A TikTok user says he was asked to pay 11 cents for a bag after completing a purchase for over $3,000 worth of merchandise at a Best Buy location in Kentucky. The assertion sparked debate on TikTok.
Plastic bag taxes have been introduced around the world in an attempt to curb the usage of disposable plastics.
Kentucky, where TikToker Matt (@mattplapp) is based, does not have a statewide tax, but the city of Louisville put a disposable bag tax into place this year. Additionally, Best Buy recently announced that it would be enacting its own 10-cent fee for plastic bags.
It’s unclear where Matt made his purchase. Regardless, the attempt to charge him for a bag did not sit right with him.
“What are you doing to give your customers a less than stellar experience?” he asked in the video’s caption, addressing Best Buy. The video currently has over 376,000 views.
Disposable bag taxes have found some success. After California enacted a tax on plastic bags, the number of plastic bags given to customers was reduced by 85%, and the number of paper bags was reduced to 61%, according to the Surfrider Foundation.
A similar tax in Chicago resulted in less plastic bag usage and higher utilization of reusable bags.
However, there have also been failures.
In an email to Daily Dot, Matt says that the point of his video was being misinterpreted and that his true point was about how the policy had been rolled out.
“I have zero issue with them charging for bags,” he wrote. “I pay for bags at businesses all the time. My point was that it wasn’t mentioned until after we had already paid for the 5 items, which at that point I’m not pulling my [credit card] out of my pocket to buy an 11-cent bag.
“The 2nd point is when someone spends $3,200 on 5 items, the cashier handing them a bag regardless should be part of their business practice,” Matt added.
Disposable bag fees have encountered other issues nationally.
After city officials banned lightweight plastic bags in Austin, Texas, in 2013, customers used bags made of heavier plastic—which are less environmentally friendly.
“Turns out that Austin’s residents were buying (and discarding) trash can liners now that they weren’t getting plastic bags for free,” Lucy Bayly wrote for NBC News.
Back on TikTok, some users supported Matt in his anger about the bag fee.
“I don’t care how much I buy at Best Buy I’m not paying for a bag either,” one user wrote.
“I’m not paying the 11 cents either,” agreed another. “It’s the principle not the price.”
That said, many users said that Matt’s decision to forgo the bag proved the idea’s effectiveness.
“I guess it worked!” exclaimed a commenter. “That’s literally the entire point of the regulation. You didn’t take a bag that you didn’t need.”
“So the system works, you’re using less bags???” echoed a second.
“You bought $3200 worth of equipment and you draw the line at 11 cents,” noted a third.
The Daily Dot reached out to Best Buy via email.
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*First Published: Nov 24, 2022, 1:10 pm CST
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine, and more.