The Lost Art of Bagging Groceries Logically

Most likely you've seen me as you enter the grocery store.

No, not the greeter who hands you a cart so you won't have to work it loose from 32 other carts in the line, but the woman off to the side standing over a cart transferring the contents of a half-dozen bags of groceries into two.

Mind you, when I got in line at the checkout, all of the items in those half-dozen bags were in the cart's Kiddie Seat, a space roughly 2.5 feet X 8 inches X 8 inches. I even qualifed for the lane marked "20 Items or Less". I always have 20 items or less. I live on the third floor of a building with no elevator, and whatever I buy has to go up in one trip. Well, it doesn't HAVE to, but after hauling one load up two flights of stairs, I'd rather not do it again any time soon.

Weight is the other consideration. There's a reason I don't buy a gallon of milk, a 10 lb. bag of sugar, and a giant jug of detergent in the same shopping trip. Did that once. Huge mistake. Both arms were an inch longer for a week.

But even if I didn't live at the top of two flights of stairs, it defies all logic for grocery clerks to use so many bags for an order that in the Old Days would've required no more than one paper bag, with room to spare.

Ah, The Good Old Days...

Before plastic bags became the norm, grocery baggers seemed to understand the relationship of mass to space available, and took great pride in fitting your purchases neatly into as few paper bags as possible.

In hindsight, this may've had less to do with good customer service than keeping trips to the storeroom to replenish the supply of those heavy bags to a minimum.

But I like to think they did it for customer satisfaction, because even when the weather outside was crappy, they'd still offer to take the bags out to your car. Now that I think about it, that was also before cart corrals were invented, and if you didn't take the bag boy's offer of assistance, you had to roll the cart back into the store yourself. (That is, if you couldn't park it somewhere near your car where it wouldn't roll into another car after you'd emptied it.)

Depending on the time of day you shopped, the bagger might be a retired gentlemen keeping busy during the day, or the neighbor kid down the street working after school. If the first, you knew the groceries would be packed logically with the weight distributed evenly, owing to years of carrying his own groceries in from the car. And the neighbor kid knew better than to put your eggs in the bottom, under the canned vegetables, or there'd be hell to pay because his mother would've heard about it before he ever got home that night. Which meant you could concentrate on making sure your items rang up at the correct price.

These days, you rarely see the same bagger twice, if there is one.

To shave the almighty bottom line, many stores now require the checker to check and bag. If it's a store where the checker slides your items into the bagging section of the checkout console until they're all rung up, great! But if there is a second person bagging during the ringing up, you have to make like a spectator at a tennis match to be sure you're being charged correctly and the eggs aren't going in the bottom of the bag.

Eggs in the bottom of flimsy plastic bags is why I began re-bagging before leaving the store.

It just got to be a waste of time and breath to explain the physics of a carton of eggs hitting a hard surface if the bag was dropped, which had happened several times (luckily not with eggs) when the handle gave way. Asking very nicely to please put the toilet paper in the bottom "to cushion the eggs", got only a blank stare from one bagger.

It was just just simpler to let them bag any which way, using more bags than necessary, then re-bag it all myself. This also eliminated the need to ask for double-bagging (those two flights of stairs, remember).

There seems to be no logic to bagging anymore

In stores where the checker has a plastic bag carousel and bags everything as it's rung up, there seems to be no logic whatsoever to bagging.

I assumed all had received some sort of training on this subject, and began looking for a common method. I was certain I'd found the key when several checkers bagged items in the order the customer put them on the conveyor.

Alright!

But this was apparently a fluke.

On my next trip to that store, I placed my items on the conveyor in the order I wanted them bagged. Frozen and cold items together (including a half-gallon of milk), then a 3 lb can of coffee with several "dry" items that weighed nothing. Bringing up the rear was a 5 lb bag of sugar and a package of toilet paper.

Well, that checker must've been out sick on Bag Training Day, because instead of taking things in the order in which I'd grouped them, she rang up the sugar and put it in a bag, then the coffee which went it with the sugar, then the milk. Meaning every single heavy item was in one flimsy plastic bag! Naturally, the toilet paper and everything that weighed nothing went into the next bag. Which left the few frozen items, which could've easily fit into space left in the t.p. bag, but noooo...they went into a bag all by themselves!

On the next trip, I bought milk (half-gallon), Febreez, and aspirins. That was it. One bag? Wrong. Three. Because, the checker explained, they're not allowed to "mix" chemicals (the Febreez) with food (the milk), and "medicine" (the aspirins) must also be segregated. Oddly, these rules don't apply if you bring your own bags. Go figure.

Re-bagging hasn't necessarily been eliminated by bringing my own, one insulated bag for cold items, and one canvas for non-perishables. If I'm only getting a few items, I'll put the canvas bag inside the insulated one before handing it to the checker, otherwise (I've learned from experience), she/he will put the milk in the insulated bag by itself and everything else in the canvas.

But the last trip has to take the cake.

When I rolled up to the checkout, everything I was buying that day was in the canvas bag. The checker even watched as I pulled each item out and placed it on the conveyor, followed by the bag. After ringing up, she put everything back into it except a rather sturdy loaf of garlic bread, which she put into a plastic bag. Said it all wouldn't fit "comfortably" (her words) in the one bag, but I certainly had no problem making the garlic bread fit...quite comfortably too!...out in the foyer of the store.

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Comments 125 comments

jim1307 8 years ago

Yes, I can remember those days well. And, I do see your point. Nowadays, mostly, there is no effort on behalf of the checkout operator. Everything is bagged into several carrier bags for ease, so that the shopper leaves quickly and they can serve more customers to make more money.

I too, usually carry two bags, both holdalls -and everything fits. My problems now are age and weight. I simply cannot carry what I used to. That leaves the final option - more trips to town to finish the shopping, carrying less weight so that the old bones and shoulders don't suffer.

It was a lovely read, and a good reflection on past times - well thought of and written. :))


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks for the compliment, Jim! Thanks also for pointing out grocery shopping is quite similar on both sides of The Pond. However, I do like the small grocery shops and green grocers in your villages much better than anything we have over here.

Don't know what to tell you about the age and weight issue except take comfort in the fact that if we live long enough, it happens to all of us eventually! :)


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

Nice one JamaGenee!

Actually I love grocery shopping-- always have, for some reason.

Your comment: "Because, the checker explained, they're not allowed to "mix" chemicals (the Febreez) with food (the milk), and "medicine" (the aspirins) must also be segregated. "

Isn't it interesting that they can put all kinds of chemicals IN processed foods, but have to separate them in grocery bags. (See my hub on salad dressings, and what is in them.)

I recently started bringing my bags-- they are really great-- kind of a nylon mesh that looks like lingere (that's what one checker said) . They fold up into a little attached pouch with a little loop on it so they are faily convenient. Took me a couple of times to figure out that it was a good idea to "unfurl" them and fling them on the conveyer BEFORE unloading the groceries. They are very strong-- easily carry about twice the weight of a plastic bag-- and more. Have to be careful not to overload just so I can still lift them.

I try to sort my items, too, partly becaue I want cold stuff together. In the summer especially, I put those in an insulated cooler in the trunk of the car. I live half an hour from the nearest real shopping, and we have high summer temperatures-- so it is important.

I have been known to do the shopping bag shuffle, myself.

Enjoyed it very much !


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

A very real trip at the check out counter of the grocery store, Training? I guess it's a forgotten characteristic of the business world in some companies. They have a high turn over and I guess they just gave up.

Your address has made you think about all packages in a logical way, you should write a workbook of sorts and sell it to them for their manuals. I'm sure they have them, as ADP and OSHA require it, even if it ends up being just for looks.

I know senior citizens would appreciate logical bagging too, and cold stuff together??? What a great idea! LOL

Do the workbook and call a major super store...such as Sweetbay, WalMart, or Target. Good Luck =0


Pam Pounds profile image

Pam Pounds 8 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

Enjoyable hub - and so true! I don't know how many times I've had to keep the eagle eye on the bagger so that the eggs and bread don't end up under the 12-pack of diet coke. Or that the ice cream doesn't get in the same bag with the hot rotisserie chicken. Believe it or not, I've had to tell a bagger not to put the raw chicken in the same bag with the lettuce!

However, my favorite is the question I get as I'm walking away from the checkstand with the cart full - all in the name of customer service, I'm sure, but it comes across more like an afterthought: "You want some help out to the car with that?" I always tell them "no". Because, after all, I've been pushing the cart-full of stuff all around the dang gum store!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Rochelle, I thought of you today when I tried to unfurl my insulated bag for cold items at the checkout! Had to settle for plopping it down in front of the checker instead. I've seen those bags that look like "lingerie"...lol...but at the moment have what could turn out to be a lifetime supply of free canvas ones. At least for this side of The Pond. If I ever get to England again, you bet I'll be snapping up their "lingerie" bags.

Marisue, I hadn't thought of writing a bagging manual, but as you said the stores probably already have them. I'm thinking more along the lines of a 1-page condensed version to hand to the checker on each shopping trip. They hand me the receipt, I hand them "Tips for Better Bagging".

Wow, Pam, I can't remember the last time a checker or bag person asked "You want some help out with that?". Oops, yes I do. The store on the other side of the park from where I live. But then a local chain I detest bought it, fired most of the staff that gave a darn, and I haven't been back.


monitor profile image

monitor 8 years ago from The world.

