Bagged for Life

Let’s not beat about the bush. It would make perfect sense for me to have my Tesco Clubcard tattooed on my forehead. I can no more remember the damn thing than I can resist a bottle of red wine.

A quick visit to Wishful Inkin’ and all my troubles would be over. “Thanks. A bottle of gin for the wife as well if you would – and then just scan my head.”

But now I have a bigger problem.

My bag for life. Or rather, the lack of it.

As you know the country is drowning in carrier bags. Her Majesty’s Government has taken decisive action. On balance I think a future Doctor Who will conclude that life on Earth died out for rather more sinister reasons than the carrier bag, but what do I know?

I therefore spent the last week before the Armageddon assiduously collecting ‘bags for life’ while they were free. “Result!” I yelled in triumph. “Two trips to the corner shop. Two bags for life.”

Ben looked up from his dinner. “Two bags for life? Isn’t that a bit optimistic at your age, Dad?”

Anyway, the front hall is now overflowing with bags for life. Yes, it’s tricky getting through the front door but there’s a price to pay for everything. And think of all those 5p’s I won’t be spending. A million trips to the corner shop and I can buy a Ferrari.

And so long as I’m at home it works. My bag and I are inseparable. Joined at the hip. Because Jane yells “Bag” every time I put my shoes on.

Once I’m allowed out on my own it’s a different story.

Here I am at the office. And look, my beloved has sent a filthy sex text to brighten my day.

Dishwasher tablets, dog food, shampoo, Ben’s out of deodorant.

Who says the magic’s gone after 20 years of marriage?

So it was Wilko’s for lunch. And didn’t I need paper for the office? Hadn’t Ben muttered something about lever arch files?

Net result? A shamefaced confession at the checkout. “Two carrier bags, please.”

Bright red. Obviously. So everyone could see them.

I slunk out of the shop like a criminal. The town centre stopped to stare at me.

Not long now and carrier bags will come with a siren. Or you’ll be invited to hang a bell round your neck. Maybe some enterprising borough will re-introduce the stocks. ‘There’s one, sarge. Two carrier bags! Ten minutes being pelted with tomatoes. Only language these people understand.’

The day didn’t improve. Jane was back late. No-one yelled ‘bag.’

Ben shook his head sadly as I came back juggling cartons, tins and tubs. “Forgotten again, Dad? It’s only to be expected at your time of life.”

“Ben, I only went because you haven’t eaten for two hours and you’re apparently at death’s door. Cereal, pudding, ham for your sandwich, bread because you’ve eaten it all. People only need carrier bags because they have teenage children.”

My son didn’t reply. He was too busy eating.

“Anyway,” I said, “I’ve got you a treat. One tub of Ben & Jerry’s new, exciting Cookie Core, £5.24 – far too expensive. But they’re on special offer: two for a fiver. You don’t need to be Stephen Hawking to work that one out.”

Thirty minutes later my son pronounced himself disgusted. “No wonder it was on special offer. There are lumps of yuk in it, Dad.”

Eloquently put. And my wife took the same view.

It’s clearly karma. I’m being punished for those plastic bags. Looks like I have 1½ tubs of Cookie Core to finish. I may be gone some time…

Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and moderately humorous to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here


  1. Don’t talk to me about this (not having bags, not the ice-cream or bolshy teens)! I’ve for years taken my own bags to the shops (smug look) and I’m always yelling ‘Bags!’ at my OH as he opens the door to go and get a loaf of bread (which always, always, becomes a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine or whisky “It was on special!”) and now I seem to keep forgetting to bring when I go. I feel like a total loser at the checkout too. So unfair…..

    • Hugely impressed by the restraint of your OH. Local Tesco Express had some red wine on ‘reduced to clear’ last week. Ashamed to say that I bought it all – absolutely ideal for when the eldest two come back from uni at Christmas… And no, I still can’t remember a bag. May need to have one surgically attached to my hip…

  2. sarahmo3w says:

    Cheeky sod! I think he deserved the horrible ice cream for that! 😉

  3. “Two bags for life? Isn’t that a bit optimistic at your age, Dad?”
    Allow him to see you crossing his name off the will. 😉
    Funny post lol. Tesco are offering to bring my online shopping in without bags? What are they going to do? Tip it out onto the floor?
    Don’t answer that…

  4. I know this feeling well. I have two bags for life stowed safely in the boot of my car – which is all well and good, but I usually go to the shops on foot wearing my Forgetful Hat. It’s well known in our household that if you send me out to town for bread and milk I will come back without either but with some exotic cooking ingredients which will promptly sit in the store cupboard until they are rediscovered, six years later, having spawned a new form of life.

    • Snap, Tim. Just snap. It’s a standing joke in our family – how easily I’m seduced by a loaf of olive, rosemary ad garlic bread. “Quick, here he comes. Sweep up everything off the floor and sprinkle it on a loaf of ‘artisan’ bread. He’ll buy it…”
      Any fool can buy bread and milk: it takes a real ‘creative’ to buy black pudding and goat’s cheese focaccia.

  5. Hehe I was just thinking about the free carrier bag I got with my takeaway last night and felt so smug. I’ve become a weird hoarder of them ever since the 5p charge came into play!

    • Went to a farm products shop yesterday – got a free carrier bag as I’d bought meat. And yep, we’re hoarding them too. Can just see my kids on ‘antiques Roadshow’ in 50 years’ time: “So you inherited this collection of antique carrier bags from your father?”

  6. As usual, hilarious wit to start the Monday with.
    I know this “crime” well as our recycling bags are always at home. As for our tween going shopping with us so that we can get “the right things” is not a possibility as walking around with one’s parents’ (fancy restaurant excluded) is just not on LOL! Oh, and when I get the re-cycling bag I’m only allowed to use the bag from “save the planet” even if it means returning home again just to get it…!

    • Don’t. The Beloved Daughter was on a ‘save the planet’ journey when she was at junior school. Used to stand over me as I brushed my teeth, constantly turning the tap off and telling me I could brush my teeth in an egg cup of water…

      • Indeed! And the lightbulb. Reduced lighting even if i can’t see a thing & switch everything off as soon as you leave the room (not mummy’s laptop of course, so he can use it instead of using his own….) Oh and did I buy that shirt from a FairTrade shop, stop buying all those shoes and are children starving because of my firstworld need?!

        • I’m currently boring my son senseless with the refugee analogy. “My jacket potato needed another few minutes in the oven.” “Well, you wouldn’t be saying that if you were starving and freezing on the Slovenian border.”

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