Brown Paper Bags

I wonder how many readers remember when packaging was almost always brown paper? If you bought a new suit, it was laid out on top of a big sheet of brown paper. It was carefully wrapped in the brown paper, and the parcel was tied up with string with a little loop for you to hold it by. If you went to the corner shop and bought six pennyworth of dolly mixtures, they were shovelled out of a jar and into a little brown paper bag. The top of the bag was twisted around to stop the dolly mixtures falling out.

I vaguely remember the brown bags becoming white bags. I wonder is that was some subtle marketing ploy? Brown was not a cheerful colour. White was much more cheerful. But it was not long before the white bags became decorated with adverts. I wonder if that too was part of the intention of replacing brown bags with white bags – white bags could easily be printed with text and pics.

But why were the bags brown in the first place? I don’t know, but could it be that brown is the natural colour of that sort of cheap paper? If so, then it would have to be bleached or something to turn it white.

I’m vaguely wondering when a particular supermarket will introduce brown paper bags for shoppers to carry their goods in. It would probably be a good marketing ploy. At the till, “You can pay for plastic bags, but we DO have brown paper bags which are free”. Shopper reply, “Really? That’s great! I’ll come here again and recommend it to my friends. It’s a damned nuisance having to remember to bring my own bags”.

I wonder how long it would be before a law was passed outlawing the giving away of brown paper bags, and insisting that such bags should carry Government Warnings. Those Warning would be mandated, and would carry slogans like: “YOUR BODY PARTS ARE VALUABLE! RECYCLE THEM!“. The store would be permitted to have its name in small print somewhere near the bottom of the bag.

But suppose that the store objected and demanded to be paid for providing advertising space and opportunity for Public Health? Why should Public Health get free space? Do they get free space to advertise and cajole on TV? Is there a law which says that TV companies have to provide free space to Public Health? I doubt it. It is easy to see a time when Public Health, in the interests of “The Children”, take over ALL the advertising space, free of charge. Would that not result in bust TV companies?

Is that not exactly what has happened with cigarettes and other products? It was bad enough when health warnings appeared on cig packets, but PP has gone way over the top. It has commandeered cig packets, free of charge, to advertise its products.

It makes you wonder about the intelligence of tobacco company executives. There are two obvious problems for Public Health and Government in general. One is payment for using the tobacco companies property to advertise their wares, and the other is that the wares (health statements) should be manifestly true. For example, I have before me a packet of Spanish cigs which has the prominent advertising slogan, “Fumar Mata” – “Smoking Kills”. The McTear Case (see sidebar) showed without doubt that there is insufficient evidence for that statement to be positively stated.

But, you might say, the Government passed a law and you must obey. But, wait. Government laws are not sacrosanct. They can be overturned in court for various reasons. Essentially, they must be constitutional. For example, the police have no right to enter your home without a warrant, and to get a warrant, they must present a court with evidence of their suspicions that you are/have been committing a criminal offence. The mere suspicion that you MIGHT BE/HAVE BEEN is not enough.

But I have drifted.


Is there any law which forbids tobacco product retailers from opening boxes of cigs which come loose in 50s and selling them in plain brown paper bags containing, say, 10 cigs? I bought some cig tubes not long ago which came in a box containing 1000 tubes. I was a bit surprised, but it did not take me long to figure out a way to take tubes out easily and without squashing them.

The reality is obvious. PP is just a ploy designed to further the destruction of tobacco companies, and it is obvious to my mind that the anti ecig propaganda is similarly orientated. Its purpose is to deny ecigs to tobacco companies, and has fuck all to do with health. Let’s get it right. Only the destruction of tobacco industries will satisfy the Zealots. By Zealots, I mean the elite of tobacco control.

If I was a tobacco company, my approach would be that I want to be paid for advertising other peoples’ wares. The law can force me to carry those adverts, but not for free. And the adverts must be truthful. It is already law that adverts must not mislead. An awful lot of adverts skate close to lies, but, as a result of the words and phrases used, they just about avoid accusations of lying. In fact, almost every TV advert skates close to the edge. But that is commerce – caveat emptor. Such considerations do not apply to Government. Government should be clean as a whistle. The reason is that Government is a monopoly, and is therefore wide open to corruption. Corruption does have to be financial; it can be idealogical. For example, the idea of gay marriage should have been kicked into touch without so much as a thought. I have nothing about gays living together, or even forming a legal partnership, but ‘marriage’ is defined as the union of a man and a woman. It cannot be redefined for convenience. That’s what it IS. It really amazes me that Government regards such things as trivialities. For is it not true that, when PP came before the Commons, almost all MPs regarded it as trivial? Did anyone make a passionate speech against it, on the grounds of misappropriation of private property, both physically and legally? Would it be a just law which required me to wear some sort of high vis jacket which stated that I was a smoker? Or a Jew? Or a Muslim? Or an Ex-convict? Or Obese? Would such a law be a just law?

Parliament could pass such laws, if it was so minded. Ridiculous though it might seem, Parliament has got itself into a position where it MUST enact EU laws. It therefore is not the Parliament of the People any more. It is a rubber stamp. It is also becoming more and more obvious that Government Minsters are way, way out of their depth. At least, in the past, it was Senior Civil Servants, sworn to impartiality, who evaluated evidence of the affects of policy. Now, it is compromised members of lobby groups who decide policy. The Health dept is full of them.

