Friday, August 24, 2018

How times change, and not just because more Sears, Kmart stores are closing

Earlier this year, the City Council placed a series of referenda on the ballot for the upcoming elections Nov. 6 – including one measure concerning the continued use of plastic straws within the city.
Soon to be obsolete
How ridiculous, many of us quipped. How absurd. Many of us figured it was purely a political move so as to knock more legitimate issues that politicos would prefer not to address off the ballot altogether.

BUT THERE ARE those people who look at all those straws one uses every time they attend a restaurant. Those plastic tubes allowing you to sip your drink, then throw them away.

Where they will wind up in a landfill somewhere, forevermore adding to the planet’s pollution (or at least several hundred years until they finally decompose into nothingness).

That issue popped into my head Thursday when I stumbled across a story concerning the Kroger Co., a supermarket chain that hasn’t been in Chicago proper for decades, but does have some subsidiaries that operate in the Chicago area.

One of which is the Mariano’s chain of up-scale supermarkets that they purchased not long ago. It seems they’re taking on the same environmentally concerned approach to doing business.

BEGINNING NEXT YEAR in Seattle, they’re going to do away with those plastic bags we all have received far too often when grocery shopping. Unless we’re the type who actively go out of our way to choose “paper” whenever asked the eternal question “paper or plastic.”

By 2025, the Kroger people say they want to do away with plastic bags altogether – as though they expect the world of grocery shoppers to start carrying around reusable tote bags every time they go to pick up foodstuffs. Which may make sense on a certain level, but I suspect a certain segment of society will always remain too lazy to think that far ahead when going out to shop for groceries.
Fun? Or hazardous?

In Chicago, we already have what was supposed to be the initiative to discourage plastic bag use – having retailers charge 7 cents per bag on top of the price of the merchandise.

I know some people are too cheap to pay it, but many others just wind up coughing up the cash for the convenience. Which results in lots of the plastic bags accumulating in our humble abodes.

AT LEAST IN my case, the bags do get re-used. My father and step-mother have a pair of dogs and there are times when I wind up with the task of walking them. Which means I carry pockets-full of the plastic bags so I can pick up the poop and not create a health hazard for the neighbors.

Of course, that means the bags wind up going into a trash bin filled with canine caca and will eventually wind up in a landfill that way – where the bags will outlast the poop inside them.

More in the way of change in our society. The day may well come when people won’t be capable of comprehending why we snickered at the thought of laws against straws – or bag bans!

Just like another story I stumbled onto – one involving the closing of yet another Sears store AND a Kmart by year’s end.

THE SEARS IN question is in downstate Bloomington; the city in which I attended college and where I remember often buying typewriter ribbons and occasionally having to take my Sears-model typewriter in for repairs.

While the Kmart is in suburban Steger – a municipality that typically would not have been considered significant-enough to have such a retailer. But the long-time mayor always considered it his major accomplishment of some 40 years in office that he made the trip to Troy, Mich., to persuade corporate types to locate in his village.
Yet another retail vacancy that will need to be filled by year's end
But nothing lasts forever, and soon they will just be memories – and something to be included on those lists to be published in a couple of decades of things that college-age kids of the future never actually experienced in life.

Perhaps also like the straws that some of us of now see merely as a political tactic, rather than a legitimate issue.


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