I very much enjoyed your hub JamaGenee. I for one am a fanatic at the check out and tend to make quite a show of doing the "right way" (my way) but I hazard to say my example will not effect many people in a positive way.

I suggest Marisue has a great idea above. Make a manual and sell it to the biggest stores you can find. Then maybe these wasteful days may be eliminated forever.

Your fan.

Mon.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Glad you enjoyed it, monitor! Who knows? If enough people insist on stores bagging the customers' way, logic might someday return to the checkout. Almost certainly the majority of checkers don't relish making customers grumble by being forced to follow the store's illogical bagging procedures.


Die'Dre' profile image

Die'Dre' 8 years ago from The Great Pacific Northwest

Cute article. You haven't seen bagging until you see me bag groceries. I bag by which cupboard or refrigerator compartment the items will be stored when I get home. Not sure if that is the most efficient or not, but it works for me.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Die'Dre', I think you bagging groceries according to where they'll be stored at home *would* be a sight to see! I have a tiny kitchen, so "cold" or "dry" works for me, but I'd say your system is VERY efficient...because it saves you time when you get home! Thanks for stopping!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Oh Gosh-- I am the world's most dis-organized bagger. I'm just happy if nothing rolls out onto the floor before I leave the store LOL


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Ah gee, Robie, all this time I thought you were perfect. Now I'll have visions of you chasing a can of peas or a head of lettuce out to the parking lot. LOL


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I can't believe I didn't see this Hub until now. The art of grocery bagging, or the lack of it, is one of my greatest peeves.

I'm with Marisue on this, a manual is in order. I've thought about contacting my supermarket chains and offering training sessions in bagging (I have a long career as a communications and training consultant). Nobody wants the grapes under the cauliflower.

I will tell you this. When I go to my supermarket, I bag. The cashier always thanks me, and I thank myself. That way the grapes aren't half grape jam by the time I get home.

Fantastic Hub! I have so much more to say about this, it's burning me up. It's all about lack of training, lack of customer service, and plain disregard for the money we spend to make the supermarkets successful. Shame on them all.

Six thumbs up.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Well, thanks for the thumbs ups, Sally's Trove! Nice to see you here. I only wrote this to get it off *my* chest, but obviously this a great source of stress for many people. Yes, supermarkets should be ashamed. They pay big bucks for all sorts of advertising gimmicks to get you *into* the store, but once the cash is in the register, they don't seem to care what happens to the items you've just purchased. Those ad bucks would be better spent on training employees to bag logically, because *good* word of mouth advertising is FREE.

You and Marisue should get together on that manual.


mvoisinet 7 years ago

When I worked at Jewel Food Store in Michigan City they always showed us a video on how to bag groceries. What you do is to build up the side walls in the plastic bag. What you do is place 2 boxes at the inside walls of the bag and you place the can goods in the middle of the bag. Then you put your filler item like sugar or flour on top of your cans and place crushable items like bread etc.at the very top. And you place your jars in the middle of the bag where the bag is strongest so they don't have a tendency to break. When your'e building your walls you can put some small cans or big cans in the middle and place crushable items at the very top so they don't get crushed. Sometimes it's virtually impossible to build walls. Sometimes you don't have the appropriate items in which to build walls with. Each customer and each order is entirely different from the other. Not every buys boxed items. So,you have to improvise and use common sense when you are bagging.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks for stopping by, mvoisinet. It's the common sense part that seems to be lacking no matter what items a customer buys. Just the other day, my purchases were two boxes of cereal, several canned goods, and a loaf of bread. The checker must've missed the second half of "Wall Building", because she placed the cereal on opposite sides of the bag just like you described, but put the bread between the boxes. And even though there was plenty of room for the canned goods *under* the bread - thereby making a protective base - she put them in a separate bag, then *glared* when I pulled out the bread and put it on top of the canned goods, as if doing so was an insult to her "expertise".


mvoisinet 7 years ago

JamaGenee:You had every single right to pull that bread out and put it at the top. That checker had absolutely positively no right to glare at you as you pulled out the bread. That is your order and you have every single right to bag it the way you want to. As a customer you do have a right to your personal preferences. As a customer you are paying that checkers salary. Or,did she merely forget that? It's that checkers job to make sure that your order is delivered to you in a quick,efficient and timely manner. And that's her aspect of the job to deliver that service to you. Didn't that checker ever hear the phrase the customer is always right? Or.didn't she receive that instruction in her training as a checker? Did that store have a customer service desk? If it did,then you would have a right to report her for her apparent attitude. That checker needs to be given the pink slip effective immediately.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

I'm guessing that checker *did* get the pink slip, mvoisinet. Replaced by the one who came out from behind the register yesterday to hand me a bag of small items that I almost left behind - and smiled as she did it. In theory, ten employees trained the same way for the same position should all perform the same. In reality, they're still individuals who came to the company with different life experiences and attitudes. Some will barely do the job (because they don't care) and some, like yesterday's checker, will go the extra mile no matter where they work. It's the nature of the beast since Mom & Pop stores went the way of the 8-track.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

to bag well or just to bag however - that seems to be the question! LOL I also group my groceries (during the rare times that I make the trip) and fortunately, I always have my way, ha! if only the bagger or the counter girl would smile a little and this will be a happier world! :D


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Personally, my day is brighter if a checker simply remembers to look *pleasant*, not like she (or he) hates the job. Maybe we should smile at them *first*. =)


Wednesday Morning profile image

Wednesday Morning 7 years ago

Great hub Jama! I'm a self proclaimed expert on not only bagging the groceries, but also placing them stratigically into the cart. I've even gotten comments from other shoppers about it.

I bring 1 cart to the checkout, but leave with 3. Drives me nuts. But on the bright side, it forces a bagger to assist me to my van. :-)


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

JamaGenee, did you ever know a chain called "Sack N Save"? We had one in the town I grew up in. It was just what it said. You bought the groceries in a warehouse-type setting (although not in bulk), pushed your cart to the register, where they put the items back in the cart after ringing them up, then you went to a "stall" where you bagged your own groceries.

This wonderful place had paper sacks of every imaginable shape and size. Each even stated right on the bottom what weight was suggested for each. The fact that they failed to provide a scale with which to weigh your items was a compliment to the customer that we actually knew what we were doing. The checkers were always friendly, my guess, due in part to the fact that they knew up front they didn't have to bag.

I did notice a slight droop in their smiles, however when the lunch-sack-sized frozen food bags were moved to be under their security. They now had to concentrate on more than ringing up an item correctly (YES! This was before the bar code zapping age) and had the added responsibility of monitoring how many of these extra-thick bags were warranted based on each customer's purchase. Too many people ripping off the silly things, I guess.

I now live in a town that has a "small-town" grocery store which offers a friendly "paper or plastic" option upon checkout. The paper bags actually have handles on them. They do, however, come with a warning printed on the side to lift the handles straight up, not out. I tend to assume the handles will hold and find myself, like robie2, chasing after that can of corn that just rolled under three cars before coming to a stop in the middle of the rain puddle. Something like the scene from "Christmas with the Kranks" where she was after the Honey Ham.

It's kind of funny to see people rushing to get out of this store ahead of me just to find them all leaning against their cars outside waiting for the entertainment to begin. They continue these shenanigans by phoning my neighbors that I will be returning shortly to unload groceries. That's when coming home is like being in a parade. There they are, lined up along the street in their lawn chairs, each holding their beverage of choice. I once saw a group of children with sparklers.

Maybe I should take your advice and shop in small increments.

Great hub. Please keep the funny ones coming!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

How clever you are, Wednesday Morning, disguising 3 carts of groceries in one...and getting complimented for it besides!...so you'll have to have an escort to your car!  :D

Proud Mom, when do you grocery shop next?  I want to get in on the neighborhood party when you bring them home.  I'll even bring my own lawn chair AND sparklers!

I've heard of Sack N Save.  There isn't one in our area, but there's one chain of non-warehouse stores similar to it, with a long waist-high shelf along the front where you bag your purchases.  But no stalls per se, and customers have to bring their own bags.  Most people just snag the empty boxes that held can goods and such.  A win-win for all.  The store gets rid of boxes it'd otherwise have to pay to dispose of, customers get sturdy (and free) containers to transport their items.  

As for the paper sacks with handles, I love 'em!  A store in my neighborhood had them for awhile, but the chain that bought them out doesn't (but *should*, considering how much they raised prices, the reason I don't shop there any more). But I don't remember a warning to pick them straight up.  Next time I'm somewhere that uses them, I'll have to look.  Are you sure the warning isn't just on the special stack marked "For Proud Mom ONLY"????? LOL!    


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

Very well could be, JamaGenee. Very well could be........

Thanks for making me smile this morning. Makes the fact that I got up early after only about 4 hours of sleep, showered to completely wake up, got dressed and fought the 24 degree temperature out to the car and work, only to find out I'm not due back until TOMORROW kind of worth it.

See what I mean about having to laugh at myself to keep from crying?


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

I can sympathize. A daughter was invited to a pizza party. I duly circled a date on the calendar. The day came, she dressed, I took her to the place, but there was nobody she knew there. Turned out the party was the NEXT day. I still haven't lived that one down!


