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

Keeping the Environment Sustainable
Sample Dialogue
Vocabulary
 

Keeping the Environment Sustainable

Japan prides itself for the quality of its customer service as visitors are always amazed by how considerate and helpful the staff are. In particular, grocery and convenience stores both treat clients with utmost respect by paying attention to the details and offering all sorts of items. These include things 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”.
To find out more on how to say no, you can check this blog out!

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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