A Canadian store's attempt to help the environment and gently shame its customers into avoiding plastic bags by printing embarrassing messages on them has not gone quite as planned.

Far from spurring customers to bring their own reusables, the plastic bags — variously emblazoned with "Dr. Toews' Wart Ointment Wholesale," "Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium" or "The Colon Care Co-op" — have become somewhat of a surprise hit.

"Some of the customers want to collect them because they love the idea of it," David Lee Kwen, the owner of the store, Vancouver's East West Market, told The Guardian newspaper.