A winner and a question

A winner and a question

First of all, congratulations to MaryBeth from Four Silly Sisters, who will soon be toting around two adorable re-usable shopping bags, in addition to her triplets and toddler! We’re all jealous happy for you! Thanks to Stacey of Yvonne Totes for the fantastic giveaway!

Secondly, I have a question for you gals… have any of you heard anything about returning used plastic children’s cups, sippy cups, bottles, etc. for a full refund?

I was walking up to the entrance of Superstore (a local grocery store– same as Loblaws for you Eastern Canadians) this morning, when another young mom just randomly stopped me and asked me if I had plastic to return. I was a bit surprised and completely baffled and mumbled something unintelligent in response, to which she pointed at a bag in her hand full of sippy cups, etc. and asked if I had returned mine for a refund.

At this point, I suddenly began to grasp what she might be talking about and lit up with questions, probably making her wish she had never stopped me at all– “Can you bring bowls and spoons back as well? Do you need to have a receipt? Is it so that you can get safer items in their place? Who do you take them to?” and I had many more questions to ask, but I sensed that she had answered enough and so I reluctantly said thanks and goodbye.

I’m going to call after I post this, and see if their customer service desk can help me out. I watched with interest for a moment as the woman walked up to the desk and set all of her cups on the counter, but I was too far away to hear what was said, and I felt a little dumb, just standing there staring and trying desperately to read lips. I intended to go to the desk after I bought my groceries, to ask for details, but was a bit frazzled by the time I left and completely forgot.

If you know more about this than I do, I’d love to hear about it! If I find out more info, then I’ll let you know about it tomorrow most likely.

Could it really be that stores are starting to take responsibility for the health, safety and sustainability of the products they are selling, and are showing their support by helping consumers to replace these items with better alternatives? Wait, was that a pig that just flew by my window?

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  1. This may be wildly unpopular feedback but your post really got me thinking about whose financial responsibility the plastic cups are.
    Ultimately the consumer decides to buy something and if they choose something that has been sold for years and years and suddenly the story changes, is it really the store’s responsibility to pay the consumer back?

    It brings to mind a current class-action lawsuit in the States against Airborne. The suit says that Airborne made false claims about the product preventing colds. Airborne lost the suit and per the settlement is offering refunds to people who bought their product over the last few years. I could have submitted for a refund but didn’t for one reason: I never for a moment believed that a vitamin supplement would guarantee that I wouldn’t get a cold. But it would better my chances and I bought the product with that in mind. It hardly seems fair for me to claim that I was deceived and deserve a refund.

    Is it fair to demand a refund for the plastic products? True, they contain BPA but they weren’t banned at the time they were purchased. I don’t know the answer and maybe I have missed the point. I do think it is a moral as well as a financial decision on the part of the consumer.

    I hope that I don’t always seem like a contrary-mary when I comment here, Stephanie. It just shows that your blog is thought provoking!

  2. Pieces, I have no problem with your own thought-provoking responses! 🙂

    My initial thinking in this matter is not so much that the stores are giving a refund at a loss, but rather that it is like a recalled item, where the manufacturer takes financial responsibility for the product that they are putting out. Would you agree, or do you think that’s not the case? And if you disagree, then do you also disagree with returning recalled items for a refund?

    I don’t think that you’ve missed the point. I think this is another valid side of the issue. In the post that I have written to follow this up (which I can’t post today, due to unforseen blog issues), I mentioned the fact that it is our responsibility to treat the stores fairly by bringing back only what we are actually using, and by making new and safer purchases with the money at the refunding stores as much as is possible, to show our support by continuing to give them our business.

    As for where the responsibility lies, I think that it is a somewhat gray issue. I think that certainly much of it lays on the consumer, who willingly bought the item. But on the other hand, I think that if stores (and ultimately, the manufacturers) are putting out items for mass consumption, then there is a responsibility that lies in their court, too.

    Honestly, I don’t know the answer either, and I haven’t yet made up my mind to return my plastic items (few as they are). But for those that were bought recently (especially since the BPA information has been out for a little while now, although the plastics are only being removed just very recently), I think that it is definitely worth consideration, and allows for consumers to make an exchange for something healthier.

    You always bring up great points that make me think– I love it (and hate it) because now I have to take more time to consider the bigger picture of this issue! Thanks!

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