The Grocery Store Bagger (truly MPSIMS)

Mr. Jones called and expressed a desire for a simple dinner, steak, vegetable, potato and a bottle of red wine. Very easy, not too much prep for me, the cook, so once I get home from work and putter around a bit changing clothes and answering e-mail I head out to Publix.

I pick up two nice looking rib-eye steaks, a bag of ready to cook washed and trimmed green beans, two nice baking potatoes and some strawberries for dessert (Mr. Jones has a wicked sweet tooth). Over at the wine isle I can’t decide so I end up with a Cline 2002 Syrah and a J. Lohr 2002 Paso Robles Cabernet. I make a mental note that we shouldn’t drink both bottles in one night because we’ll feel like shit tomorrow.

I head up to the registers and start to put my basket down when I remember…we’re almost out of body wash. I step out of line and head back to the soap isle and settle on the Ocean Breeze scented Suave. It’s cheap and doesn’t smell too girly so Mr. Jones won’t mind it.

Back to the register. I’m in the express lane, 10 items or fewer it says (guess they got the memo about ‘or less’ being poor grammar and all that). I lay out my stuff, the nice old gent behind the register asks me how I am, I reply “I’m well thank you and you?” He replies in the affermative and continues to ring up my stuff. I head over to the card reader and swipe my card and enter my PIN. Now I’m just waiting for the cashier to finish ringing my stuff and the bagger to finish bagging. This is where it gets interesting (as if this story wasn’t scintillating thus far)

The bagger is another older gent, white hair and heavy accent that sounds faintly italian. He says that he’s going to put the wine in paper bags for better protection. I agree that’s a good idea…then the bagging begins.

He’s not very fast, nope not very fast at all.

First each bottle goes into its own wine sized paper bag, then each paper bag encased bottle of wine goes into a regular plastic grocery bag the handles of which are tied in a knot.

By the time he finished tying the knot on the second bag I’m finished paying for my groceries and the cashier is already ringing up the guy behind me (who is purchasing lots of cold remedy stuff. I hope he didn’t breathe on me)

The rest of my groceries, steak, beans, potatoes go in a third plastic grocery bag. Everything except the body wash which we all know can never, ever be put in with food lest the soap contaminate the foodstuffs.

Now the bagger (who is cheerfully and lovingly and thoughtfully bagging my items with the utmost care) pulls out the little platform from the end of the check out stand and reaches under for two full sized paper grocery bags. He opens one, then inserts the second into the first. Double bag, the only way to go. Now, the double bagged and tied bottles of wine go into the double paper sack, the plastic bag with the food goes on top of that and the body wash is gently laid on top.

He smiles and asks me if I’d like help out with my one bag. I decline and bid him good evening. As I walk away I realize that the register guy has checked out the guy behind me, bagged his stuff and is almost finished with the next person in line.

Clearly this person shouldn’t be on the express lane where everyone is usually in a hurry but it really makes me appreciate a job well done. He really made sure my wine wouldn’t be harmed on the 2 mile drive home. I found myself imagining that if we were in Mayberry I would have spent those extra minutes chatting with the cashier and the bagger (both of whom I would know by name) and catching up on what’s new with them and their families. The guy behind me would do likewise. Perhaps the cashier would offer some home remedy for his cold.

For an average grocery store experience I have to say I feel very well cared for.

I do that, though I don’t live in Mayberry. I have a soft spot for old people-- I always chat with them, even if it’s just about the weather, beacuse they’re often hungry for human interraction. It surprises me how often I’m remembered for that-- people I barely remember will ask me how the planting of my tulips went (or whatever I spoke to them about last time.)

I have a soft spot for old people too. And the gents at Publix are really nice. That guy can bag my groceries anytime. I don’t care how long it takes.

If I counted right, the guy used seven bags to contain seven items. At least you wound up with everything in one paper sack.

The kids at Safeway would do the opposite - put each item in its own bag, leaving you to contend with seven slithery plastic bags. My partner used to teach people how to bag groceries, and this just drives him bats.

Since the arrival of plastic grocery bags, bagging has become a lost art.

The first job I had was being a bagboy at a couple of different grocery stores. I could bag the hell of some groceries in my day.

Plastic bags were just coming into the business when I got out of it.

The last trip I made to the grocery store, the bagger (a 30-something woman, not a kid) bagged my grapes with canned goods! I was full of grrr when I got home.

