Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Complex Issues

On the flight home from Spain I read a book called ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist‘ by Moshin Hamid.

I hoped that it wouldn't cause suspicion at check in - but after the strip search and the internal examination - they were quite nice about it.

The protagonist in this excellent novel is an American educated Pakistani. He criticises and discusses the way America uses its wealth as a source of power to intervene in International conflicts.

Harold Pinter (who died on Christmas eve) was respected for his essays and speeches on the topic of US imperialism especially the Iraq invasion.

When it comes to international conflicts I always have an opinion and know which side I'm on. However, I seldom feel confident enough to discuss or pontificate about the complex issues involved.

The Arab Israeli conflict has been going for all my life. The latest invasion is frightening and horrific.
I would join the protesters in the street - but I still don't feel qualified to write a closely argued essay on this issue.

So instead I'll write about the issue of plastic carrier bags at Marks and Spencer (Manchester city centre branch).

Kaz buys scarf for £4.99. She is given a bag and offered a larger one if she wishes.

Kaz goes downstairs and spends £18.47 on food and has to buy a bag for 5p.

Now that’s an issue I could discuss at length.

But I won’t bother.


Blogger Dave said...

I was given an M&S bag as a Christmas present.

Generosity knows no bounds in my family.

8:39 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

That was the quickest comment I've ever had.
Save it - it will soon be a collector's item.

8:41 am  
Blogger I, Like The View said...

I'm trying to use the type of bag for my shopping that my mother did when I was young - you know, you have it at home, take it with you, fill it up with your shopping and bring it back home; no need for lots of plastic bags

(if I had your address I'd send you the M&S everlasting Twiggy bag!)

I love M&S food - and thinking about that has totally distracted me from the fact they now charge for carrier bags whereas the clothes sections don't, as you point out

9:04 am  
Blogger MJ said...

So instead I'll write about the issue of plastic carrier bags at Marks and Spencer (Manchester city centre branch).

*breathes sigh of relief*

12:01 pm  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

Let me know when you've done.

12:04 pm  
Blogger Mr Murph said...

Fundamentalists are Mentalists who spend a lot of time up their fundament. Bit like us bloggers really.

I hope this helps.

1:02 pm  
Blogger zIggI said...

that's an excellent book, I was very moved by it too. I have just read 'The Book Thief' - brilliant, have you read that?

M&S Devizes charge 9p for a bag!

1:07 pm  
Blogger Hyde DP said...

I usually carry a couple of "Farmfoods" bags in my bag just in case - nowadays if a tillsperson asks "do you want a bag for that" I usually reply "how much"?"
I've got three "long-life" bags from Morrisons which were free.

2:33 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

Hmmm.... well, it's a complex situation alright. The carrier bags I mean, the Middle East is simple Tonee will have it sorted by now I'm sure.

I'm biased againt M&S ever since they didn't give me a job after leaving Uni nearly 27 years ago. I didn't actually want the job but that's not the point is it? Any way this means I'm well positioned to state that their carrier bag policy is clearly nuts.

3:29 pm  
Blogger CyberPete said...

Why shouldn't you pay for plastic bags when we've done it for years. Except we pay 25p.

4:33 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

I agree about the 'Do it like mother' routine - but not in the city centre.
But that Twiggy bag is lovely.

Did I ever let you down?
btw - Why didn't you spot Celine and Thierry (below).

All finished - I'm sending you the bill.

The fundamental things apply as time goes by!

I have 'The Book Thief' and, after your recommendation, I shall now read it.

'tillsperson' I must remember that.
Another reason to shop at Moreasons.

How well you see into the essential truth of these complex issues.

25p? You don't have pees in Denmark.
I think they should just ban the lot.

4:52 pm  
Blogger Geoff said...

We always take a couple of tatty old bags shopping with us.

6:46 pm  
Blogger MJ said...

Geoff: Are they Roy Cropper bags?

Or are you referring to your old aunties?

6:50 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

By pertinent coincidence I am studying that book for my Uni course and had a seminar on it today... my head is full of the different and just as dangerous fundamentalism that America / the West inflicts onto the world and the way paranoia and conflict between the East and the West has blighted both of our existences. It is a deeply resonant book and one of my favourites from my degree course. So good in fact I am not going to make any wisecracks about it.

7:56 pm  
Blogger Geoff said...

The aunties aren't tatty. They're silly.

8:09 pm  
Blogger tom909 said...

