Nothing says "entitled consumerist snob" like the debate about free plastic bags at stores, something which people in the Netherlands have more or less relegated to a convenience but not a necessity. On Saturdays (the major shopping day), you'll see little old ladies trucking their roller-bags--sort of like rolling suitcases, but meant for carrying groceries and stuff like that--all over town, and most people lug around at least one large canvas bag. Even if they do have a plastic bag from a store, you can pretty much bet that it will have goods from several other stores inside.
I simply do not--can not--understand the mindset that people have that makes them think that they are entitled to free bags at stores. It was a rather big shock to me, seeing how many such bags my mother regularly received when I visited. I asked her why she didn't simply buy a tougher bag. I don't remember her answer.
It's not so much the plastic that bothers me as the extravagant wastage. Flimsy bags (which I actually try to get because I can put cat poop in them) rip after the first use, effectively nullifying any chance they have of reusal. The sturdier bags--the kinds you have to pay for in the supermarkets here--take up too much space, although we use them to schlep around shoes, and I use one to protect my purse against rain. Even so, we have an excess of bags--each one can be reused a plethora of times, and we usually do, unless one of us makes an impromptu trip to the supermarket, and forgets to bring a bag. But still--it's so much wasted plastic--you can't even pretend it's useful, because let's face it: canvas tote bags are so much better.