Shop's attempt to shame plastic bag users backfires

One of the bags
One of the bags. Photo credit: Facebook/East West Market

A Canadian supermarket's plan to shame customers into not using plastic bags has backfired, with the bags becoming a collector's item.

Vancouver's East West Market brought out bags emblazoned with "Dr Toews' Wart Ointment Wholesale," "Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium" or "The Colon Care Co-op" in an attempt to dissuade customers from taking them..

Store owner David Lee Kwen told the Guardian he was surprised by the bags' success, which has seen some customers trying to collect them.

"We wanted to give them something humorous, but also something that made them think at the same time. It's human nature not to want to be told what to do."

Canada recently announced plans to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, which covers straws, utensils and plastic bags.

"As parents, we're at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn't littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

"That's a problem, one that we have to do something about."

The bags cost five cents, which is less than it costs to print them, but owner Kwen is hopeful customers will take the hint and bring their own bags soon.

"Even if you have the bag, you have to explain its origin to your friends. And then, we've started a conversation," he told the Guardian.

And if they don't, he's getting the images printed on canvas bags too.