It really hasn't been that long since I got funny looks from store clerks when I brought my own shopping tote and declined the stuffing of my purchases into a flimsy piece of plastic.
As someone who shops nearly everyday for either myself or my personal chef clients, I appreciate the time saved by packing my own things, my own way.
This also annoys stores who employ bored baggers, which these days are about as rare as a full service gas station. Remember when stores had special carts that the bagger filled, then followed you to your car and actually helped you put them in the trunk? (If you are under 35, probably not).
But I digress. My weapon of choice for shopping trips is this European handle model. I picked up several at Home Goods for about a fourth of the Sur la Table price. They always bring comments of admiration from clerks and other shoppers.
For heavy duty market shopping at West Side Market, I have the "old lady" folding cart. Without the optional liner, I have been known to leave a trail of small potatoes.
The latest weapon in my shopping arsenal is this yummy lime green (you're surprised?) tote on wheels that I scored at Home Goods for $20. Plenty of room inside, a couple of pockets outside, with nice big wheels. This will be great for zipping through the farmer's market. The only drawback for me is that the handle doesn't telescope up a little more; I'm tall and it's a little low for me.
I test drove it Saturday night by toting my tablecloths and dishes for my dinner for two. It worked perfectly. I also have a cooler that's very similar in size, and shape (and color), which is indispensable for summer grocery shopping.