I Pit the Military Commisary Bagger Charity System.

Being in the AF I enjoy the use of the commisary. The prices are decent (though not always the best) and it is close to my house (also on base).

But the thing that has ALWAYS peeved me about the commisary are the baggers. Not the people doing the work, but the fact that they are not paid by the commisary and you are expected to pay them yourselves. It’s ridiculous.

I don’t pay the guy at Albertsons for bagging my groceries. It takes about 2 minutes for you to load up my cart and another 2-3 minutes for you to load them into my truck. It’s a friggin pickup. I’m quite capable of loading my own bags thank you. I do happen to be an officer in the USAF and as such am required to maintain a certain lvl of fitness, surely able to load my own groceries. Hell, I’m a 28 year old man. ALOT of times the bagger will be a 60+ year old man or woman. I wouldn’t let my gramp load his groceries and I don’t feel comfortable letting someone elses grampa load mine either.

The typical “tip” is 2 bucks. Thats 2 bucks for 5 minutes of work. I know guys who used to bag groceries part time after they got off work and supplemented their incomes by 1K-1.5K a month. No joke.

At least ASK me if I would like help with my groceries. Don’t just assume I need it.
Chances are I would tell you no anyway.

Sorry if this sounds bitter. It’s nothing against the baggers themselves, just the organization for supporting this farce.

Of, for those that don’t know already, there are signs all over the place that say “Baggers are not paid by the commisary and work for tips”.

The thing that brought this to a head tonight is that me and my daughter went shopping and I forgot to bring the “mandatory” couple bucks for the tip. I paid with my debit card before I realized I didn’t have cash to tip.

TOO LATE! A guy who had to be AT LEAST 70 had loaded my goods and was walking out the door with them. He puts them in my truck and I told him I was sorry I didn’t have any cash and he just let out a grunt (aka cheap-ass Lt) and walked away.

I don’t need that shit. I’m a single dad and a butter-bar at that. I don’t HAVE to give you my money old man! I can spend it on daycare and gasoline!


I am sure that I speak for more than one of us when I ask for a definition of this term.

Butter-Bar is the perjorative nickname for a Second Lieutenant, AKA the guy in charge (usually straight out of college) that doesn’t know anything at all. It’s one of the accepted (though illegal) conventions that you can jerk a 2nd Loo around because they either won’t know what’s going on or if they do they’ll end up making fools out of themselves. It’s a really bad rank to be at, and all officers start there.

The name comes from the fact that rank insignia is one gold bar.

Prices, heck, the selection is fabulous. Way better than your standard grocery store. I am jealous of my brother just because he has commissary access, even though he doesn’t have a kitchen so he doesn’t do much real shopping!

And now I know more. Thanks!

This butter-bar has 6 years of enlisted time behind him though. :slight_smile:

Just saying…

With six years of enlisted service behind you, why would you intentionally lower your IQ by about 50 points? Had you not done so, you would have already known that you don’t owe the baggers anything that you can’t afford to pay, and that they already think you’re a schlub because you are a Second Lieutenant, whether you pay them or not.

Geez, sir, do us enlisted folks have to tell you everything? :stuck_out_tongue:

It is the **worst ** rank in the military (the Navy equivilent is Ensign, J.G. (Junior Grade)), you have no credibility with either the officers or enlisted personnel.

Slight nitpick: Not all officers start of as a butter-bar. Mercifully, I was commissioned as a 1LT.

As for the baggers at the Commisary, I generally try to tip, but if I do the debit card thing, and miss a tip, I don’t feel too guilty about it. They are making $15-20/hr. for bagging groceries, which is a good gig if you can get it…

To translate this for the True Dopers out there: It’s the Wesley Crusher of the military!!

Having been on both sides of the fence I can say, with certainty, that the sub Senior Airman ranks are worse than 2Lt. Once you put on SrA people don’t know how long you have been in the AF. Could be 2.5 years, could be 11years. No way to tell. Any rank lower than SrA and people know you are still green and will second guess you in a heartbeat if they don’t work with you on a regular basis.

2Lt is a toughie mainly because of the perception that if you are a 2Lt, then you MUST be new to the AF and as such don’t know anything. This is exactly the reason that I wear both my enlisted AFSC badge (CE) and my officer AFSC badge. Most people realize that I’m not new and they treat me MUCH differently than they do other 2Lts

I’m living proof that just because someone is a 2Lt does NOT mean they are new to the AF. I’ve been around longer than some of the Captains I work with. Hell, I work with a 1Lt who was testing for Senior Master Sgt. (E-8) when he got his bars.

JAGs start at 1st Lt. Medical doctors start at Captain.


