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Not only is this bag ban law unjustified, illogical, and a pain for everyone, but the biggest hit is on business.

Below are some of the main impacts on business with this bag ban law:




  • Angry customers
    Customers are angry and complaining. Businesses never want angry or distracted customers! In most cases, customers will take out their anger and frustration at the business.
  • Lost business
    There are multiple reasons why customers will simply change their shopping to stores outside San Jose:
    - Many have written to us and stated they have vowed to shop outside San Jose. While this is meant to send a message to the City Council, businesses are the ones who pay the price.
    - People who hate using reusable bags will simply shop outside San Jose when it is convenient, such as on the way home from work. This provides them that little incentive to stop by a different store on their way home, where they don’t have to deal with their own bags
    - As stated on our other web page, plastic bags have multiple uses for people in their homes. When people start getting low on their plastic bag supply, they will make an extra effort to shop outside San Jose the next time so they can resupply their plastic bags at home.
    - People who forget their bags, have theirs in the washing machine, or just don’t have enough, will simply skip shopping at a San Jose store until they have their bags, or they will shop at one of the surrounding cities.
  • Increased labor costs
    Without providing free bags, many customers will just opt for no bags at all. This means they will either ask your staff to help them carry products to their car, or they will use carts and hand baskets to take their items to the car. Employees must spend extra time searching and collecting these items. Businesses will likely need to expand the number of hand baskets and carts in stock.
  • Increased theft and shoplifting
    Costs of lost or stolen items will increase for the following reasons:
    - Without free bags for carrying items, many more customers will be tempted just to take the shopping cart or hand basket home with them.
    - Many stores ban backpacks for shoplifting purposes. However, a backpack is a reusable bag! So customers should now be allowed to bring in backpacks. Customers carrying piles of reusable bags also increase the risk of shoplifting.
    - Businesses will not be able to identify items purchased at other stores, as customers will be carrying them in their own bags. How can a business tell whether a customer is shoplifting a product or just carrying something they purchased at another store?
  • Increased operation and accounting costs
    The law requires businesses to identify paper bag sales as a separate line item, adding burden to the checkout systems. The law also requires businesses to specifically track paper bag sales, and keep that data for a minimum of 3 years! Businesses can be audited at any time by the city “bag police”, so must continually be ready for an inspection and audit.  
  • Limited purchasing
    Now that customers need to “plan in advance” for their purchases by bringing the appropriate number of reusable bags, they will avoid buying more items than their bags can hold. This effectively limits the amount of items a customer will purchase. How many times have customers entered a store to buy 2-3 items, but find a number of other items on sale and added them to their purchase? Oops, now they forgot to bring enough bags.


  • Health and safety risk
    Businesses must now deal with health and safety issues and risks at multiple levels:
    - Establish rules and procedures for all employees handling used recycled bags, including frequencies for hand washing, counter washing, cart and basket washing, and food handling after being exposed to customer’s dirty reusable bags.
    - While the city council mandated everyone must bring their own reusable bags, they failed to pass any safety laws regarding those bags. Businesses must create their own rules regarding the ability to stop customers from bringing contaminated bags or containers into their stores, and a minimum criteria for employees to handle bags.
    - Customers who are forced to carry reusable bags against their will are highly likely to fail to maintain those bags to any standard. This includes cleaning leakage, washing bags regularly, and replacing them when appropriate. This is a vastly different situation than those who used reusable bags on their own free will.
    - Businesses will likely continue to be responsible for outbreaks of disease and sickness to customers, even though the contamination may have come from the customer’s own bag. If a customer gets food poisoning or sick from a product purchased at a place of business, who is to blame?