Excuse me, please

Following the lines of a previous post, I recently had a bout of bad excuses both on my side and on the side of others. So here’s a list of quotes on excuses (from the quotegarden).

We have more ability than will power, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible. ~François de la Rochefoucauld

Several excuses are always less convincing than one. ~Aldous Huxley

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse. ~Thomas Szasz

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems — not people, to focus your energies on answers — not excuses. ~William Arthur Ward

In a different vein, I once had a copy of Dogbert’s Clues for the Clueless, and it covered the evolution of the phrase “Excuse me”.

  • Long ago: Excuse me was a form of apology, “Excuse me, kind sir, for my rudeness.”
  • Not so long ago: Excuse me becomes a method for telling people to get out of the way, “Excuse me, coming through.”
  • Modern: Excuse me becomes a sarcastic remark. “Well, excuse me.”

Banned Bags

I don’t live in Chicago, but I do live near Chicago.

After much discussion they’ve finally pulled the trigger on passing a ban on plastic bags for customer purchases at stores, most stores. Customers will have to find an alternative, probably paper or canvas. Oddly, the best system for eliminating disposable plastic bags that I’ve seen was in Italy, and it took a different tack.

Bags at checkout had to be purchased. Amazing how you use fewer of them when each one comes with a price. These bags were plastic, but durable plastic. My experience was that they would last for more than 10 trips (walking trips of store to apartment, not store to car). Since you paid for it, you were also likely to use it again, like a canvas bag. But unlike a canvas bag, these could be rolled up into a tight bundle which you could just keep in your pocket. The consequence was

  • You use less of them.
  • You use them multiple times.
  • You use them reliably.

The alternatives to disposable plastic bags achieve some, but not all, of these objectives. Consequently, the best alternative to disposable plastic bags seems to be non-disposable plastic bags. One could even add in a deposit to make sure people recycle them when they wear out.