The Mysteriously Small Carrier Bag.

Published on 4 July 2003 in , ,

Where possible I try to do my bit for the enviroment.

Anything that can be recycled via Ealing Council’s doorstep recycling scheme, is put out in the green box every week.

When the council decided that garden waste would be sent off to be composted instead of put in the normal waste, I transferred 9 bin bags full of cuttings from our overgrown hedge, into 15 smaller, pink bags, so that they could be collected – despite the fact that much of it had began to rot, and stank – with only a small amount of grumbling.

And when I go shopping, I almost-aways have my giant reusable bags with me – the ones which you buy for 10p then get replaced for free when they finally run out.

Well most of the time anyway, for on arriving at the small Sainsburys Local near the flat, I found I had forgot to take it with me in my shoulder bag, and had to resort to taking some from the store.

What a pre-amble that was! Now to the proper bit!

It was whilst I was there that I noticed something really odd – the normal carrier bags had shrunk and become insanely small.

The bags were struggling to hold anything. One could barely manage a loaf of bread and some eggs. Despite the fact that I’d bought just seven rather small items, I needed three of these bags.

And this is the ultrasad bit.

After struggling home with three tiny but full carrier bags, I felt the need to do some experimentation and comparision.

Two carrier bags, one large, one small.

A normal Sainsburys bag (left and outlined in red) and the new ultra small (outlined in green).

In the picture above, you can see the size difference between the normal bag (on the left) and the tiny bag.

In the tiny bag is a loaf of bread. The very same loaf of bread that I’d bought that evening. It just about fits into the bottom of the bag. But – and this is very worth mentioning – this is no way on earth that you will manage to fit TWO loaves in that bag. It’s just too small.

With a little experimentation, I worked out that for every one normal sized carrier bag, you needed one and a half of these very odd little ones.

Two carrier bags, one huge, one small.

A large orange Sainsburys bag (left and outlined in blue) and the new ultra small (outlined in green).

But if you want a real comparison of the size, lets get mega-bag out. The large orange bag is one of those ‘bag for life’ things that cost 10p. They’re great. They hold loads, last ages, and are really easy to carry.

And even better, for every large carrier bag, you need at least FIVE small bags to carry your shopping in.

Why on earth have they done it?

Now the cynic in me doesn’t believe that these ultra small carriers are going to be in many Sainsburys – they’re just too useless to do anything.

Admitedly they ain’t as useless as those tiny minute carrier bags that Boots insist on putting small tins of Vaseline, or a tube of wine gums in – the ones that are so exceptionally small, they don’t even have handles on them.

But they are pretty useless.

Unfortunately trying to find out why the bags had shrunk was like getting blood out of a stone, with a conversation that went like this:

Me: Have these carrier bags shrunk?

Bloke on till: Yeah.

They’re a bit small and useless aren’t they?


At which point I gave up. So the reason behind this odd sized carrier bag move will continue to be a mystery to me.

Even if you consider the fact that someone at the South Ealing branch of Sainsburys simply ordered the wrong bags, you have to ask the ultimate question of Sainsburys:

What would I have done if I’d been trying to buy a four pack of toilet roll? There’s no way it would have fitted!