Sarbjit Sandhu and her husband have just had a pricey refit, so their Best One store in Chesterfield is looking pretty fine. Just one thing missing. "We've got our plastic bags suspended from a butcher's hook on a small drawer under the counter. Where can I get proper commercial carrier bag holders?" Sarbjit asked.
Well, her timing is impeccable - just as all discussion now concerns itself with the doing-away of plastic bags in favour of eco-friendly jute/hemp/hessian 'bags for life' varieties.
Still, I tried to find a source. Half-a-dozen companies shook their heads but pointed helpfully in a nearby direction. Thus Proton Packaging at Kelvedon in Essex, which makes those little fruit & veg plastic bags-on-a-roll dispensers, sent me to Shop Equip, which sent me to Arrow, which directed me to Trade Systems and thence to Robert May. A spokesman for the latter company, which sources from around the world and whose website shows that it does just about everything a store could desire in the way of accessories, said he had never come across a supplier of checkout plastic bag dispensers.
I then started observing at every store I went into. In most the plastic bags are on the counter or under the counter. In Sainsbury's they have welded bag-holders at the end of the 'runway', clearly purpose-made, but with little sense of style.
One of the main objections to the plastic bag is its sheer unsightliness - all those nasty grey shreds hanging from trees and blighting roadsides. Millions were handed out at checkouts last year. Each bag was used on average for 20 minutes then discarded. Each takes 1,000 years to degrade.
On a small scale, Sarbjit has her solution. Husband has gone to northern India where he will have the two dispensers made. On a large scale - what do you think? What do you do? And have you tried any alternatives?