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Why Companies Ask Customers To Pay For Carry Bags

| Published on May 19, 2019

If you’ve shopped in the past few years, chances are that you either made plans about it well in advance and carried an extra bag from home for your purchases or well, made a shopping decision on a whim and paid additional money for a plastic bag.

The painful part is not that you made a decision without any prior plans, it’s paying anywhere between Rs3-35 for a plastic or paper bag that would almost be of no use to you in the future since it always has the brand logo printed on it and doesn’t last very long in terms of usage.

What’s the debate?

The debate arose a while back in the city of Chandigarh. The consumer forum punished Bata with a fine of RS 9000 for charging a customer RS 3 for a paper bag. The argument was that if it’s a company that focuses and believes in their responsibility towards the environment, they should not charge anything for the paper bag.

Moreover, this debate is not just valid to Bata. You go shopping at an outlet, be it clothing or grocery, almost all high-end brands have been charging an amount for their paper bags at the point of purchase. Brands like Shopperstop and Bigbazaar are a few to name.

The Argument?

Various marketing heads and advisors have gone against the Brands when it comes to this decision.

Before 2011, companies used to provide plastic bags for free to consumers and changed their habits after a new act was passed by the Ministry of Environments and forests, making plastics bags chargeable, a mandatory practice. Companies then shifted to paper or cloth bags and also started charging for the same.

The problem lies that it is being called as a money-making practice which puts more burden on the buyer. Infact, many also argue that it is an unfair trade practice as each bag has the company’s logo on it and gets marketing benefits after earning additional revenue from it.

The counter-argument?

Most retailers talk about how eco-friendly bags are not easily available in India and accrue to additional costs for each seller. Companies are merely charging for this additional cost since the bags are used by their buyers and not them. Moreover, legally, one should also be aware that this charge is different from the purchase cost. It is a good that is provided in addition to the product purchased and the consumer is made aware of the additional cost before asked to pay. Infact, consumers are also given the choice to not opt for these bags.

The possible solutions?

There should be an initiative to increase the production of eco-friendly bags like jute bags or recycled paper bags which would be cheap and cost-efficient. In fact, there could be government help for these bags to be supplied to stores and free marketing practices of the brand logo via bags could be abolished. Consumers could be charged something minimalistic given that these bags are now usable in the future or this could be made a part of the Brand’s social responsibility.

Arguments always exist, it’s the solutions that matter. So let’s see what does our big influential names have in store to make the marketplace better for both – the consumers and the brands

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