Monday, May 5, 2008

What We Carry

A couple of weeks ago I got a nice (bulk rate) letter from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), requesting that I fill out a survey form for them, and asking if I would consider becoming a member. If I joined, they promised me a number of wonderful benefits, among them, a free tote bag. This one, appropriately green, came with a zippered case that you use to fold up your bag when not in use. I thought it looked, to use Wyldth1ng's word, "nifty." What do you think?

Today in the mail, I got a flyer from my local J. Jill outlet, announcing a mid-May summer sale, and letting me know if I came in and bought a certain number of items during their sale, they would give me -- guess what -- a free tote bag!

And come to think of it, at our church's synod assembly a couple of weeks ago (the one where I went home sick), I received, like everyone else who came, a free tote bag from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. It's blue, and was tailor made to carry all of the information we would need for the assembly. We also got a free plastic water bottle.

So, what I want to know is: what's the deal about free tote bags? And, how many do we REALLY need?

Apparently, some people in marketing think that tote bags are really desirable -- just the thing to push us over the edge, just the tool to make us think, "You know, I really want that!"

We love to tote.

Me, I love to tote books. They're heavy, though, and I have to watch that. Others might prefer toting cosmetics, or CDs, or first aid kits, tools or toys. Maybe we're toting all of the things we just bought at the mall.

Sometimes, my back hurts. From all the things I tote back and forth to the office and home, all the things I carry. I could learn to travel light, I suppose. My doctor told me to carry a lighter purse last year. So I did. Now I have a small purse: and a tote. So I'm not yet really learning to travel light.

Sometimes, my back hurts, or my head hurts, or my heart hurts. From all the things I carry, not all of them physical, but some of them heavy. I could learn to travel light. Or, I could get a free tote.

Except I suspect that those free totes -- in the end, are not so free.

What about you? What do you carry?


Jan said...

The automatic answer was "too much weight." But I'm trying to be sensible and have lost 7 lb.

I know what you mean about free totes--they seem to be a popular "gift." The best one I have is a huge one with Thomas Jefferson's words: "I cannot live without books." It's heavy but useful when it's filled with books.

Jan said...

PS I'm so glad you don't have word verification now. Thank you.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Why not use those free totes for hauling your groceries, instead of paper or plastic bags? That'd be a great use.

And I carry a purse that works much like Dr. Who's blue telephone booth, and weighs probably 25 pounds.

Barbara B. said...

You could use a tote to carry all of the totes! :)

Lindy said...

As a rule I only carry one small purse. I carry it inside a large cloth grocery bag with all the things that won't fit into my small purse.

As for the non-physical items... I could probably take a few things out of the bag.

Oh, ditto what Jan said about word verification.

FranIAm said...

Oh Lord, when I was a commuter into NYC and a business traveler, what didn't I carry?

Plus I used to have to travel with what I refer to as "allegedly portable" pc's in 1986, 87 and so on when that meant something akin to a sewing machine.

My back doesn't bother me, which is sure evidence of miracles.

I still carry a too huge bag though.

Books. Oh the books.

I have a photo up on my blog today of Machu Picchu. I have a story to write about how I "carried" too much when I hiked up the other mountain that you can see in the photo.

I have started to return all the swag I get from charities. It upsets me at some level.

Forget the totes- as a Catholic can you imagine how many rosaries and scapulars I get a year? Those I donate.

Chorus said...

I've tried to be better about toting things back and forth from work, and have finally asked my hubby to buy me a proper grown-up briefcase, so that I can stop carrying things in free totes bearing advertising for things I don't really want to promote... I love the idea of using those free totes for groceries though! Genius PG!!

P.S. an after-thought said...

I love totes for trips in the car. I can have magazines or shoes or some crocheting with me, but not spread out all over the car. My husband teases me about how many bags I take when I go to visit my mom. Well, I could stuff more stuff in the suitcase, but then I'd have to lug it all up the steep stairs to the bedroom, yet I'd want some of it in the living room.

We get some of the free totes from conferences my husband attends. I saw a TV show two weeks ago where the woman added a pocket on the front and back of the tote which covered up the logo. I did this to one of the free totes with vibrant colored fabric. I love the results and now I have a great multipurpose bag just for me.

Rev SS said...

Great theo reflection, Diane! I have been enjoying learning to travel lighter these last few years .. very freeing and so many wonderful surprises from God!

As for all the totes, I've been using them to carry groceries for some time now ... works great. (and when they're not carrying groceries they're carrying books, or shoes or something going between home office and church office.)

Wyldth1ng said...

What to do with all those tote bags?

Thanks for the honorable mention.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I work at home, so I don't do a lot of toting anymore except for my knitting. I've started taking it everywhere except to Sunday service. (One of my priests said she wouldn't mind, but I can't bring myself to do it.)

My purse is jammed though. Because of allergies and asthma, I have to carry a breath meter, an inhaler, and epi pens. Sigh.

The Swandive said...

I have enough totes to do my groceries and target trip now, and I love love love not using the plastic or paper bags. Now I just pick some up when I need them for recycling or to clean the kitty box! Great post.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

boo on totes - no matter the color or nifty designs. i think totes say "church worker" and "frumpify" us to no end... beleaaaky! sometimes i have carried one... but truly i've got a sweet leather bag for "junk" to tote. not a canvas tote - ick.

Diane said...

Jan -- I know what you mean about a little extra weight. I need to walk more, and eat fewer brownies!
PG and Swandive -- I've thought about using totes for groceries, etc. I hate getting more bags every time I go shopping. maybe I should go shopping less.
HotCup -- I used to have a briefcase, but I didn't like the way it organized things. I do think totes can be frumpifying, as you say. But, like P.S., I like them in the car on vacation, to have a book, or a few things in the car with me. That DOES come in handy...
but some people (not just church workers) must be using them! otherwise, they wouldn't be making so many!