I usually try to remember to bring a couple of bucks when I shop at the commissary, but sometimes I forget. I usually use my debit card to pay for everything, since I don’t like to carry cash around.
The people at the commissary here act like they’d rather kill you than let you carry your own stuff out to your car. I tried once. If you only have a couple of bags, it’s fine. I asked once if I could take the cart out to my car and the lady paused and made all kinds of excuses. I told her that I’d bring it back and she said that it was a long way to walk with the baby. I told her that wasn’t a problem, and she told me it would be better for me to drive my car up to the front of the store and she’d meet me there. Whatever.
Anyway, I had that same lady the next time I shopped there. When we got out to the car, I opened the trunk and went to the passenger door and sat my bag down, and then put my daughter in her carseat in the back. The lady said “Here’s your bread.” so when I got done with Em, I grabbed the bread and put it in the backseat. When I walked to the back of the car, she was trying to shut the trunk, but part of one of the bags was in the way and she tried to shut it and shut the bag in it (Crushing the box of food, I noticed, when I got home. No big deal, it was just noodles, but still. She also almost slammed my hand in it, since I was trying to move the bag back into the trunk), and the trunk popped back open. She slammed it again and it shut. I told her thanks, and before I could say anything else, she said, very rudely, “We work for tips.” and spun around and walked off.

Since I actually had money that day, but was I wrong in not doing so because she was such a rude fucking bitch? All I did was tell her thanks. My purse was in the car since I had to sit it down to put Em in, and even so, she didn’t even allow me enough time to say “Hold on while I grab my purse” or even allow me enough time to grab some cash from my pocket before she got rude with me. It really pissed me off. It pissed me off even more when I went to get my groceries out of the trunk and realized that when she bagged them, she stuck every single canned good I bought into one bag (9 cans plus one big jar of spaghetti sauce.), then dropped it into another bag and tied it shut. Tying it shut means that I’ve got two tiny loops of handle to carry this heavy bag with. Add that to the fact that she almost slammed my hand in the car, she did slam my food in the trunk and she was rude and I’ve decided that if I ever see her beginning to bag my groceries again, I’m going to ask for someone else.

I don’t like being expected to pay someone to bag a couple of bags of groceries and then carry them to the car, especially when you are made to believe that you can’t carry your own bags out. If it’s raining/snowing then I’m up for it, but on ordinary days, I’d rather do it myself. The whole idea of a “tip” is negated when the “tip” is no longer optional. I don’t shop there too often anymore, except for select items, because there is a grocery store in town with gas pumps, and they offer specials where you buy an item and get X cents off per gallon on your next gas purchase there, up to 15 gallons. My little car doesn’t hold that much, and last time I shopped there I got a nineteen cent discount per gallon on my next gas purchase. They also usually have some of the lowest gas prices in town.

As usual, lawyers and doctors are given evidence of how great they think they should be.

Bah humbug, I say. Why not start them out at General and get it over with? :stuck_out_tongue:

No. Ensign is Butter Bar, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) is the next step up. There is no Ensign JG. I know. I was both. In the Pentagon. Yep, that’s just the place you want to be when you’re freshly commissioned…

Actually, any (generally) master’s-level position (except JAGs, who are lawyers and thus [usually] JDs) comes in as a 1LT; for example, chaplains who hold advanced theology degrees do an internship as an O-1 and come into active service as an O-2 once they’re ordained.

Doctorate-level positions (MDs, PhDs, that sort of thing, but not lawyers) come in at O-3.


To get back to the commissary bag boy bitch for just a moment and to get away from the discussion of the relative value of lieutenants (like virtue among whores), one of the factors that complicates the whole thing is that under the archaic conventions still in force is those dark days when I was O-1, O-2, and O-3 was that officers in uniform did not carry packages. They were not suppose to carry an umbrella either – the umbrella thing appears t have something to do with the Duke of Wellington commenting that an officer with an umbrella made himself ridiculous in the presence of the enemy. The D of W was given to some strong ideas about Catholics voting, the Corn Laws and whether the population of Ireland could be regarded as truly human as well as the manlyness of unbrella use. By extension officers wives a.k.a. “the captain’s lady” was not to carry packages either, although the spouse was permitted the use of an umbrella, perhaps when not in uniform if the spouse was also a service member. The result of the “no packages” dictate and its extension to spouses was that there had to be somebody to carry packages at the commissary and the commissary was not funded to provide bag boys. The consequence was private bag boys working for tips.

That you get old guys (and let me remind all that 62 is not old, it is mature) is no surprise since all sorts of service people have parents living with them as part of the family and most posts have all sorts of retired personnel living in the area. The work is certainly not strenuous, the hours are flexible, it provides some amount of human contact and you, the commissary patron, are free to carry your own stuff (you miserable cheapskate, you).

I have no idea whether the bag boys are screened or not. Maybe this is something for Secretary Ridge and the boys to look into. You would hate to have the bag boy slip an infernal device in with the frozen Australian beef.

No. You’re not. That’s the thing. angelicates experience is typical. I don’t go to the commisary to fight with the baggers and explain myself. I want to buy my shit and get the hell out.

I stand corrected. There are two “levels” of Lieutenant, not Ensign. I should have known better. Thank God my father, the former Marine DI does not read this board–I’d still be in the process of being dropped…

Another slight nitpick (and this time, I’ll get it 100% correct): Lawyers do come in as O-2 right out of law school. However, if they have had experience (>2 years)practicing law, they can come in as an O-3. With even more practice experience, they can some in with so many years of constructive service that O-4 will not be too long of a wait for them.

I’m not sure about the USAF, but I know physicians who have received their commission in the Army as an O-4.
Anyway, I’m heading to the Commisary at Scott AFB today, and I will be sure to fight the power! :wink: