Thursday, March 01, 2007

Experiment Accomplished

I finally had time to do my little experiment at work, and of 40 transactions, I used 91 bags. that averages out to about 2.275 bags per person. Granted, I was on the express lane, but still, that's a lot of bags. The odd thing to think about is, it's not even Christmas time! Can you imagine how many bags that people use at Christmas time? And with the massive amounts of people that shop around then as well. Holy smokes!


Michelle Verges, Project Director said...


Reading your post was a wonderful way for me to start my day! Thank you updating everyone on your experiment. Of course your experiment has got me thinking: I wonder how many bags on average are consumed in regular lanes? I also have other questions that you may be able to answer. What was the variability in your experiment? And was this distribution fairly normal or skewed? If you could post an update on those data that would be awesome (or we could talk about it in class, your call).

I can't say this enough: I'm so impressed with your initiative to find out more about the consumption of plastic bags. Your experiment provides us with more insight into this issue.

Ashley, you rock!

:0) M

Michelle Verges, Project Director said...

Oh, and another question: How long did it take for you to pass out 91 bags? Was it a slow or busy night at Target?

:0) M

kimlynch said...

I think this was an interesting experiment. I think one way to reduce the number of bags when you're the cashier on express is to ask customers with only an item or 2 if they even want a bag. I try to never take a bag if I don't need it and I can't tell you how many times the cashier seemed annoyed with me for disrupting the normal routine. I've seen sometimes where the item I purchased was already bagged and when I said I didn't want a bag, the cashier took my item out and threw the bag away instead of using it for the next person.

Michelle Verges, Project Director said...


That's a great suggestion because it's practical: If you don't need a bag, then don't take a bag.

And life would be much simpler if this was understood between the cashier and the consumer. Maybe cashiers should get in the habit of asking whether we need a bag if we're only buying a few items.

My reasoning is this: If I can carry those items while walking around in the store, then surely I can carry those items to my car.

Your last comment was striking: It's ridiculous to know that a cashier would throw a bag away just because one item was removed from it. Good grief!

:0) M