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

My parents both taught at my high school.  Dad was my driver's ed teacher, and our class met at 6am.  On the final day of driving, he required all students to dress up.  Girls had to have heels, boys had to have dress shoes.  I guess he wanted us to learn how to drive on Sunday.  Anyway, on this final day, he comes roaring in my bedroom, "GET UP!! WE'RE LATE!!!!!" 

Being attacked out of a sound sleep does things to your brain, you know?  So once I blindly located the toothpicks to pry my eyes open with, I glanced at the minutes on the digital clock to see I, indeed, only had 5 minutes to dress and be at school. Not awake enough to turn on the lights, I grabbed whatever I could reach out of the closet.  I probably looked like a mix between Cindy Lauper and Madonna on a VERY bad day (no, I wasn't wearing the metal cones, although they probably would have been an improvement) by the time I got there.  You might think in the 80s that would have been a good look, but trust me, it SO WAS NOT! 

We got to the school, but no one was there.  Trying to be helpful, I told dad I'd walk around to the other doors to see if the other students had migrated to a different entrance.  So there I was, twisting my ankle with every other step because in my rush, I was only been able to locate one 3 inch silver strappy heel and one florescent green ballet slipper--AND the hallways were still dark.  I checked the last door and decided maybe they had seen us coming and been scared away by my aqua-netted hairstyle that was so tall it required dad to leave the sunroof open, my pink tank top with lace blouse over the top, parachute pants and previously mentioned foot attire. 

It was then I heard dad over the PA system asking me to meet him back at his room.  When I got there, he asked me to look at the clock.  It took me a minute to realize what he was saying.  It was not 10 after 6:00, but 10 after 3:00.  Yes, 3:00.  In the morning.  I was at school at 3 in the morning.  He was crazy if he thought I was coming back.  I went home, went back to bed, and STAYED there.

Just in case you wondered, I still have those clothes--in the attic.  


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Oh Proud Mom, that story is tooooo funny!


mvoisinet 7 years ago

When I worked as a bagger at Jewel Osco in Michigan City IN. I would always keep the bread seperated from the meat. One day a customer bought some hamburger meat and some bananas. I put the bananas in a separate bag so they won't get contaminated by bochulism. And low and behold Darlene Adams Service Manager tells me it's OK to put the bananas in with the hamburger meat. Well excuse me since when do you put the bananas in with the hamburger meat? You most certainly do not! If you place the bananas in with the hamburger meat they will most certainly rot and they will get contaminated for sure. And the next week Darlene told me that I put the bananas in one bag and the bread in the other and that she said that she was going to retrain me. Well I resigned before she even had the opportunity to retrain me. Darlene said it would be OK to put the bread in with the hamburger. And she also indicated that if it were a pork chop she would of said no. Well excuse me lady but i wasn't bagging bread and hamburger. I was bagging bread and bananas. There is a distinct correlation between the 2. Then Darlene said that a customer complained that she had 6 bags of groceries. Well I don't remember bagging 6 bags of groceries for that that stupid customer. And Darlene had absolutely positively no business at all to make any implications about me unless she can knowingly substansiate them. You don't put bread or bananas or anything else in with the hamburger meat. Nor do you put bread or bananans or anything else in with the wet chicken either. That can contaminate the customers groceries and thus cause bochulism. I had 6 yrs.of bagging experience at Bernacchis Farm Market and 14 yrs.of bagging experience from Jewel Osco. That's a combined total of 20 yrs.of bagging experience. I was always taught by my former boss and good friend Dick Bernacchi that you should never put bananas in with the hamburger meat or they will get contaminated. I say that Darlene was totally wrong when she said it would be OK to put the bananas in with the hamburger meat. Darlene had 30 yrs.or more experience with Jewel Osco. After over 30 yrs.I would never think that she would make such an asanine statement such as that. If anyone needs to be retrained it's Darlene. Darlene resigned from Jewel Osco about 2 or 3 yrs.ago. It's a good thing. And now nobody has to hear stupid rambling all the time.


Michael Voisinet 7 years ago

Jewel Osco always had this stupid 8 items per bag rule. And all it is is just another stupid rule and that's it. Jewel Osco indicated that they just wanted to save money on the cost of bags. Sure bags cost money and pennies can add up to dollars. And you shouldn't waste bags on just a few little items. And 3 or less items should go into smaller bags to help defray the cost of the bags. As far as the 8 items per bag are concerned it all depends upon what those 8 items per bag are. It can mean anything from 8 boxes of toothpicks to 8 packs of chewing gum or 8 tons of brick. The point is that the 8 items per bag rule simply doesn't apply to every situation. All bagging is merely predicated on good old fashioned common sense. You don't want to pile 8 jars of Ragu into one bag now do you? Absolutely positively not! If you do that do you know what will happen? That bag will break under pressure and there will be both glass and Ragu all over the place. And you will have quite a mess to clean up immediately afterwards let me tell you. And alot of customers will become very upset and very aggitated as a direct result of that. And you could lose a tremendous amount of customers in your store as well. Common sense should tell you that you should keep the weight distribution divided equally in each bag. Don't overload the bag ever! And don't fill the bag to capacity either. There are many elderly and disabled customers who simply can't carry an over abundance of weight. So they will appreciate it if you keep the vast majority of the weight divided equally so it won't be so cumbersome for them to carry from their car into their homes. Keeping the bags divided equally will provide easy access to all customers involved. Always offer assistance to both elderly and disabled to their cars in their time of need. Always opt to maintain high customers standards even if it opposes yours or the companys expected minimum.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

Great Hub. I have noticed here in California the supermarkets are pushing self service checkout. This means no bagger and no checker. So there I am standing there with a cart full of groceries and they ask, would you like to use the self checkout. Funny thing is, at these stores there is no discount to do it yourself.

So now I shop at a store where you do bag your own and get a discount because of it. Prices are better and the service overall is better. No chance at being let down. And I get to bag it myself, my own logically order. I use much less bags and can catergorize by what gets put where.

Thanks for the good read.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

bgpappa, several years ago a chain in my area tore out several checker lanes to install self-service checkout machines, then laid off a dozen checkers at each of their stores so customers would be forced to use them.  But no discount for using them.  Don't know how much those machines cost, but they certainly aren't paying their way.  I stopped patronizing that chain, but the other day, due to bad weather, I had to go to the one near home for milk.  The lines in the manned lanes were short, but as soon as I stepped behind the only other customer in one lane, three checkers approached me, saying they'd help me in the *self-check lane* (which I declined on principle). 

What does it say for how well those machines are received (or work) when the chain has to hire extra employees to assist people to "self-check".  Why not just admit the machines are a failure, yank the blasted things out, and put in regular lanes? (Those self-check assistants, btw, just stood around at the end of the checker lanes, with nothing else to do but offer their services...)

Another chain has self-checkout machines (again no discount), but only one per store, and are intended for peak times or customers in a hurry.  Oddly, they work *just fine* without assistance. 

I love the idea of a store giving a discount for bagging your own items. This is an idea that needs to grow.  The closest we have is a warehouse-type store that's only good for stocking up on canned and paper goods.  No fresh veggies or meat. Not cost-efficient for me because it's on the other side of town, and with no kids at home, I no longer have to stockpile food (something you might add to your hub on what they don't tell you about parenting!). 

Thanks for stopping by!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

We have a much better system - we take our own bag (usually a rucksack) and pack it ourselves. We often cycle to the supermarket, so plastic bags are not good. And they are wasteful.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Hi, LG! Plastic bags wouldn't be good for cyclers to carry groceries, and they *are* wasteful. Living in a third-floor flat limits the amount of groceries I buy at one time. I have several non-plastic bags I take to the store (not one set up for self-bagging). I know how much each holds, and only buy that amount, but even so, checkers will put a few items in each, then put the rest in plastic. When that happens, I transfer whatever they've put in plastic to my own bags and hand the plastic back to the checker, who never quite knows what to do with it.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I still reckon a rucksack would make it easier for you to carry stuff upstairs, perhaps?

It's not that common to have someone pack your bags for you in the UK - you can ask for it, but it's not automatic.


xzendor profile image

xzendor 7 years ago from Eastern USA

I totally agree with your comments, observations and analysis JamaGreen. There was once a time of professionalism and pride in the work a person did. Today that has almost dissapeared completely. I lived in the city all my life but you find the same thing, most of the time I'll pack my own groceries to cut down on the waste of using a 8 bags when two or three will do. And to ensure the items are packed in an itelligent manner. There doesn't seem to be an sort of training that is done anymore, add to that is that people don't seem to want to use common sense in even the simplest of task.

Good Hub Pleaure Reading It.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Very true and entertaining hub!

Why does grocery shopping have to be so much work? Not only is the bagging system very poopy, but having the right products sitting on shelves over the right price isn't happening. Sometimes I wonder if they do that on purpose. At least once a week i end up getting overcharged for stuff that is marked on sale, and that adds another 15 minutes to my shopping trip...pointing out the errors, waiting for a manager who then tracks down the products and the sale price, then gives me my money back. Sometimes I take those sales stickers off the shelf and stick them on my grocery cart for proof. They don't like it when i do that. lol!

I separate my groceries when taking them out of the cart too! lol! Not that it does much good. I usually end up with some teenage boy bagging who isn't paying attention to anything but my daughter or any other female with boobs and legs. ;)

This was a joy to read Jama. I always love your stuff. :)


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

I love Pam's insight: The Bagging system is very poopy. :-)


Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 7 years ago

I really like your writing style and I see a lot more people do, too. Congratulations on a great hub!


