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22 shades of hipsterness

No bags, please, just put it in my bicycle panniers

I approve of your willingness to go full Nancy Drew on this one.
I approve of your willingness to go full Nancy Drew on this one.

Hipster: People all over town are giving away their hipsterness (or lack thereof) in front of local grocery stores! Since those little plastic bags were banned in California, I’ve noticed that shoppers differ widely in how they bag their groceries. Organic health-food grocery shoppers tend to arrive with matching bags; often burlap featuring pictures of vegetables.Very hip! In contrast, dollar-store shoppers often don’t bother with any bags at all, preferring instead to juggle everything in their arms on the way to their cars. I’ve asked around. One shopper explained to me, “I have lots of bags at home,” but others have told me they forgot the bags are in their cars, or that it isn’t any of my business. Could this total disregard of “shopping-bag hipness” be considered hip? — Vivian

When you said, “giving away their hipsterness,” I had this beautiful vision of a hipster charity, organized at ground level the way the Salvation Army sends people out to ring bells at grocery stores every December. The unhip could receive surplus hipstertude from generous hipsters. Personally, I could enrich the lives of half a dozen squares with the extra coolness that I exude on any given day. Why should hipsters conglomerate as a fabulous 1 percent, hoarding all the coolness for themselves?

But, no, it is not to be. You meant “giving away” as in “tipping your hand.” The dream dies as soon as it’s born. It wouldn’t have worked anyway. Coolness is a zero-sum game in which the value of cultural cachet comes from having more than others. If we spread all the coolness out evenly, so that everybody had his fair share, that would leave the whole world looking like green-tea ice cream: desperately trying to prove it isn’t boring, but just about as basic as it gets without being actually flavorless.

I also approve of your willingness to go full Nancy Drew on this one. Just sayin’.

Like Forrest Gump’s shoes — or the slightly-less-well-known (but totally underrated) bit about hands, not eyes, being the window to the soul from the zealously casted yet underperforming late-’90s Great Expectations — you can tell a lot about a hipster from his shopping bag. Ranked in approximate order from least to most hipster, I give you, shopping bags :

(1) Never shopping because you go to Carl’s Jr. 3x per day;

(2) Buying fresh editions of those heavy duty plastic bags that they’ll sell you for a dime;

(3) Reusing those heavy duty plastic bags to save a dime;

(4) Reusing old, pre-shopping-bag-ban plastic bags to save all the dimes;

(5) Permanent shopping bags with the store’s name on them;

(6) Permanent shopping bags with some other store’s name on them;

(7) Tote bags from charitable organizations (double points for NPR);

(8) Shopping bags from foreign grocery stores and/or tote bags from outside the U.S. generally;

(9) Radio Flyers;

(10) Milk crates;

(11) Burlap sacks from third-wave coffee roaster(s);

(12) Burlap sacks from actual livestock feed;

(13) No bags, just put it in my backpack;

(14) No bags, please, just put it in my bicycle panniers;

(15) No bags, please, just put it in my pockets;

(16) No bags, please, I’ll just carry it;

(17) No bags, please, my dog will just carry it;

(18) No bags, please, my dog will just carry it, and also he’s a service dog so you don’t get to pet him;

(19) Amazon Fresh;

(20) Community supported agriculture delivery from a local organic farm;

(21) Grow your own on urban farm;

(22) Forage all groceries from city streets.

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“Anytime you have a pool, or a bathtub, or a toilet, or a bucket, a child can drown.”
I approve of your willingness to go full Nancy Drew on this one.
I approve of your willingness to go full Nancy Drew on this one.

Hipster: People all over town are giving away their hipsterness (or lack thereof) in front of local grocery stores! Since those little plastic bags were banned in California, I’ve noticed that shoppers differ widely in how they bag their groceries. Organic health-food grocery shoppers tend to arrive with matching bags; often burlap featuring pictures of vegetables.Very hip! In contrast, dollar-store shoppers often don’t bother with any bags at all, preferring instead to juggle everything in their arms on the way to their cars. I’ve asked around. One shopper explained to me, “I have lots of bags at home,” but others have told me they forgot the bags are in their cars, or that it isn’t any of my business. Could this total disregard of “shopping-bag hipness” be considered hip? — Vivian

When you said, “giving away their hipsterness,” I had this beautiful vision of a hipster charity, organized at ground level the way the Salvation Army sends people out to ring bells at grocery stores every December. The unhip could receive surplus hipstertude from generous hipsters. Personally, I could enrich the lives of half a dozen squares with the extra coolness that I exude on any given day. Why should hipsters conglomerate as a fabulous 1 percent, hoarding all the coolness for themselves?

But, no, it is not to be. You meant “giving away” as in “tipping your hand.” The dream dies as soon as it’s born. It wouldn’t have worked anyway. Coolness is a zero-sum game in which the value of cultural cachet comes from having more than others. If we spread all the coolness out evenly, so that everybody had his fair share, that would leave the whole world looking like green-tea ice cream: desperately trying to prove it isn’t boring, but just about as basic as it gets without being actually flavorless.

I also approve of your willingness to go full Nancy Drew on this one. Just sayin’.

Like Forrest Gump’s shoes — or the slightly-less-well-known (but totally underrated) bit about hands, not eyes, being the window to the soul from the zealously casted yet underperforming late-’90s Great Expectations — you can tell a lot about a hipster from his shopping bag. Ranked in approximate order from least to most hipster, I give you, shopping bags :

(1) Never shopping because you go to Carl’s Jr. 3x per day;

(2) Buying fresh editions of those heavy duty plastic bags that they’ll sell you for a dime;

(3) Reusing those heavy duty plastic bags to save a dime;

(4) Reusing old, pre-shopping-bag-ban plastic bags to save all the dimes;

(5) Permanent shopping bags with the store’s name on them;

(6) Permanent shopping bags with some other store’s name on them;

(7) Tote bags from charitable organizations (double points for NPR);

(8) Shopping bags from foreign grocery stores and/or tote bags from outside the U.S. generally;

(9) Radio Flyers;

(10) Milk crates;

(11) Burlap sacks from third-wave coffee roaster(s);

(12) Burlap sacks from actual livestock feed;

(13) No bags, just put it in my backpack;

(14) No bags, please, just put it in my bicycle panniers;

(15) No bags, please, just put it in my pockets;

(16) No bags, please, I’ll just carry it;

(17) No bags, please, my dog will just carry it;

(18) No bags, please, my dog will just carry it, and also he’s a service dog so you don’t get to pet him;

(19) Amazon Fresh;

(20) Community supported agriculture delivery from a local organic farm;

(21) Grow your own on urban farm;

(22) Forage all groceries from city streets.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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