Why in hell would you have a soft spot for old people? Especially old men. They are grumpy and ciynical and entirely humorless, so get over you delusions. :wink:

And I hate it when the checker chats with the person ahead of me. And it’s even worse when that chatting continues as the person is walking away, escaping actually, and the checker is supposed to be attending to my purchase. :wally

And stay off’n David Simmons’ lawn too ye dadburn kids! Goldurn whippersnappers! :smiley:

I like the checkers and baggers in my favorite little local chain grocery store. David Simmons would hate all of us because everybody in that little store is all chatty in the checkout lines. Imagine a checker showing off the latest pictures of her grandkids. Now, imagine the store manager coming over to see what’s going on and saying, “Those the latest pictures of the grandkids? Let me see.” We can make Mayberry seem like New York City.

Publix employees are always very nice. I enjoy shopping there, even though they may be a bit higher priced.

One thing that really gets my goat is when people stand there gawking at the purchases being rung up and then being taken utterly by surprise that they are going to have to pay for them. So they start fishing around for their checkbook or credit card and a fountain pen (women) or taking of their gloves so they can get out their wallet and a coin purse (men), often having to also hunt for spectacles so they can properly count out 99 cents change (in nickles and pennies) from that coin purse. It’s a miracle that I haven’t had a stroke.

David Simmons I hate that too! I always get my card out when I’m still waiting for my turn and I swipe it immediately, as soon as the cashier has started scanning items. No need to wait.

Mr. Jones on the other hand is one who waits until the entire order is rung up to fish out his wallet. I figure in a few more years it’ll be one of those things that drives me crazy. But for now I let it slide. :smiley:

Of the available grocery stores in my area Ivylass Publix is cheaper. Albertson’s is the other one and everything there seems to be a bit more. The cat food my kitties like is a full $3 more at Albertsons and don’t even get me started on hair care products. But I still shop there because they have a bigger produce department and they’re closer to home.

But that’s the other thing. Almost never any baggers at Albertson’s, the cashier’s do all the bagging. Weird. Of course I use the self-check out a lot which means I’m the bagger. I try not to talk to myself but I’m sure it happens.

I’ll try to be gentle since this OP turned out so nice. When I unload my basket or cart, I categorize everything in little areas of like things that will fill a plastic bag just right. Yes, there’s the interference of the checker who may not grab them in order of these groups, but does no one teach bagging anymore? Chemicals don’t go with fruit. Cans and jars don’t go with smushableness.

And for God’s sake, Price Chopper, you were the ones who put out the special display demonstrating how your plastic bags hold four 2-liter soda bottles without breaking. Why then do your baggers insist on separately bagging each unit (bottle, six-pack) of soda or water?

Well, then, you’d probably love me.

When I’m paying by check (only at my local grocery, others I swipe a card), I use the time while the cashier is ringing up the goods to fill out the check with everything but the price, then I sign it. When the total comes up, I enter that very quickly, then tear the thing off.

I mean, what other constructive thing could I be doing while the stuff gets rang up? Stand there and give a frog look to one and all?


Me too. It’s the only way to go. If I’m paying cash I have my estimated cash amount in my hand (I make only relatively small purchases).

Help bag (aka try to get at least some of the goods bagged correctly by intercepting them before they get to the zoned-out bagger?)?

AMEN! As a former bagger, I can remember when there was an art and science to bagging. Square boxes against the sides of the bag to make sure it keeps its shape. Fill in the middle with canned goods, plastic bottles or other non-breakable items to form a sturdy foundation. Fill in the top with delicate items like eggs, bread, chips, etc. Group all frozen items together, and make sure to double bag that one. All meat products get there own small plastic bag before being placed in the bag. All cleaners, cosmetics, and other non-edibles kept separate from food products. And we actually LOADED THE BAGS INTO THE CART!

Based on the kind of service I’ve seen the last several years, though, I’d rather just bag it myself.

God, I feel like an old coot after writing that.

Same here, although I am sometimes unable to politely get the bagger to go elsewhere for a few minutes. I just end up rebagging everything when I get to the car.

I still remember fondly the bagging videotape I had to watch as part of the supermarket training when I was young. They must not do that anymore; I wouldn’t have known how to do it right without that tape either.

The baggers at my grocery store have a tendency to overfill the bags to the point that they are too heavy to lift. More than once I’ve said, “If this bag breaks, I’m calling your manager.” And I actually have had to do that a couple of times. Dipshits.

Don’t feel old. I learned the same way and I still prefer to bag for myself. And I’m only 26. So, they were still showing that video 10 years ago.

I really like most of the baggers and cashiers at the Stop and Shop where I usually go. There’s one elderly gent though who drives me crazy. His bagging style leaves me baffled and I can only assume he’s trying to prove he’s still strong. He will put as much as possible in a bag and then heft it into the cart. I then have to rebag it when I get to the car, just so I can lift it out of the cart.