Scott757200 profile image

Scott757200 7 years ago from Somewhere New Everyday!

The little plastic bags are so annoying to me. It seems like you end up with one item in each bag and are thus left trying to fit 80,000 bags around your hands! My fingers turn blue in about 2 seconds because I always try and carry them in one load. I wonder how much peapod charges? Hmmmm....


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

xzendor, the only training for bagging seems to be enough to reduce store liability.  Hence one bag for a chemical product like Febreez, another for a food product (milk) and another for medicine (aspirin).  Gawdforbid the nozzle on the Febreez would open by itself and somehow get into the aspirin or the milk. Or the aspirin get into the milk.  Anyone who's struggled to open a new bottle of aspirin knows *nothing* gets in OR out until the myriad layers of security seals (and that irritating wad of cotton!) are removed!

Thanks, Pam!  I like your stuff too!  Ditto to what Proud Mom said about your description of the bagging system.  "Poopy" is the only word that fits - well, in a public forum. ;D  The wonder is that most people put up with it.  Or maybe that's how it got so poopy. People don't demand better service anymore...  As for the sale price on the shelf label not ringing up, I like your method of taking the sales stickers off the shelf for proof!  So what if they don't like it! That's an incentive for the manager to get the shelf stickers and computer pricing system in sync!

Guru-C, thanks for the compliment!  Alas, I'm not familiar with your writing but will check it out soon as I'm done here.

Scott, I'm with you on how annoying plastic bags are, because they do seem to invite one item per bag, and then you end up with umpteen bags around your hands and blue fingers from the weight.  I think not filling plastic bags is psychological.  When stores only used paper sacks, a very few sacks were all that would fit on a shelf next to the checker, so two things happened. 1) Very little space in the bag went unused because 2) a checker wasn't about to risk running out during a rush period.  With plastic bags, hundreds hang on those carousels, a seemingly endless supply that invites waste.  That said, you lost me at "peapod".  ???


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Jama and PM, thanks for the thumbs up on the poopy. :D ;)


intutionzone profile image

intutionzone 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I love the picture on your lens - it is just another reminder why we bought several of those canvas bags for our groceries. So much waste just for paper bags... we couldn't do it anymore. Especially now that canvas bags are only about $1 at most grocery stores (that offer them). Whole Foods even gives the $0.10 bag refund (or donate to a charity) so they've already paid themselves off several times over.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

intuitionzone, you just eminded me a couple of stores in my area advertise that they give a 10-cent refund for using your own bags, but I haven't looked at a receipt lately to see if I actually get it.  Hmmmmm......


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

JG, I read this the other day and never commented, i was worried about PM and just wasn't thinking. Anway, on palstic bags I discovered that if I tie a know in them they will not blow away in the wind. More people should od this. Now I use them mostly for picking up dog poo. I also use them for mushroom hunting. If I need to I will recycle them in a bin at our local supermarket.

I was a bagger in my youth and we knew how to bag or the checkout women would give us what for. They trained us. No girls did that back then. Good hub


Cindy Letchworth profile image

Cindy Letchworth 7 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

Don't you just hate the plastic bags? I mean really, who thought of them? Plastic's only great for small items that don't weigh anything. Sure they have handles, but honestly, they aren't good for very many items at one time.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Hi, Cindy! I've hated plastic bags from the time stores began using them! Would get the strangest looks from checkers when I'd announce "We can grow more trees [for paper bags], but we can't grow more oil - give me paper, please". Plastic is made from a by-product of the oil refining process. When the oil runs out, no more plastic! Hard to think of a plastic bag being an artifact in a museum, but that's what they'll be. Never mind the billions of bags buried in landfills that'll be intact when archeologists dig them up 500 years from now. Would love to be around when they try to figure out what they were used for!


purpleb profile image

purpleb 7 years ago from Spain

Ha ha, here in Finland we don't have baggers (unless it is some kind of a special occasion) but I hear you about planning the groceries. I don't own a car so I have to walk to the store and I often bring a backpack.

I remember the good times when I bought 10 pounds of oranges because they were on sale along with 10 pounds of bananas and a whole bunch of other stuff.

After that I had to walk a few miles to my house.

All I have to say is... I guess I got some good exercise :D


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

purpleb, I had a fit of "thrifty" a couple weeks ago and bought a 10-lb bag of sugar. Didn't seem to weigh much in the cart in the store, but sure "gained" weight the farther up the stairs I got to my flat! I too chalked it up to "good exercise"! ;D


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Finally someone discussing this issue of poor bagging. My husband complains all the time to the manager, yet nothing seems to ever really get done. It's all common sense! Jeez! I absolutely refuse to let them bag my groceries. I was absolutely fuming one day and said, very loudly, "You know what? Perishables with perishables, soft with soft, hard with hard, delicate with delicate, not too heavy, not too light, meat with meat only and double bagged. If you don't have the common sence you were born with, I'm taking over. I'm the bagger from now on." And made him step away and I rebagged my 350 dollars worth of groceries (I have a large family and don't like to go shopping often) and I got it right and everything was in tip top shape when I got home. It felt so good that I do it every time now. The only place I've not had a problem with in the bagging department is Whole Foods. But that's it. Oh, that felt so good to share. Great hub JamaGenee and very well written as usual. Gave you a much deserved green thumbs up for this one. Thanks.


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

You've kept that inside for way too long, Frieda! Thank goodness Jama gave us the freedom to vent, huh? :-))


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Frieda! Feel free to drop by and vent any time! Yes, common sense went out the window when plastic bags came in.  I wish more stores would get the hint and re-configure checkout stations for self-bagging.  That would be a win-win.  Happy customers because items would be bagged **sensibly**, and happy checkers because they wouldn't have to suffer cold stares or customers venting about the bagging.   Saw a new twist last Saturday, the day I take my friend with MS grocery shopping.  She buys mostly frozen dinners that she can nuke and not have to wrestle with pots and pans on a hot stove.  I was horrified when the checker, instead of placing the frozen dinners side by side as usual, instead put the first one crosswise (flat) in the bottom of the plastic bag, then stacked the rest on top.  Each box was a four-cornered bag-tearer waiting to strike.  Would like to meet the suit in the home office that came up with this one!  Obviously someone who doesn't understand the physics of heavy objects with sharp corners poking holes in thin plastic!  (Or someone who doesn't do his or her own grocery shopping!) Naturally I had to re-bag everything in the entryway rather than risk doing a Proud Mom in the parking lot.  Frozen dinners don't roll like cans of corn, but they can *slide*. Yeah, trying to retrieve a couple of FDs from under a vehicle is *my* idea of fun when the wind chill is around 10 degrees!

Hey, PM!  Sorry, but I have to pass up your grocery shopping this week. Have to re-web the lawn chairs, after I get a new roll of duct tape, that is.  The one I had went out the door on Uncle Festus and Cousin Ethyl's "luggage".  Could we take up a collection at the next family reunion - uh, *convention* - and get them a few rolls for their very own?  btw, Uncle F liked to never stop pouting after he saw the underside of the one kitchen cabinet was plastered with duct tape to make it fire proof.  Got his shorts all in a knot over that one...kept saying I should  *know* he wouldn't be fool enough to try to cook pork chops in the toaster *again*.  What is it with him and small kitchen appliances anyway? You'd think he wouldn't go near them after he turned that pair of socks into mush because he thought the food processor was a mini-washer.  Ethyl was tickled pink when I gave her the processor as a "gift", but keeps asking why everything she makes tastes like Tide... ;D


Dan 7 years ago

Personally, as a cashier/bagger, I find this somewhat offensive. Complaining about the fact that there may be baggers and may not be has to do with management. Managers are not going to place people on the schedule simply so they can bag. Thats foolish and a waste of money. Generally, the customer can bag is he/she wants to. Just say the words: I'll bag! Butseriously,if you have people behind you in line and your stadning there, and watchig the casheer bag your items, help! Don't let lazyness keep the rest of the customers waiting. Also, as a side note, not everyone bags the same as you. Some would prefer multiple bags for organization, others would prefer as few as possible to save multiple unloading. It's honestly as simple as asking! Ask to bag yourself, or to place certain items in a bag. Ask to check prices to see if they are correct. If the casheer has a problem with it, phone the manager. Just don't expect to have 10 people in line, and have the bagger know exactly how you want things bagged without telling him. Rebagging is somewhat of an insult, as it makes people impatient. There is no official code on bagging, its common sense! We aren't told to spare or save bags because ofmoney constraints. Do the cashier, yourself, and everyone else a favor by doing it yourself or asking.


Dan 7 years ago

Also, Fireda Babbley, thats a real asshole move on your part. They are not your slave, and cerainly are open to constructive criticism. Insulting them because of your introvertedness is no excuse. If you can not ask questions or ask for a certain way of bagging, why are you shopping? It helps no one by insulting them, instead try being civil and offering adivce. The nerve some people have!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Dan, the store where I routinely shop is not set up for self-bagging.  If it were, I *would* do it myself.  Since last summer (months after I wrote this), I shop with a friend who has MS and is in a wheelchair.  I *never* re-bag our groceries at the checkout, only in the entryway of the store, or as I'm loading them into my friend's van.  We have gotten into the habit of shopping during the hours a certain manager is on duty, who to his credit notices when we're in the store and comes up front while we're checking out. Most checkers now know we know him "personally".  Can't speak for other customers, but *we* no longer get rude checkers. Imagine that.

As for your comment to Freida, Dan, I suggest you find another line of work that doesn't involve direct contact with customers.  Apparently you do not understand the concept that as long as you're behind that register, you *are* our slave.  We are the reason you punch that time clock.  We do not *have* to be nice to you.  Common courtesy says we *should*, but we don't have to be.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Oh indeed, Dan. I agree with your last sentence. The nerve some people have - of being so lazy and simple minded as to not give a crap about how someone elses groceries are bagged. There is a right way and a wrong way. We all have our days, but repeated days while on the clock (oh yes, you are paid and on the clock for bagging, that's why my milk costs 10X more than the poor dairy farmer gets paid, and no I don't need to be nice to you, JamaGenee made that point perfectly clear) is inexcusable. As for my rudeness, good for me. Perhaps it taught him a lesson that couldn't seem to be taught to him any other way. It's not like I yelled, quieting the grocery, nor did I curse. I offend when I get there first and start my own bagging and they try to take over lest they get in trouble because may I say again that you DO get paid to bag, and our baggers are painfully aware of this despite the fact that they are union and get paid well over minimum wage to throw stuff around. I am an excellent bagger, quick and efficient. If I can do a better job than the baggers then I don't see why I shouldn't be able to. You say so yourself. But managers here don't like to see that. Oh well, I do what I want as I am paying for what I'm buying and i'll be damned if I bring home spoiled goods I have paid for with hard earned non union monies. I hope that you take more pride in your work than the ones we used to have did (fortunately there has been a nice change as more people than just my husband and I had a lot to say about the incompetance of our grocery's baggers. Hopefully you take critisisms and advice and don't roll your eyes and act like a baby when old ladies and mothers with large families and people with important places to go and things to do, offer theirs to you with a smile as I had done once upon a time to no avail.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Nicely put, Frieda! ;D


Dan 7 years ago

Indeed, we are your slaves. You can be rude if you want, thats a personal choice. What would you rather have: the abusive parent who tells you that your bad without anything that you can take from it, or the parent who tells you what you did wrong, and how to fix it? I guess I let my morals get in the way of me sometimes, or maybe I just know that assertive behavior is more powerful than aggressive. Yes, I take constructive crtcism when offered, but it was quite evident that you directly insulted the boy. Managers do not mind if customers bag, ever. We do not hire people just for bagging, baggers are also cashiers or stockboys who have completed their work. Therefore, no, baggers do not get paid as it is more of a courtesy to the cashieer. As for rebagging outside, thats fine. Its obvious that either my location or my store is vastly different than yours. (As a side note: What store doesn't allow you to bag your own groceries? That's odd that they don't have that.)


E. A. Wright profile image

E. A. Wright 7 years ago from New York City

Very worthwhile rant. I usually carry my groceries home, so having just two bags -- with the weight nicely balanced between them -- is rather important. I re-bag as soon as I get out of the store, and I don't let anyone's stares stop me.


bcap 7 years ago

Frieda Babbley is a very rude person

nobody should have to be insulted by her becaused of not

bagging like she bags and her husband must be a real winner

because my husband camplains ALL THE TIME.

after 50 years of working i retired,after two years i got bored and now started bagging,something i never done.please don't shop were i work.i wonder when people like you and your husband avery said something nice about someone.


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

I´ve gotta hand it to you,JamaGenee...

You are a very observant person and a great storyteller. The story flowed so smoothly that I managed to laugh and take in all your information in one breath(smiling all the while) I wonder why you´re going through an HP´s writer´s block. You have a way with words. Rated up, useful and funny!

Warmest regards and infinite heavenly blessings,

Al


Colton 6 years ago

I'd certainly love to be able to bag how you want your groceries to be bagged. I have been working at a Grocery store for years, and it becomes a job of playing happy-medium. Does it work all the time? Not at all. Once, I put a single loaf of bread on top of a carton of eggs. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong. The world almost ended right in the express lane! The baggers and checkers can never win.

And to do with mixing chemicals, medicines, etc. I believe that in my state there are actually health codes against that. Foods and non-foods cannot be bagged together. Toilet paper is an unacceptable cushion for eggs, no matter how logical it is. Speed is also important. You can get in trouble if you take too long to get the groceries in the bag, and so you have to take it in the order that it's given, and just try your best.

We're not imbeciles, (or at least the people at my store, I will not speak for everyone else) we just have many very strict rules that we must follow, of we risk hurting speed and the bottom line, both unforgivable sins.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Colton, I'm aware of the state laws and health codes that forbid food and non-food being bagged together (although there should be an exception for eggs cushioned with toilet paper).

Speed must not be the first priority for some checkers, because even when I arrange food-only items in the order I want them bagged, they don't get scanned in that order. I've watched checkers waste precious seconds to set aside already-scanned items until items he/she thinks should be bagged with them come along.

I'd love to know the logic behind putting a carton of eggs in the bottom of a bag and then placing (usually) heavier items on top of it. This practice has only come about in the last 10 years, and makes no sense, especially in the ubiquitous plastic bag. Set the bag down a bit too hard (or gawdforbid, drop it), and the result will be *at least* one cracked egg.

A special award should go to the checker who used a loaf of bread to cushion a carton of eggs. In theory it made perfect sense. ;D


Gen 6 years ago

"Baggers" or Service Specialist as they are known where I am from in California specialize in Service, rather than Bagging.

We begin our career, or job- with an 8 hour orientation. Service Specialist are taught how to handle a wide variety of things, but bagging is taught last.

We are trained to know where an item is located in the store so that we may find it for you should you need or want it. We are trained to quickly spot and

isolate a spill so that you do not trip in it. We are trained to clean (such as the hourly sweep we are required to sign off for) and pick up any

messes so that you are not subjected to filth. We are trained to greet, engage and assist you as often as we are able to, and when we are not able to

we are trained to find someone who can- or at least will do an improved job.

Service specialist and Checkers are not the same here, though they may be elsewhere.

Bagging? Yeah, we do that too. ;)

Starting at the outline and working in.

Cold with cold, hot with hot.

Soft and soft, hard and hard.

Produce with Produce

Grain with Grain

Meat with meat

Heavy at the bottom, light at the top.

Glass with glass, but only if wrapped in separate bags when placed together to avoid clinking- and cracks.

Long items such as the big rolls of bread, or packages of chicken

are usually oddly shaped and cannot go comfortably into a plastic or paper bag with other items.

Naturally those of you who say "You could easily fit more into there!" are correct- more can be fitted in there.

But be aware that bags with long shaped items also tend to roll more. As a courtesy to YOU, aversions to bagging items with these small are made. We'll sacrifice that extra room so that you don't have to call in and complain that an item fell

or rolled out of the bag to hide in the dark recesses of your trunk.

Eggs and bread- our greatest enemy? Hardly. Because these are the two largest items worried about, the composition of the bag in which they are placed usually tend to be generic. If together, the eggs will be placed at the bottom the bread at the top.

If bread is gone, light produce might be placed above the eggs. We don't usually put toilet paper underneath the eggs to "cushion them". I'm sorry. Would you like your eggs at the top of the bag? and when they fall out because of the volumne of toilet paper will you forgive us? Of course you won't.

Quality or Speed?

Most try to balance both, and it takes a lot of bagging to be able to load a bag quickly- and with a high quality outcome.

Now, Service Specialist are going from line to line to car to car, almost never stopping. During this time different checkers,

customers and orders circulate throughout the store. Many times a Service Specialist will return from a service out to find a checkstand overloaded with items, and the checker trying to find room to place more items without crushing anything. (Checkers are not prohibited to help bag until the order has been rung). Because you have three carts worth of stuff and just unloaded your items (probably with the light stuff on the belt first because you obviously weren't going to put your 24 pack of water or 16 pack of soda on top of your corn or cereal in the cart) a hurried frenzy will take place as the "Bagger" desperately tries to affirm what item type you have the most of

(Produce, grains, colds, cans, meats, etc) so that they can clear as much space as possible. Once they have decided they have to bag quickly and then deposit the bag back into your cart (or run and get another as you are still unloading- or having your cart unloaded

as you usually have more purchases to make). So we've finally got an empty cart and we've managed to squeeze 2-3 bags of groceries back onto the belt without

crushing anything. We'll, with as much care as we can with the given rush; place those bags into your cart. The removal of those bags will mostly create a small avalanche of items into the momentarily empty spaces (the belt is still moving forward because the checker needs space to finish ringing so that they can help the bagger) and the service clerk will notice with avid desperation that those large packs of sodas you had at the bottom of your cart are now barreling down the belt where your eggs, bread, cereal, peaches, cherries and coffee filters await an untimely expiration.

More than likely, we'll try to clear a space or just grab your soda and water and place it at the bottom of your cart during which time you will have started

feeling impatient. A hurried frenzy of bagging is sure to follow and MOST of the time a decent job is done. To assure a higher quality outcome, larger objects such as soda and gallon milk are easy to place into your cart yourself and don't require a bag. If you see something being improperly bagged don't be rude, "I'd like that in another bag, please" is all it takes. If you would like to bag your own groceries, we don't feel offended.

I have had few problems as a Service Specialist so far, though only one really sticks out of my mind.

I had returned from a service out to find a Lady with somewhere between 10-15 bottles of wine, and plastic was requested.

Naturally, we aren't going to toss your wine into a plastic bag together, so the checker and I opened various small brown bags to put the wine into before

placing it into the plastic bag (keeping then to 3-4 per bag). We were going fairly quickly but the lady was impatient and said very loudly, "For God's sake, you two are incompetent!" before grabbing

the nearest wine bottles and forcefully placing them into a bag and stuffing it- the glass clinking omniously. We were wasting her time and she left in a fuss. A few minutes later she returned to

complain about the bag breaking and her wine shattering.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Great hub and interesting comments. I was so glad to see a photo of a canvas bag instead of plastic. I actually go out of my way at the market to give cloth bags to anyone I spot using plastic. Yes, I am trying to do my small part the only way I know how in order to help Mother Earth. Thanks for your super-great hub - well written!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

What a wonderful idea! Good for you! In a perfect world, the bags will be hemp. ;D


Nancy 6 years ago

What a great post, packed with humor. I can completely identify with the problems of shopping and having my purchases bagged. In fact, it is one of my pet peeves. I've tried every method I can think of to to get the clerk/bagger to put purchases into the bags in some logical order (at least logical to me) and have never succeeded. I finally resorted to bagging my own. It slowed down their lines a little, but not much. These days the grocery store where I shop has self-check-out lines which I love. I can scan my own groceries in the order I want to bag them, walk 5 steps and bag, then go back and scan some more. Some people would rather have the "service" offered by the check-out clerk, but for me, I'd rather have my bags balanced and sensibly packed. Thanks for the chuckle today.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Nancy, you're most welcome!


GroceryClerk 6 years ago

I think you need to get a life. I have been working in a busy grocery store for 10 years, and the bag boys are always doing the best they can to keep up with the many orders that come through everyday, and don't have time to consider where you want your loaf of bread. If you really have enough time on your hands to go online and write about how you got a few extra plastic bags when you went to the store, then you REALLY need to find something to do with your life.


mvoisinet 6 years ago

Hey GroceryClerk:Maybe you're the one that really to start considering getting a life. Don't worry about what other people do with their life. It really doesn't matter what a person does with their life any way. What other people do with there life is really none of your business. What other people do with their lives is strictly their business and not exactly yours of anyones for that particular matter. So stop sticking your nose into things that don't necessarily pertain to you. So keep your snide remarks to yourself will you? You further contend that you don't have time to consider where the customer wants their bread. Well you better!! If the customer wants their bread packed a certain way it is both your duty and your obligation to abide by that customers request. You tend to forget that if it wasn't for the customer that you wouldn't have a job. That customer is paying your salary. And it is your duty and your obligation to fulfill the customers exact needs at all times. You must in turn honor their requests each and every time. That customer is paying you for a service and it is your sole responsibility to give them excellent customer service each and every time that they enter the store. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. And you should always give them the benefit of the doubt. Never EVER argue with a customer EVER!! You must show them dignity and respect at all times. And you come here and further ascertain that many of these users complain about home many plastic bags that they receive when they leave the store. You tend to forget that bags cost money and that pennies add up to dollars. If a customer has only 3 or 4 small items wouldn't it make sense to consolidate those items into one big bag instead of using 3 or 4 separate bag for those exact items? Educate yourself before you even consider rambling off at the mouth like that. If you are going to complain about your job then you should resign and consider procuring other employment. You really have a lot to learn in regards to customer service. Jobs are not that plentiful these days. So I would strongly suggest that you keep your mouth shut and thoroughly appreciate the job that you do have. You should also appreciate that you do have a job and not in the unemployment line. Also keep in mind that the customer is the life blood of your store and every other business for that particular matter.


Tom 5 years ago

you have alot of time on your hands to do this :D its just groceries people.


Bobby 5 years ago

Hey mvoisinet- Read yours and grocery clerks posts. The think you said about the bananas and hamburger meat not being in the same bag is wrong. If the meat is covered, then it can be with anything except medicine and chemicals. Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to critisize other grocery employees like GroceryClerk and myself while you don't even know the rules of bagging. I think you need to find something to talk about that you have some knowledge in.


Gen 5 years ago

mvoisinet, I hope that someday you have 3-4 small items that consist of eggs and cans or bottles. Don't forget to conserve bags and put them all in one bag. Enjoy.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Better yet, with a loaf of bread. ;D


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 5 years ago from Florida

I loved reading this!!! I HATE the way the cashiers bag my groceries!! I even set everything out on the conveyor belt exactly how I want it, and they still do it all wrong! I started shopping at Aldi. I love it!!! I have to bag (or box) up my own groceries there anyway, and at least I will know it's done right. I grab empty boxes off the shelves to box up my groceries. Usually takes one or two. Everything gets packed up just the way I want it, and none of the boxes are too heavy.


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Anna Marie, good for you! Aldi's stores and products have improved a lot in the past few years. Alas, I moved and now the nearest one is 70 miles away, and I can't justify the gas it takes to get there on 2-lane roads. But I too used their empty boxes to pack my own groceries. A win-win for all!


Bradley 5 years ago

So, I'm a proud bagger at a Jewel in chicago, and I can tell you, the customers are always nice to me because I am considerate, fair and exude common sense when doing my job. I notice that alot of gorcery clerks and baggers seem to be self loathing, if that's the case (because I see them moping around alot) then find another job. Jobs aren't that plentiful and you should care about the work you do, no matter were you work, period. I wish people were more humble about their job, no matter whether your a bagger, or a buisness owner, it makes your own life easier on yourself and others.


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Bradley, bravo! If more baggers (and checkers who bag) shared your attitude, I would've had no reason to write this hub!

That said, in this economy, customers aren't that plentiful either, and real estate isn't the only buyers' market. Of course many checkers and baggers would rather be pursuing a different career, but if those are the only positions available, then those lucky enough to have them should be thrilled and treat customers accordingly.

I recently moved to a small town in a different state, and have been pleasantly surprised that baggers and checkers here DO seem thrilled to be employed and DO greet customers with a smile and a sunny attitude. This not only brightens my day, but makes me want to come back. Their bosses must be that rare breed that understands that cheery, considerate employees are a valuable marketing tool. ;D


Bradley 5 years ago

Thank you JamaGenee. Your right, It's all about attitude, and if you're gonna whine, bitch and moan about your job, don't even get up in the morning! I'm 26, and my job as a bagger is a supplemental job to my main one (I'm lucky to have two jobs!), and when I got that call for an interview, I felt very good about myself. It's not a HARD job, but it can be a DEMANDING one on any given day, so you have to walk in everyday with your chin up and make the best of it, look customers in the eyes, smile and be polite. Being humble doesn't mean being FAKE NICE at work, then being yourself when your off, but making an attempt to be as genuinely nice as possible, even if a customer seems to be having a "bad day". Economy is bad, no doubt and I've read stories of doctors and laywers who are out of work (laid off) trying to get jobs at McDonalds!! And they were turned down because they were "over qualified". It's heartbreaking.


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

The motto at most every place I worked was 'Leave your personal life at the door' (when you arrive each day). But that was back when it wasn't socially acceptable to broadcast minute details of one's private life 24/7. All that changed with cell phones and access to Twitter and Facebook from anywhere, even at work. So there's really no "door" anymore. No clear boundary between one's personal and professional lives. Very sad for all of us, IMHO.

You are to be commended for having the fortitude to hold down two jobs. But the fact that you have to have two jobs to support yourself (and a family?) says volumes about what this country has become.

American doctors competing for jobs at McDonald's? You betcha. They got pink slips to make way for the doctors being brought in from other countries who'll accept much lower salaries. Even school systems have jumped on the "immigrants cost less" bandwagon. One of the local high schools where I used to live hired a woman who could barely speak English to teach - I kid you not - **English**. Her students and their parents raised such a ruckus that the school board had to let her go after only a month, as well as the idiot whose idea it was to hire her in the first place.


Bradley 5 years ago

Again, thank you for that... My fiancé is an early childhood teacher and, with her salary, plus both of my jobs, it's still hard (no children yet, and we're both 26). I'm actually looking for a third job, overnights on the TWO days off that I have from the jobs that I ALREADY have. But, she's worth it, and when we eventually conceive a child, then it won't matter if I put in 15 hour days, every day because, he/she will be worth it...That's the fortitude it takes to be a good father and a decent earner today...because our system sucks, it's failing us as a people and we do what we can to survive.


PurpleOne profile image

PurpleOne 5 years ago from Canada

Ha! Love this hub. I too happen to like to fit as much as as I can into the fewest number of bags as possible. I don't like making unnecessary trips up the stairs of my house either! And I've also found myself repacking things before I leave the grocery store!


Maggie 5 years ago

I'd just be happy today if they'd agree that raw, cut meats do not go with other items, nor should it require a "special request". I've been working on this project a few months now. They bagger says to me today, "Yeah, I remember you." (Thank goodness, I'm thinking), as he bows his head and says lowly, "Unfortunately."

I talked to the office people about it, and they offered a "WELLLL....I'm Sorry." Not am "I'm sorry." It just comes to the point that you need to choose your store, and though I spent probably $50 every other day there...they lost my business today. Small hometown stores...poor management.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

maggie, poor management is part of it, but society as a whole is much less polite. Used to be an employee of any store wouldn't dream of being saying anything rude within earshot of a customer. Good for you for taking your business elsewhere!


