Sunday, January 23, 2005

A startling grocery discovery

I was going through my usual routine a few days ago after coming home from the grocery store when I made a startling discovery. Just after taking the lettuce and the canned beets from the paper bag in which my friendly neighborhood checker had so carefully placed them, I was folding up the bag when my eye fell on a curious marking. My bag had been marked by some mysterious "council" with the mysterious slogans of "STRENGTH DURABILITY CAPACITY" and "LIFT WITH BOTH HANDLES." Ominous.

I had to know who this "Paper Bag Council" was, and why they were going around tagging grocery bags. Of course the first step was the trusty Google search. Oddly though, Google was of little help in revealing the true nature of the council, except that it seems to have some connection to Earth Day. Even more ominous.

I went back to the enigmatic seal for more clues. There below the seal in the fine print was the clue I needed. "Certification mark of the American Forest & Paper Association, Inc." Apparently the "Paper Bag Council" is just a front group for the AFPA. A Google search for the AFPA turned up their website, within the bowels of which was this page, which gave the following explanation for the seal:
This Seal of Approval from the Paper Bag Council of the American Forest & Paper Association is your assurance of quality standards for the paper handle bag, including strength, durability and capacity.
So the truth finally comes out...or does it? Why do I need a council to put a mostly-ignored seal on the bottom of my handled paper bag? What other councils are out there putting hidden seals on my consumer products? I checked my plastic bottles, paper cups, and styrofoam cups for seals, but found none. So what makes the Paper Bag Council think they need a seal? Still I am left with so many unanswered questions.
Categories: Personal


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