A Grocery Store's Plan to Encourage Reusable Bags Hilariously Failed Because Its Plastic Bags Were Too Awesome
The battle over plastic bags continues to wage on, and retailers are beginning to look for creative ways to incentivize reusable bags. One such retailer, however, learned the hard way that sometimes the best intentions can backfire if you're not careful.
Canadian grocery store East West Market had its heart in the right place when it created single-use plastic bags featuring graphics that read "Wart Ointment Wholesale," "Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium" and "The Colon Care Co-Op." In smaller text, the bags also read, "Avoid the shame. Bring a reusable bag."
In theory, store owner David Kwen hoped shoppers would be too ashamed to sport the embarrassing single-use plastic bags, and would therefore opt for reusable shopping bags.
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Unfortunately, the plan didn't exactly work. Instead, shoppers flocked to the store to get their hands on the 5 cent single-use bags, attempting to collect them all. But Kwen didn't let it get him down.
"The underlying thing is that it creates conversation, and that's what we actually wanted to get across to the general public," he told NPR.
In response, Kwen decided to capitalize on the buzz by creating East West Market reusable canvas tote bags with the humorous phrases. So, it all worked out in the end.
So, what we learned here is that sometimes promotional plan A doesn't go the way you planned, but plan B can often work just as well. It's about engaging with your end-users and adjusting to their needs. And, hey, sometimes you can have a little fun.