There was a time when MPs understood the really important idea that they represented ALL their constituents. When the understood that they represented not just non-smokers but also the 25% who were smokers. Now, many MPs regard smokers a lepers, cash-cows, sub-human. Brown paper bags.



11 Responses to “Brown Paper Bags”

  1. elenamitchell Says:

    I keep brown paper bags, when I can get them. They are much better for storing some food products because they don’t sweat the food.
    I keep old potatoes in a brown paper bag. They don’t go green or mouldy, and sprout away quite nicely, waiting to be planted.

  2. Samuel Says:

    The idiot save the world clan recently got a plastic bag ban passed in my home city. The back slapping, craft beer toasting and general, self congratulatory, celebrating was noted widely. All retail stores were required to stop ‘giving away’ plastic and paper bags.

    The result? No change. Except that now we all have to pay 10 cents for each bag (some even charge for the cardboard boxes they used to throw away). Just as many bags go out the door as before (more cheaply made than before).

    Tobacco companies have effected little resistance to infringements on their retail operations for similar reasons.

    Firstly, it is certainly a losing proposition to fight the shrill tools of your enemies. Just because you are right doesn’t mean you can win when your enemies are screaming in the streets.

    Secondly, it is easier to bend with the wind of opposition than stand upright and be uprooted. The tobacco companies accepted persecution and paid fines (without formally admitting guilt) and gained protection from competition and free reign to raise prices and hide them within the added taxes their enemies loaded onto the cost to customers. In the same way retailers chose not to fight the ban on bags because they knew they could force people to pay for what used to be “free” and escape blame because “the law” did it and not them.

    Now, of course, there is a move to make the bag ban State wide. The fools who succeeded on the local level, rather than see what is clear to everyone else (that it did nothing) want to carry the stupidity outward and raise costs for everyone everywhere.

    Industry will not fight this stupidity because their enemies framed the “debate” to where any opposition is advocating the destruction of the planet. Better to appear to one with their enemies and shape the outcome to produce greater profits and protection from competition.

  3. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    Your comments on cigarette packaging are absolutely brilliant and an excellent summary of the idiotic position we are now in. Theft of company property and unpaid advertising, none of which the consumer of the product requires. Additionally, what other legal product does the consumer have to pay 80% tax on ?
    You are right that the Zealots aim is the total destruction of tobacco companies and following that the nascent e.cig industry. I now face the loss in May 2016 of a particular product which has bought great pleasure to me over many years – flavoured, Oriental cigarettes. In 2020 many people will lose their cig of choice, i.e Menthol cigarettes.
    How can it be that we have arrived at a Totalitarian state similar to North Korea. I thought I lived in a Free Market State. Apparently not !
    Appeasement never works and we must wake up to what the likes of Davis and Arnott really WANT.

  4. elenamitchell Says:

    Don’t worry about it. The Tobacco Companies will never be defeated. Besides, we can always grow our own, so what would be the point?

    • Timothy Goodacre Says:

      Unfortunately Elena I particularly love the Tor blends and will be very sad when they go in May. I guess many people thought that when we lost Gitanes And Gauloises in the UK. I very much doubt they will survive Plain Packaging when it comes in in France.

  5. elenamitchell Says:

    I buy the odd packet of Gauloises, but I mostly tube roll my own these days. But I only have to ask if I want to know what is what. Being a Brit smoker sometimes come in handy. They want to sell me fags, so they help me.
    I bought a packet of some sort of shite today. You press the filter if you want Menthol. Or perhaps you don’t. I think I missed the nuance of the negative. I pressed the filter and it came up like an ordinary fag. So I won’t press the filter next time.
    But I hadn’t had a fag for two hours so I didn’t really care.

    • Timothy Goodacre Says:

      Enjoy the Gauloises while u can Elena. In the UK i cant find the Turkish tobacco i desire for tubing.

  6. smokingscot Says:

    The law in England differs from that in Scotland on carry-bags. Yours only applies to plastic bags, whilst our applies to all single use bags (including paper and starch).

    Should you really, really, really want a paper bag, then Primark uses them exclusively and Mc Donald’s does as well.

    So “This is Money” says:

  7. elenamitchell Says:

    I don’t know what to say, Timothy. I smoke, and I often don’t care what I smoke. There was a time when I was particuliar.. That’s French for Particular and Peculiar, which actually mean the same thing, if you think about it.

  8. elenamitchell Says:

    Smokingscot. Plastic bags are bad news, much as I used them as rubbish bags. France phased them out about five years ago without a murmur of discontent. At which point we should all have been buying shares in Bin Liners. But then The French only ever kick up a fuss about things that really matter. Like bugger off and leave my Fosse Septique to me. I don’t need to spend 2,000 Euros on something that is working just fine just because Brussels says I should.
    There will always be something more important than a free, pathetic little shopping bag whose handles always break just as you are about to stuff it in the car.

    In the meantime, plastic bags still come free if you buy vegetables. I use those for freezing stuff. So no win and no lose. I just need a few more Brown Paper Bags. No Sweat, you see.

  9. junican Says:

    Nice to see people having a chat! I’m too tired tonight to respond, but the comments speak for themselves. There is not a lot to be said.

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