A Valencia man has inadvertently achieved the world record for the highest number of bags-for-life. Eugene Costello reports…
Immigrant – or “expat”, as some say – Gary Newlove, 47, an English teacher, of Benimaclet was astonished when officials from Guinness World Records turned up on his doorstep with clipboards, asking if they could take a peek at his trastero.
“I’m not gonna lie,” says Newlove, “my Spanish leaves a little to be desired and I thought ‘tras’ meant ‘behind’, so I thought they were asking to inspect my bottom. “I thought, que fresco, and threatened to call the police.
“But they explained that they were talking about my storage room on the balcony, showed me their ID cards and I let them in.”
Once on the balcony, they opened the door to the trastero and a mountain of bags-for-life – 473 of them – tumbled out. Almost 90 percent of them came from Mercadona, but Newlove also had a handful from Consum and Lidl, alongside a box labelled colección privada, which contained his most-prized bags from Waitrose, M&S – and a Harrods bag found on the 57 bus in 1997.
Says Newlove: “They saw my blue IKEA bags falling out of another wardrobe and said they’d be back to measure them. I don’t know whether to feel proud, embarrassed or ashamed,” a common syndrome among British immigrants post-Brexit.
Newlove said, “I used to live with a yoga teacher and she instilled in me a fear of single-use plastic. I hope she’s happy now.”