BAG BAN BLUNDERS: Pittsburg's ban on the use of plastic bags at retail stores kicked in last week. No big surprises there.

But it came as a bit of a surprise for The Eye to see (and hear) that the Antioch Walmart had also stopped using the bags even though there's no bag ban there.

In fact, on Wednesday, the retailer's checkout stands had the canvas bags that customers could purchase for 25 cents apiece and paper bags for 10 cents.

(Side note: The Eye did have to fork over a quarter to leave the store with the purchase.)

The next afternoon, another trip to the Lone Tree Way store revealed that the plastic bags were back. A clerk told The Eye that the Bentonville, Ark.-based company's corporate office contacted store management and there had been a mix-up.

A Walmart spokeswoman explained that there had been a misunderstanding involving the nearby plastic bag ordinance.

"We apologize for any confusion this may have caused," Rachel Wall, a Walmart spokeswoman, said. "Anyone who was charged for a bag during that time is welcome to bring in that receipt for a refund."

Wall said the store will continue to offer reusable shopping bags for purchase at its stores as an alternative to paper and plastic bags.

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION: Students from a Northgate High School government class dropped by the Concord City Council meeting last week to see their elected representatives in action.

At the end of the brief -- and rather uneventful -- meeting, Councilman Edi Birsan delivered an impromptu civics lesson.

"I want you all to understand that if you're 18 by the time of November, you may get an opportunity to actually vote for one of these people," Birsan said. "You can register now to vote even if your birthday is not now. You don't have to be 18 now, you have to be 18 by November.

"So I expect that when you go back to class tomorrow you will demand voter registration forms, and if there's any shortage you can always send me an email and I'll be right over."

"Thank you, Councilmember Birsan, for inciting revolution in Northgate High School," Mayor Tim Grayson quipped.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS?: San Francisco 49ers fans won't have to wait long to pick up championship gear if their team defeats the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's NFC Championship game to advance to the Super Bowl.

Sports Authority issued a news release last week announcing that officially licensed 49ers NFC Conference Champions apparel and merchandise will be on sale at its Bay Area stores immediately after Sunday's game -- that is, if the 49ers win.

There was no word in the release, however, on whether local Seahawks fans will have the same opportunity if their team prevails. Or what the sporting goods chain plans to do with all that 49ers championship gear if there is no championship to celebrate.

As the Eye can attest, there's nothing new about retailers getting ahead of themselves by stockpiling apparel celebrating championships that have not yet occurred. As a 9-year-old back in January 1982, the Eye was glued to his television as the 49ers battled the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game. With the 49ers trailing late in the fourth quarter, the Eye's mother returned from a shopping excursion and handed him a shirt proclaiming the 49ers as NFC champions.

The Eye immediately grew fearful that his dream of a 49ers Super Bowl suddenly had been jinxed by the premature purchase. Fortunately, Joe Montana and Dwight Clark made certain a few minutes later that there would be no need for a store return with the play immortalized as "The Catch."

Assuming history repeats itself Sunday, East Bay 49ers fans can find Sports Authority outlets in Antioch, Concord, Dublin, Emeryville, San Leandro and Union City. Stores will remain open until 10 p.m. after the game and open as early as 7 a.m. the following morning.

Staff writers Paul Burgarino, Lisa P. White and Craig Lazzeretti contributed to this column.