am a fan of Publix supermarkets for the affordably-priced essentials and, returning from a 4-year stint in New York, arrived back in Miami to find my neighborhood stores had made significant improvments to shopping environments, product offerings and had even initiated environmentally-friendly business practices. Congratulations Publix, your reusable canvas bag program is hands down great CSR. However, are people like me who don’t yet use canvas bags (everyone who shops at Publix) to resort to leaving the store with 15 plastic bags each filled with no more than two items each? Eggs I can understand might warrant their own, but I find myself constantly having to ask employees bagging my groceries “mucho en cada bolsa por favor.” My hunch is this negligence is not their fault. So I ask you Publix, could you please look into instituting some practices to try to limit this unnecessary waste? Here are some budget-friendly suggestions:
- TRAINING FOR EMPLOYEES: Re-define what a perfect bagging job is, educate employees on the correct way and then make it mandatory as part of their job descriptions for cashiers and baggers to ask customers if they would like to fill their bags up all the way. When done right, space can be filled without making bags too heavy or having to double bag. First off, the old school way was grouping pantry with pantry (cans with cans,) frozen with frozen, etc. This sorting comes at a price, because bulkier items find their way into the same bag, so less can go in before double bagging happens or the bagger moves on to the next bag. It is very easy to fill bags to the top, with weight evenly distributed, by mixing different kinds of goods into one bag. Customers can sort things in their kitchens, and we can help educate them about this new standard.
- PROMOTION TO CUSTOMERS: Let customers know about this new training/rule for employees and how with a few words (“fill them all the way”) people can limit waste. People are lazy – that’s why all those canvas are still sitting on the displays. So let them know they can start doing their part too by simply asking baggers to “fill them all the way.” Also give them the option to point out to management if they aren’t asked and if bags/bag-space is wasted. Customers can be eligible for coupons/discounts if they catch and mention violations. Strengthen the message by calculating how many bags could be saved per year if people filled them to the brim rather than half (or in most cases, less than half) way.