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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shopping baskets are good enough to steal in Corvallis

black collapsible crate (left) next to red browsing baskets sold by Demco library supply in back of car

PHOTO: the trunk of my car showing the reusable shopping baskets I bought, which I find to be easier to use than the common reusable bags. I bought one of the Collapsible Crates sold by Demco for $21.94 (See Interlibrary Loan products at Demco) and two of the Browsing Baskets sold by Demco for $18.54 (See Patron Browsing products at Demco) Demco Madison, WI 53707 Phone 1-800-279-1586 that are made by: The Big Basket Company GoodL Corp., P.O. Box 337, Lavergne, TN 37087 -- The Big Basket Company (Download PDF Brochure) So far, they have been easier to use than reusable bags, they are easy to carry and put in a car or carry on the city bus. These baskets are easy to keep clean and it is nice not having to use the dirty baskets at the store. These plastic baskets remind me of the old wicker shopping basket seen in "The Wizard of Oz" movie. (See my previous posts Coke bottle deposits and paper bag fees don't promote reuse (2/8/13) and Corvallis plastic bag ban and gay marriage (1/8/13))

My latest letter to the editor below is about how the Corvallis paper bag fee undermines security procedures. It was written after reading the article by Canda Fuqua, "Basket Bandits?" Gazette-Times, Feb. 18, 2013, p. A1:

The Feb. 18 story "Basket Bandits?" asked if the Corvallis anti-bag law is motivating customers to steal the plastic shopping baskets loaned to customers. I am surprised that a local merchant hasn't started to sell these baskets because apparently they are good enough to steal!

To prevent basket theft, one store security expert told me that stores typically imprint their name on the baskets.

To avoid being accused of stealing the shopping baskets that I legally bought, I put my name on them and bought a different color than used by most stores in Corvallis. I tried providing links to where I bought them in my previous Feb. 8 letter, "'Browsing baskets' can be bought and sub for bags," but the editor rightfully cut my references to comply with the newspaper's editorial policies.

Store security experts also typically recommend the standard policy of bagging all purchases to make shoplifters easier to spot, but this standard method has been undermined by the Corvallis law requiring a fee of five cents per paper bag. This is another reason to vote out all Corvallis City Council representatives who support keeping the fee of five cents per paper bag.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Another reason to get rid of problematic five-cent bag fee," Gazette-Times, posted Feb. 21, 2013, p. A7)

See my previous letters on the Corvallis paper bag fee:

For another letter on the sanitation point I made in an earlier letter, see the letter by Jeff Hale, "Letter: Could the bag ban make people sick?" Gazette-Times, posted Feb. 18, 2013 (also see Rebecca Stillwell, "Letter: Cartoon suggesting reusable bags spread disease was ridiculous," Gazette-Times, posted Feb. 11, 2013). The OSU student newspaper published a letter by Tim Gallagher, First Vice President, Financial Advisor, RBC Wealth Management, "Letters to the editor Feb. 7, 2013," Barometer, Jan. 8, 2013 praising their editorial "Plastic bag ban and Less intrusive government" and asking them to send it to the G-T. Also see article by James Day, "Corvallis City Council hints at possible changes for bag ordinance," Gazette-Times, p. 1. An attempt to belittle the complaints was the letter by Leo de Vogel, "Letter: Enough already with the griping over the plastic bag ban," Gazette-Times, posted Feb. 12, 2013. Also, see a skeptic analytic letter by Christy Stevens, "Letter: Data needed to back statement on loss of business to bag ban," Gazette-Times, posted Feb. 12, 2013 .

Sadly, a loosely related note is the Gazette-Times newspaper continues to "right-size" their operations to the new reality of declining revenue at print newspapers. For example, see articles by Staff, "Sunday newspaper goes to two 10-page sections," Feb 10, 2013 and Staff, "Gazette-Times puts building up for sale," Gazette-Times, posted Feb. 21, 2013 about the Corvallis Gazette-Times building at 600 S.W. Jefferson Ave. being up for sale. The article says, "The G-T building was built in 1970 under the leadership of Robert C. Ingalls, then the G-T's publisher. Before that, the paper's offices were located in the building at Fourth Street and Jefferson Avenue -- the location now of the Block 15 brewpub. The paper is owned by Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa. After Lee bought the Albany Democrat-Herald in 1998, some G-T operations, including its printing press, were consolidated at the Albany location. "The downtown building was also operated as "The Headline Cafe" a few years ago. Also, "Editorial: News people lukewarm on change, but ...," Gazette-Times, posted Feb. 3, 2013 says, "I'll be honest: One of the reasons behind these changes is that they will help us control our costs, something that's important for any business, especially in uncertain economic times."

For more on my nostalgia for newspapers and my previous letter about it, see my previous post Future of local reporting in the Internet Age and the death of newspapers (11/25/12).