The Man 5 years ago

I have an idea for all of you, USE REUSABLE BAGS!!! they don't rip!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

@The Man: Even when using non-plastic bags, unless I bag the groceries myself, all the cans and other heavy items will be in the same bag and "light" items in another. There's no logic to how some checkers and baggers bag a customer's purchases.


Heather 5 years ago

I don't know if it's because my bagboy is so incredibly cute that he treats me so nice (I'm constantly flirting with him) or if he truly cares about his work, but one thing I DO know, he looks SOOO cute in his apron and uniform!! (in retrospect maybe it's because I told him this, in front of my boyfriend, at the time...)


Wouldn't You Like To Know 5 years ago

I MYSELF HAVE BAGGED GROCERIES AT THREE DIFFERENT GROCERY STORES AND MOST OF THE TIME THE KIDS YOU ARE WORKING WITH COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT DOING A "PROPER" JOB. IF YOU ARE SHOPPING AT A BIG CHAIN STORE (MEIJER,KROGER, ETC...) THE BAGGERS THERE ARE NOT EVEN GETTING PAID MINIMUM WAGE AND RARELY GET THE AMOUNT OF BREAKS THAT THEY ARE OWED. THESE KINDS OF WORKING CONDITIONS TEND TO LEAD TOWARDS BITTER EMPLOYEES WHO JUST WANT TO FINISH THEIR STAIONARY EIGHT HOUR SHIFT AND GO HOME AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. MOST TEENS, NOT ALL, BUT MOST LACK WORK ETHIC AND DONT CARE ABOUT YOU PERSONALLY. THERE IS AN EXTENSIVE 5 HR TRAINING PROCESS BELIEVE IT OR NOT THAT MAKES SURE YOU " BUILD WALLS WITH IN THE BAGS WITH BOXES, SEPARATE CHEMICALS, AND PUT HEAVY ITEMS ON THE BOTTOM" ALL IN ALL IF YOU WANT A POSITIVE BAGGING EXPERIENCE YOU SHOULD EITHER BAG YOUR OWN, GO TO A FAMILY-OWNED OR INDEPENDENT STORE (THESE ARE ACTUALLY REGULATED BY SOMEONE), OR JUST DON'T BY GROCERIES AT ALL.


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Wouldn't You, for that insider's insight. It's deplorable the way Big Business has devalued frontline employees. Do they not realize those at the checkout counters are the last impression a customer has of a store, which determines whether or not the customer returns? Or does Big Business simply not care because they're under the false impression that a dissatisfied customer will return no matter how he/she is treated. Sadly, IMHO, such treatment has MUCH to do with the growing lack of self-esteem of American Society in general.


recee 5 years ago

im sorry but you sound like a complainer, stop being so self centered, the world does not evolve around you. If you dont like the way the cashier is bagging, simple as that do it yourself instead of whining. I work in a grocery store and technically you are not supposed to bad chemicals with food.


charlie 5 years ago

who likes their bread smashed anyways? If my bread is put in a bag with cereal boxes and canned goods to be honest that is a proper way to bag, by the time i would get home i would have smashed brea

d


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

recee, the minute you clock in and for the duration of your shift, the world ceases to revolve around YOU. It was checkers and baggers who share your attitude that the customer DOESN'T come first that prompted this hub in the first place. You should explore another line of work.


reece 5 years ago

but the fact like people like you make my day ten times worse, you could have said something rather than be passive and just stand there and chose to do nothing. Yes the customer is supposed to come first but that does mean i have to cater to their every need, we are like puppets to them, i do have rights just as any other person does. complaining gets you no where in life, you are complaining how your bags are packed when so many other people have it worse than you do. For one i could care less how my bags are pack, if its in a bag i could care less how its packed. When i go home i unload all the groceries on the counter one by one but complaining over a cashiers bagging technique i have better things to do than waste my time being passive.


james 5 years ago

sorry but the customer is always right is a straight up lie, they use that phrase to take advantage of us cashiers. I dont know how many things ring up wrong but yet they

think they should receivevthe item for that price, this customer was lieing about the price and got mad when I got a csm to do a price check and ding ding the customer was wrong. Customers always say the customers always right but when it comes to money, you should not bend for them, they just don't want to admit that they were wrong.


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

recee and James, here's an equation that might clear things up for both of you: Bad service = Customer DISsatisfaction = Customer Taking Business Elsewhere = Employees of the store where Customer got the bad service lays getting laid off because that store is no longer making as much money.

If you think it DOESN'T work that way, open your own store, treat your customers the same way you do now, and let me know how long YOU keep the doors open.


bobby 5 years ago

i dont understand why you people spend your lives picking on grocery store employees. Don't you have something better to do. I work in a grocery store where most customers are nice and flexible, but then there are the few like you who complain and over think how things are put in a bag!! All your equations and stuff are bullcrap because all these stores stay open, and yet you complainers think writing about it online is going to change anything. Why don't you open a store and see how difficult it is to please everybody, because you seem to think its pretty easy and you are wrong!


Wouldn't You Like To Know 5 years ago

Bagging groceries is a job. In an economy where jobs are scare you should be happy to have yours. Sure, bagging groceries is not on anyone's career list, but it's a job meant for teens who are just looking for some spending cash. You are getting paid to put groceries in a bag and talk to people all day. The LEAST a bagger can do is pretend to be happy and actually do a good job bagging. If something is going to go in a cupboard then guess what? Put it with other stuff that's going in a cupboard

! Like i said earlier, I have done this job at three different stores and am now assitant manager. It just shows what a good attitude can get you.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Wouldn't You, congratulations on becoming Asst Mgr! A perfect example of where GOOD attitude will take you!


Stear profile image

Stear 5 years ago from Cuddebackville NY

Great Hub! I just came from the market, these days you are lucky if you get a bagger in the first place. But, Yep, a box of bisquick and a head of cabbage ontop of two dozen eggs. Nice!

Can you tell me JamaGenee why is bread $3.39 a loaf now? I'm going back to baking my own, but I don't understand, a gallon of gas costs that much!?


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Sorry, Stear, I don't set prices. If I had that power, a loaf of bread and a gallon of gas would cost the same: 25 cents! ;D


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Lovely hub which sounds so interesting and informative.


danfresnourban profile image

danfresnourban 5 years ago from Fresno, CA

JamaGenee, great hub. This is one of the reasons I am always happy to see self-check out stands in the grocery store, because I can bag my own groceries. (Or Mike can if he is with me)

Thanks for writing this hub


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Self-bagging is my preference, but self-checkout stations leave me underwhelmed... The scanners don't always read each item, or they'll nag you to "Place the item in the bag" when you've already done so - several times. There's a reason there's a human checker standing by! ;D


danfresnourban profile image

danfresnourban 5 years ago from Fresno, CA

Yeah, it can be frustrating to go to a self check out, have the machine mess up and then you have to wait for an employee to come over and enter some code, I always think "that kind of defeats the purpose" I mean I did the job of your employee by ringing up my stuff because I did not want to wait for your employee.lol


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

My thought, too, Dan! And if you know what these self-checkout station cost PER UNIT, you have to wonder where the savings are for the store if they have to schedule checkers at them anyway. Just because one checker can monitor, say, four stations at once can't be it. Considering the long lines that remain at non-self checkouts, obviously the store isn't all that concerned with customer satisfaction, only keeping the payroll low. Then why fork out a fortune for self-checkout stations when historically most go unused even at the busiest times of day? Where's the "savings" in that?


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

btw, I once stormed out of a store right after they installed self-checkouts. In order to get people to use them, they only had one non-self line open - not a 20 items or less line at that!- so there were several checkers standing around while the line got longer and longer at the one open regular checkout. The final straw was when an assistant manager type came along and tried to herd customers into the self-checkouts. I slammed down the TWO items I'd been waiting to pay for and on my way out something like "If you want me to wait on myself, then better give me a discount for doing the work of those checkers over there!".

So I guess that's my main issue with self-checkouts. Make it worth the hassle by knocking off a small per percentage of the total bill, especially if you're using CASH like many gas stations do. As long as I'm paying exactly the same price to check myself out as I do to have a human do it - except for saving a few minutes standing in line, which has rarely been my experience - where's the incentive to use self-checkouts???


danfresnourban profile image

danfresnourban 5 years ago from Fresno, CA

Once again, you have a good point. Businesses should adopt policies that align their interests with the interests of their customers. When I set a price for my legal services, to the extent possible, I try to put the client and myself on the "same side of the table." By that I mean I will charge a percentage or tie goals to my fees. It can look like this, $1,000 to draft incorporation papers, $500 to file with Secretary of State, $500 for minutes template for corporate meetings, and $500 for training regarding documentation required for tax and administrative compliance.

The point is, the client can decide which services they want and if they pay more, they get more.

The grocery store gets lower labor costs, she should pass some of that on to us to encourage us to use their self-checkouts.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

EXACTLY! Thanks!

It'd also go a long way toward increased customer satisfaction if the price of items were clearly marked ON the item or on the shelf below it. I hate having to track down an employee to look up a price, and most times I won't bother, so the store has potentially lost a sale. Some items, I know, are purposely not priced on the theory that people will buy them anyway, to avoid embarrassment at the checkout.

