Japanese Essentials: How to Politely Refuse Plastic Bags At the Cashier

Help save the environment by learning this key phrase for how to politely refuse plastic bags at the store.

Posted by on August 28, 2017 – Japanese Study
plastic bags

Japan prides itself for the quality of its customer service and visitors are always amazed by how considerate and helpful the staff are. In particular, grocery stores and convenience stores treat clients with the utmost respect and the attention to details by offering all sorts of items, such as plastic bags, spoons, forks, chopsticks, little towels for your hands – everything is provided to make the client happy!

However, more and more conscientious shoppers are aware that those disposable items produce an unnecessary amount of waste and their use should be reduced.

To help out the environment let’s learn how to politely refuse plastic bags and other unnecessary items at the cashier!

Sample dialogue:

レジぶくろ、けっこうです。(No shopping bag, thank you.)

けっこうです is one of those phrases that can’t really be translated. The word けっこう means “sufficient”, fine” or “well enough” but it can also mean “no thank you”.

Be careful with your tone though, as being too harsh can sound impolite. レジぶくろ refers to the disposable plastic bags you can find at the cashier counter. In Japan, those bags usually cost between 2 and 4 yen at the supermarket but are free in convenience stores.

As your groceries are being rung up the cashier might ask you:

レジぶくろ利用りようですか。(Would you like a bag?)

You can answer はい、おねがいします if you want one or いいえ、けっこうです if you don’t.

At this point the cashier will probably say かしこまりました which is a polite expression meaning “understood” or “okay”.

Vocabulary::

  • おはし ー Chopsticks
  • スプーン ー Spoon
  • フォーク ー Fork
  • ストロー ー Straw
  • ミルク ー Milk
  • 砂糖さとう ー Sugar
  • ガムシロップ ー Gum syrup
  • 紙袋かみぶくろ ー Paper bag

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