I really don’t mean to complain.
Okay, maybe I do. I do mean to complain because, honestly, I don’t think grocery store baggers have any idea what they’re doing.
Not to mention I’m feeling a little snarky.
So I can vent here, right? This is my blog, after all.
Plus I’m currently on vacation, and silly, mindless sorts of posts are the easiest to write at times like this. 😉
Granted, a lot of bagging issues stem from the fact most grocery store baggers I see are of the teenage-boy type and have likely never grocery shopped in their lives beyond maybe bringing home a jug of milk or a loaf of bread at the request of their moms. That, or they’re cashiers who are also ringing up items as well as trying to bag them in a way that makes sense, which I will admit may be a lot to do at one time.
But I have to think there’s just not much attention being given to proper bagging of groceries. Sometimes I want to tell so-called grocery baggers to just step aside — let me do it myself — and of course more and more places are providing that option! For grocery bagging perfectionists like myself, that’s actually pretty wonderful.
I even try arranging my groceries on the belt in a particular order in hopes my organization will somehow help the poor bagger who I know has no idea what he’s doing while he carries on a loud conversation with another teenage employee about the upcoming UK game or the latest soap operas going on at the local high school. But if I can’t work fast enough and if my cashier is a good one and rings up my items too quickly, my system falls apart and I know my groceries will be bagged in a random, senseless way designed to make me crazy.
So did you know there was once a day when grocery store employees went through training to learn how to bag groceries properly?
Really. They did that.
Granted, that was in the old days of bottle returns, hand-punched cash registers, and paper bags, but it’s not been so long ago that I don’t remember it. In fact, my own brother went to school with a Kroger employee who was in a grocery bagging competition.
Seriously. They did stuff like that. Because good bagging mattered.
Paper bags have gone mostly by the wayside, though places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have brought them back. (Yet another reason why I love both stores.) I derive a certain pleasure from the puzzle that paper bags provide. It’s fun to watch a cashier carefully and thoughtfully arrange and rearrange and re-rearrange boxes and cans and bottles in a paper bag in order to both use the space efficiently and not destroy any foods in the process.
Sometimes they get it right. Paper bags make it a little easier I think.
So is it the advent of the plastic bag that has turned grocery store baggers, (or maybe their supervisors/trainers,) into lazy, mindless dump-it-all-in-a-bag-so-we-can-get-rid-of-this-customer kind of people?
Hmm. I’m not sure.
Now I’m not anti-plastic bag. I actually find them quite useful, but I really, REALLY want grocery stores, ALL of them, to bring back proper “Bagger Training”.
And here are just a few things I think this training would need to emphasize.
- Fresh tomatoes do not go in a bag with canned foods. Touch a tomato. Pick it up, feel it in your hand, press it with your finger, and you’ll understand why we don’t do this.
- One-pound boxes of butter and 32-oz. containers of spaghetti sauce should not be tossed in a bag with fresh green leaf lettuce or spinach. Most people don’t want to find their lettuce partially pureed when they get home.
- Cans should never be bagged with fresh meats. Nobody likes finding they had exposed meat rolling around in the trunk of their car and nobody wants to have to disinfect 7 bloody cans before putting them away in the cupboard.
- Bread and heavy items should not be bagged together. Bread is soft and springy to the touch. Most customers want it to still have some form when they get it home. Bread can be bagged with eggs, by the way, but only with the eggs on the bottom, not the other way around.
- Frozen items should not be bagged with hot, fresh-from-the-deli foods. Nothing like getting your chicken home for a hot dinner only to find it was sitting on ice packs the entire drive.
- Sometimes a bag is pretty pointless, like in this case…
- Every individual avocado, apple, cheese block, or package of safety pins does not need it’s own bag. Some customers may be thankful for the 137 bags you sent home with them, but it is not our job to individually wrap everything our customers purchase.
- At the same time, every avocado, apple, cheese block, beet, cereal box, banana bunch, salad dressing, box of tea bags, and container of sour cream does not have to be put in the same bag. Twenty-three items per bag is probably a bit much. Unless we’re talking 23 jalapeno peppers, in which case it’s probably fine.
- Spring Breeze-scented dryer sheets should not be bagged with fresh breads. Love the way those baked goods absorb artificial floral scents!
- Half-gallon containers of buttermilk and bags of potato chips do not mix. Do I really need to explain this??
- Boxes go with boxes.
- Cans go with cans.
- Bottles go with bottles and sometimes with boxes.
- Meats go with meats. Are you seeing a pattern here?
- Fruits and vegetables like being bagged with their own kind. They’re snobby that way. Though beware of trying to pack a bag of potatoes with fresh bok choy.
- If a bag feels heavy to you, double-bag it. It often makes customers unhappy when they go to load their groceries in their car and four cans fall out on their foot and a jar of pickles breaks on the asphalt right in line with their rear tire.
- If somebody buys a gift card, don’t throw it on top of the 4-lb. chuck roast. That was supposed to be a GIFT.
Please, grocery stores, for customer sanity and the good of fresh vegetables everywhere. I plead with you: Bring back real grocery bagger training.