Paper Bag Racism at Safeway?

For the past few weeks, a fairly intense discussion has been going on the CC Facebook page about the inequities between the paper bags offered at Rainier Valley Safeways compared to those offered at the grocery chain’s locations elsewhere in the city. The Stranger’s Charles Mudede (who lives in CC) picked up the story. Be sure to click here to read the full post below (and to dive into the 120+ comments). There has also been some direct CC Facebook response to Mudede’s article:

The Kind of Paper Grocery Bag Safeway Offers Black People Is Not the Same as the Kind it Offers White People?

The paper bag sold to those who shop at the Safeway on Rainier and Charleston….



And this is the paper bag sold at the Safeway on 15th and John…


The former bag is in a grocery store that serves one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the US. The latter is in a neighborhood that’s almost all white. The former bag is practically useless because it has, unlike the latter, no handles. What is this about? What is going on here? Why handleless paper bags in a neighborhood that is poorer and blacker? Why offer the more practical kind of paper bag in a neighborhood that is richer and whiter? No matter how you explain it, however, people will naturally look back at history, and then at reality, and just have to wonder.


The only good thing about handleless paper bags is that their uselessness is so pronounced (particularly for walkers like myself) that shoppers quickly learn the habit of bringing their own bag to the store. Is it possible that, in this instance, a little bit of racism is doing some good? The paper bags designated for blacks are making South Seattle a little greener?

When I asked an employee about the handleless bags at the Rainier store, I was informed that they were working through old paper bags and once done, they would change them.

Safeway’s headquarters in California were called about the bag situation at the Rainier store, but yet to receive a response.

One thought on “Paper Bag Racism at Safeway?

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