Then I started using one. And now I almost always use it for food shopping instead of a reusable bag, especially at the farmers market. Here's why I find it so indispensable:
The basket is extremely light and has a padded handle, so it can comfortably be carried by hand or over one arm. For small supermarket trips I use it while shopping instead of plastic grocery baskets, which are not as easy to carry when full. Because the handle is so wide and well-padded and the aluminum frame and polyester basket are so strong, it can handle a lot of weight.
The real advantage it has over bags is the ease with which it can be filled. Constantly reorganizing a big farmers market bag so that the ripe tomatoes don't end up crushed under the two pounds of potatoes is annoying and often futile. With a basket, it's much easier to move the delicate items out of the way and keep them there.
The handle can also be easily snapped down, so that the basket can be filled without having the negotiate around the handle. For me, this comes in handy when I am using it to carry containers of prepared food that need to remain flat. I can load them more easily than I would with a bag, and I don't have to worry about the basket tipping over or the contents shifting.
Although I carry my basket in the trunk of my car, it is light enough when empty to be convenient for those who rely on public transportation, as long as you aren't trying to cram it in with a lot of commuters. (It also theoretically folds flat, but I've never tried it and have heard the process is a bit inconvenient.)
I still bring along a reusable bag when I'm just buying a few items, but most of the time nothing can take the place of my Reisenthel basket.
• Find it: Reisenthel Carrybag, $39.99 - $42 on Amazon
Do you have one of these baskets?
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