Monday, August 24, 2009

Behavior Change Incentives

How much does it take to change your behavior?

For some bad habits, a lot, when it comes to me... But one thing that's really struck me these past months is how many Torontonians (including me) will alter their behavior for a nickel.

Yes, for years now, many environmentally conscious people have been bringing their own bags to grocery stores. I did when I thought of it... (my local market is basically a health food store, and they've always had really good, reusable bags... but I didn't always remember to bring them.)

But they passed a law in the Toronto, and since June 1, 2009, it's the law for retailers to charge at least 5 cents for a plastic bag. And I'm not sure I've spent a nickel yet. (Oh, yes I have. On delivery food. I mean, you can't take your own bag to the restaurant for the delivery guy to use. Would kind of defeat the purpose of delivery...)

I have a bag that's always in my purse... and when I go to get groceries, I never (rarely) forget my bigger bags anymore. If I do, I only buy enough to fit in the small one in my purse.

So, apparently, a nickel is enough to change my behavior. I guess it helps that it's a behavior I wanted to change... just needed the nickel push.

And it also helps that it's changed the behavior of the sales clerks. Now, they have to ask, "Do you want a bag?", whereas they used to just automatically start dumping your purchases into a bag and you'd have to stop them and say, "Hey, you know what? I've got a bag," or, "I can fit that into my tote bag, or backpack, or put it in with my sweaty gym clothes."

Apparently I'll do a lot for a nickel. How about you?


Kristen Painter said...

I try to bring my bags, but lately, I've been forgetting them. If I don't put them in the car, I forget! My bags are mostly totebags collected from years of RWA conferences.

Maureen McGowan said...

That's the way I always was, too, Kristen... I'd want to remember, but forget.

but now that forgetting costs a nickel a bag? Miraculous now I'll remember.

Crazy, since I spend a fortune on many other completely unnecessary things...

Eileen said...

I'm about 90% on bringing my own bags. Remember to wash them once and awhile I saw a special on the amount of bacteria that can get in there what with meat etc being in the bag.

L.A. Mitchell said...

mmmm...sweaty gym clothes and yeasty bread...mmmm. Thanks for THAT visual, Maureen;)

Barrie said...

I think we're headed for a similar law in California. I have enough cloth bags to hold all the groceries, but rarely remember them. It's ridiculous. BTW, I linked to you....and it's all about Keanu Reeves! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...