The Bag Lady


By Cindy Argiento

I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know when it happened. All I know is – I had turned into my mother. 

The realization hit me when I caught myself salivating over a photo of a Zip-Top Bag Holder. This bag claimed to hold 40 – plus gift/shopping bags of all sizes. How lucky can one person get? To be able to own an official bag holder would make my life complete. I could get rid of the large shopping bag currently holding all my bags and replace it with this state of the art bag. So, I threw down the bag I was folding and ran to the phone to place my order. My mother would be proud.

You could say my mother was the original bag lady. Since she had a secret hiding place for her bag of bags it was all very mysterious. People would show my mother an object for which a bag was needed. They would stand before her, kneel and plead, “Please, help me Godmother.” She would eyeball the object in question and quietly disappear to what I called her Magic Bag Vault. Minutes later she would reappear with the exact size bag needed. They would then bow, kiss her ring and utter, “ Thank you Godmother.” It was mysterious and scary at the same time. Also, it was amazing how she always had the exact size bag needed. She also adhered to a very strict filing system. She filed bags by size – small to x-large. Paper bags were filed with paper bags and plastic with plastic. Paper and plastic never mingled.

Some bags were collected from grocery stores and some from department stores. Some were a result of a birthday 2-fer, a gift in a bag. She always considered the bag the real gift. Some I’m afraid were obtained by outright stealing. She would zero in on people with a bag that caught her fancy. These poor people never knew what hit them. She would nuzzle over to her perspective victim and go to work. “You don’t really need this bag, do you? No! Good, I’ll take it off your hands. Please, there’s no need to thank me.” Before her victim could respond she would swipe the bag, fold it, admire it and then whisk it off to safety in her Magic Bag Vault.

I guess you can call it a case of osmosis cause now when my children receive gift bags my heart pounds quickly as I take the bag from them, wrap my fingers around the nametag and yank it off; no name tag – no proof of possession. The bags are then added to my own collection.

When I get my Zip-Top Bag Holder I’ll have to find someplace good to hide it. I don’t want my kids pawing thru it and messing up my filing system. If they need a bag they’ll have to beg, just like I did. I wonder if my mother has a Zip-Top Bag Holder. Who am I kidding, of course she has one – and a bag for it!

Cindy Argiento is a freelance writer. She is a public speaker for her book “Deal With Life’s Stress With ‘A Little Humor.’“ To contact her or to book her for your next event, go to


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