But that's a two-edged sword. I might pass up a non-priced item *because* I don't want to hunt down a price checker OR don't like surprises at the checkout, but WOULD buy it IF the price were visible even if it was more than I intended to pay. But it might be less, and the store has lost a sale. The point being stores should give customers every opportunity to make such decisions in the aisles, not in the checkout lane. Hope that makes sense. ;D


Jacqui Julyan 5 years ago

This was funny and what a wonderful write I thoroughly enjoyed and and can so appreciate only buying small items because of all the stairs I have to go. Truly it is a mamoth thinking exercise on which items to leave behind and which to bring home! lol! As for bagging in Britain I am amazed that they are serving the next customer and I haven't even bagged up! so annoying!! Sometimes I deliberately slow down thinking 'you are going to have wait mate! for me!' Needless to say the looks you get means no brownie points that day!

Wonderful loved it!


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Jacqui, I didn't buy groceries in any chain store while I was in London, but did a few times in little village shops while outside of London. The clerks in all were exceedingly courteous, perhaps because they knew I wasn't a Brit?


Andy Martin 5 years ago

Quit complaining... People complain it's too heavy, people complain its too light. I'm a bagger myself and I can tell you that most people where I work like groceries bagged light. It's impossible to please everyone and you have to realize that.


shopper 1 5 years ago

My husband has worked in a grocery store for many many years. He was wrote up the other day for putting eggs in a bag by themselves so they would not get broke and placed them on top of the other bag. The customer is just a number to the store these days. Not only do they not care about you nor do they care about long time employees. He also seen the film on bagging and he felt it was not customer friendly ...just to save bucks on plastic bags. Lets get back to customers first


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JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

shopper 1, you don't say what part of the country you're from, but in my area I think stores use way too many plastic bags *because* the cost of the bags is minimal.

That said, I'm with your husband. Store policies on bagging are NOT customer friendly, nor environmentally friendly for that matter. The claim that they have to bag "chemicals" like shampoo separate from food for customer safety is simply B.S. They do it - and hang the cost of the extra bags necessary to do so - to prevent being sued IF a non-food item would spill and contaminate food items. It's all about protecting the bottom line these days. Customer satisfaction is the least of their concerns.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi JamaGenee,

It took me a while to find a hub of yours that I had not already read and upon which I had already commented...but found this one. Everything has pretty much already been said regarding "the lost art of bagging groceries logically." The good old days and some use of logic seems to have departed the scene with regard to your subject. Loved reading this part of one of your sentences: " you have to make like a spectator at a tennis match to be sure you're being charged correctly and the eggs aren't going in the bottom of the bag." So true! Up and useful votes.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Peggy! And thank you for pointing out that not only do you deserve the designation "Number One Follower and Commenter", but that I REALLY need to write more hubs! ;D


Iain 4 years ago

It doesn't help when people complain. Seriously. And if you don't want other people to bag your groceries, then use the self checkout. Seriously, I've been bagging for a bit, and it's not easy when the customer is eying you down. And it certainly doesn't help when people complain about it. Simply ask for something nicely, and we will do our best, but if you don't like it. Be proactive.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

lain, not all stores have self-checkout. Even if they did, until self-checkout machines don't require a human employee standing by to clear malfunctions, many people will continue to avoid them.

For what it's worth, I DO ask nicely as far as how I want my items bagged. My beef is with checkers and baggers who after being asked nicely NOT to put the eggs in the bottom of a bag but go ahead and do it anyway. THEN I get cranky about shoddy service.

I also find employees in locally-owned stores much more attentive to a customer's requests, perhaps because that store is competing for customers with a big chain. I find employees in big chain stores much less friendly, perhaps because they hate the job to begin with and don't plan to have it any longer than absolutely necessary.

That said, big or small, attitude between employees and the customers who pay their salaries is a two-way street. I've had jobs where I was face-to-face with customers all day long and would go home with aching jaw muscles from having to smile no matter how nasty the customer was to me. Not a fun way to earn one's way in the world.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I understand what you're talking about here. My dad tries to do the same thing by lining up things that he thinks should be bagged together but now since the cashier's the bagger as well, everything about logic has gone out the window.

I think now it's more about patience and tolerance than anything. I know people would like the idea of baggers going back to the good old days but now it's all about efficiency and speed rather than customer service. Great hub!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Oh, YES! Too, too true! I have decided none of the people who bag groceries actually cooks or takes care of shopping. Otherwise, they'd be sick of the smashed bread, crushed fruits, broken jars from bags breaking and other infuriating things we put up with. Voted up and funny.


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JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Alecia, your dad and I are on the same page! Tell him to try the following I came up with quite by accident. I now hold back certain items until the checker has bagged whatever was on the belt. For instance, I'll only put the frozen/cold items on the belt, wait to the checker has rung them up and the bagger has bagged them. Then I'll put non-perishable boxed items (liked cereal) and the 3 lb can of coffee OR the bag of sugar on the belt. (Never put the coffee and sugar on the belt at the same time!) I hold back bread(s) or eggs until the very last. No checker is going to hop over the counter and grab things to speed things up, right? Sure, this slows down the line, but hey, it's MY choice where I want to "waste" MY time - at the checkout or out in the entry. ;D

Marcy, I don't live in that 3rd floor flat now, or even in the same city, but in a ground floor duplex. Still a bit of a hike from the car to the front door, tho, so less bags is still the goal. Baggers at the store I use now are usually teenagers, so no, they don't do the shopping for their family. Maybe that should be a prerequisite to getting the job! ;D


Molly 4 years ago

@Mvoisnet

"THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. And you should always give them the benefit of the doubt. Never EVER argue with a customer EVER!! "

If you've ever worked in a grocery store you know that customer is definitely NOT always right. They think they're right, and they will yell, scream, threaten and storm out because they refuse to believe that there is a chance that they're not right. I've seen it happen numerous times. It doesn't matter how politely you tell them their coupon is fake (be very careful with coupons you get off the internet, many of them are fake) or that they're expired, or that we can't give them the lower price unless they get a membership card, they will complain endlessly and do everything in their power to get their way. I've had someone get angry because the coupons for the 5 jars of spaghetti they wanted couldn't be used with other another coupon, so they threw the jars of spaghetti on the ground. This also happens all the time with people trying to buy wine or beer when I have to refuse them.

That doesn't mean I don't like customers. I've had tons and tons of good customers who are understanding, polite, sweet, and very helpful. When I work as a bagger I'm much more gentle with the good costumers' groceries than I am with the rude ones. I'm careful not to make them weigh too much, but I'm also sure to use as few bags I can. I bag like items together, and I try my best to make sure everything fits. Sometimes I even escort them out and help them load the groceries into their car if they have a lot of them or if they have a lot of younger kids, or they are older folks. I love helping the patient customers who treat me like a person instead of slave. The rude, insulting, impatient, arrogant customers though? I'll toss all their groceries in a bunch of bags and not care two shakes if I crush bread or fruit. Treat me badly I'll treat you badly. I work at a giant store, with a huge customer base, even when the city is almost empty; we'll not hurt if you take your service elsewhere.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Molly, I've never worked in a grocery store, but HAVE worked in customer service in one form or another for several decades. Had many instances similar to the expired coupons, coupons for ONLY a certain product, etc. Sometimes I could make it a win-win, sometimes not. Usually in the latter case, the customer was NOT going to be happy no matter what I said or did, at which point I'd hand them off to a supervisor or manager.

I do have to admit, though, I've done my own version of "crush the bread or fruit" with an excessively rude customer...i.e. with one mouse click, I cut off the service of one extremely rude, extremely obnoxious cell phone customer, even though I had the authority to give him a few days' extra time to pay his bill and, had he been polite, would've happily done so. ;D


tamarawilhite profile image

tamarawilhite 3 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

How often do you wash or replace canvas bags due to the food borne germs that can grow inside of them?


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

tamarawilhite, there's no set schedule, mostly because one bag is ONLY for fresh produce and refrigerated/frozen items. It contains one plastic bag inside another...I know, I know...but they keep the canvas bag dry and are tossed after each trip. All the canvas bags go in the wash as necessary. As for replacing them...whenever they're visibly past their prime, and then I look for "new" ones at a local thrift shop that - judging by the logos on the bags - must get its donations from an upscale part of town. Our public library also sells canvas bags for a couple of dollars each which are wayyy more sturdy than those sold in grocery stores for the same price.

Great question! Thanks for asking! ;D


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 2 years ago from Oklahoma

I usually shop at Save-a-Lot and bag my own groceries. I'm not OCD about it, but there are some things I prefer...like the eggs not being under the canned goods. And no leaky cleaners in with the bread, please!

Yesterday, we stocked up on about three months worth of groceries, Two heaping carts. We unloaded like with like...but it took us an hour after we got home to locate all the cold stuff!

I like only non-perishables together, so I don't have to open every sack first thing when I get home. Had to this time because every sack of canned goods had cheese or bacon or yogurt in with it.

I would definitely like a little logic! Enjoyed the hub!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Sharkye11, glad you enjoyed my rant, and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! There's a Save-a-Lot where I live now, and I've been meaning to check it out - no pun intended - but your comment sounds like a ringing endorsement. I don't have room to store 3 months worth of groceries, but the cupboards ARE getting bare, so I'll give them a look-see this weekend. Thanks!

I've been rather loyal to a locally-owned, non-chain store for the last three years but lately its produce hasn't been as good as it used to be. Also, its current baggers can't seem to grasp the concept of packing "like with like", so the idea of packimg my own has great appeal. ;D

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