I always have this terrible urge to get pulled into these desperate situations and make 'pronouncements'on them. I'm always completely out of my depth and always feel a bit of a twat afterwards, but anyway, here goes. It is unbelievable and unforgiveable that M&S, such an established company, has made such a hash of their plastic bag policy!

10:17 pm  
Blogger SSS said...

I was given The Reluctant Fundamentalist for Christmas, I really should get round to reading it.

On the subject of shopping bags, I bought a canvas shopping bag from M&S on my last trip home. It fits easily into my handbag and is perfect for those sudden trips to the supermarket. Shops here in Sydney will ask you if you need a bag for items such as food, books and cosmetics but when it comes to clothing I've never been asked, they just put it straight into a bag.

12:05 am  
Blogger I, Like The View said...

I've just seen that M&S chappy on the news!

someone had phoned in about the fact he's charging his customers for plastic bags to put their food shopping in

(I knew it wasn't you, because the caller didn't point out that he gives them away if you buy clothes)


8:00 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

MJ replied to this for me - You never told me about your aunties.

If it weren't for Roy Cropper (much as I love him) I would probably carry a shopping bag myself.

I read it without any previous knowledge of the story.
I think the slow and steady way it developed made it much more powerful.
It must have been good to discuss it with other readers.

I'd rather be tatty than silly - if it's OK with you.

Ha Ha - you made me chortle. Thanks.
Hope you don't feel too twattish after your erudite pontification.

8:14 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

It is excellent.
TK Max always charge - whatever you buy.

And I'm not a chappie.
Isn't in amazing how much controversy it causes?

8:15 am  
Blogger CyberPete said...

True we don't, then 2,50 dkk for a plastic bag.

It's a joy!

9:20 am  
Blogger scarlet-blue said...

I saw a lady on TV last night who was crocheting with plastic bags and making more bags... erm... I just thought I'd mention it...

12:10 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...


That makes me feel that I have an exciting life after all.

5:07 pm  
Blogger tony said...

I always take a ALDI carrier bag as my "hand luggage" on Planes.
It's A "Yorkshire-Thing" I believe.........( The Security Staff are too busy laughing to look inside.....)

5:37 pm  
Blogger CyberPete said...

You mean it isn't a joy?

Wow! I need to lie down for a minute, suddenly my head hurts

10:58 pm  
Blogger SSS said...

I'm back.

I read the book. I didn't see that coming.

11:08 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Are you too snobby for Netto?

Perhaps we lost something in translation.
Joy means delight, bliss, ecstasy, jubilation, rapture .....
hardly how I'd describe the purchase of plastic bag.
But then again - it takes all sorts.

Wow - you are a quick reader.
It certainly creeps up on you doesn't it?
I was somewhere over The Channel at the time

11:35 am  
Blogger BEAST said...

If they get rid of plastic bags , what am I going to use to pick up dog crap
I suppose I could invite female friends along for a walk and shovel it into their handbags while they are not looking

11:40 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

I'm wondering if you have a lot of success with women.
Maybe a slightly different approach?

12:28 pm  
Blogger zIggI said...

as I was at work so early I have finished so i am going to crotchet a plastic bag now

12:51 pm  
Blogger Ponita said...

I stay away from talks of conflicts, as I never really know what's going on with them anyway, so why look like a complete idiot?

I have quite a few cloth shopping bags that I bought at the grocery and take with me whenever I shop. They are quite roomy and sturdy too.

Beast, as far as poo bags go, being the environmentally conscientious dog owner that I am, I buy biodegradable bags made from a corn starch compound that begin breaking down in the landfill in about 10 days. (Well, that would be in the summer... right now everything is frozen solid.) I purchase them at the local pet supplies store.

12:53 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Congratulations - you kept your resolution.
And look where it got you?
Crocheting plastic bags ... Hmm.

Exactly - I find it very easy to look like a complete idiot anyway.

Hope you had the central heating turned up when you posed for that photo in Winnipeg...or can I spot the goose pimples?

9:34 am  
Blogger BEAST said...

KAZ said...
I'm wondering if you have a lot of success with women.
Maybe a slightly different approach?

Kaz , the girls love a rough diamond :-)

10:24 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

You've done the rough - now polish the diamond.
btw - Have you noted Ponita's advice re doggy bags (above).

10:33 am  
Blogger Ponita said...

Kaz, I have the thermostat set at 22C - otherwise I am just a mass of goosebumps.... and I hate being cold.

9:58 pm  

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