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Shopping: Can I Get a Bag for That?

Two takes on reusable and/or recyclable ways to haul things around:

The Bottle Shopper bag. (Reisenthel)

I have a weakness for bags: tote bags, purses, yoga bags, tea bags, small bags that tuck into themselves so they can conveniently fit into BIGGER bags. Each one seems to beckon with the possibility of organizing my life in new ways.

Having sworn to reform my hoarding habit, I discovered a Web site that should be blocked from my computer. Reisenthel offers a plethora of bags and toting options. They are smart and tailored (not surprisingly, it's a German company). Although I could find an excuse to buy almost any of them, the one that caught my eye for style as well as function is the Bottle Shopper. The simplicity of carrying bottles on the outside made instant sense. I also appreciate the combination of short and long handles.

One more little bag couldn't hurt, right?

-- Leigh Lambert

But wait! There's more....

Speaking of bags within bags, my problem is this: The current crop of reusable grocery store totes in my house is already filled before I head to the store -- either with other tote bags or clothes bound for the cleaners or magazines cleared from a table last Christmas. Sometimes they're just holding other reusable bags -- you know, the ones that don't collapse very well.

That's why I've become a fan of a "bag combo" with a goofy name: The Baggler. A nice man named Mark Eichenbaum of Augusta, Maine, created the set. He says they started selling liked hotcakes in March. A zippered pouch holds three 18-by-12-inch nylon-esque bags that roll up to the size of plump ballpark franks, with slim Velcro'ed straps to keep them shut. A plastic contraption with a nonslip grip provides three hooks to hold the bags in place, keeping your wrists and fingers pressure-point free.

Baggler bags afford the option to shop on a whim without acquiring yet another bag, because they're slight enough to stash in a purse. I've seen at least one similar set on the market, but this carrying handle seems to set it apart -- particularly nice for city folk who schlep loaded bags for several blocks. Of course, you have to have a purse large enough to accommodate the pouch, which could be seen as just one more big bag....

Now, I admit that some days it takes me a while to roll the bags back into their straps, which are attached to a bottom corner on each bag. But then I have a piece of chocolate and things go better.

In about three weeks, Mark says his Baggler will be available in Office Max stores across the country. The set with handle will retail for about $12.99. He's scheduled to do a tour on QVC come January. For now, you can order them online (for less) at the company's Web site.

-- Bonnie Benwick.

By Leigh Lambert  |  September 3, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Shopping  | Tags: Bonnie Benwick, Leigh Lambert, kitchenware  
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Leigh - I share your bag weakness. It's incurable. I actually have one of the Reisenthel bottle bags - got it for a really good price at a local shop's sale a couple of years ago. I recall it was expensive before the sale. It's a very high quality bag, though I really haven't used the bottle part. One feature I don't understand is a very small clear plastic pocket to hold food trolley tokens. They include two plastic examples, a little smaller than quarters. Do you have any idea what they're for?

Posted by: fran426 | September 3, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The trolly tokens are likely coins for shopping carts. In parts of Europe (I've seen them in Italy) you have to use a token (in Italy this is actually Euro coins) to get a shopping cart. When you're done, you return the cart and get your token back. Kind of like some of the luggage carts at some airports.

I like it - it keeps people from abandoning carts all over the parking lot. It's also similar when you go to a street festival and you get a drink. They'll give you a real glass (or sometimes a plastic cup) but you pay a deposit. You can trade in the glass when you get another drink, but then when you leave you can return the glass for your deposit. My understanding is that this is mostly to reduce waste - the vendors use glass instead of plastic, or when they use plastic, they know that they'll get them back to recycle instead of the cups ending up in the trash.

Posted by: ArlingtonSMP | September 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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