Saturday, January 12, 2013

First World Problem - Grocery Bagging

I would like to be part of a focus group that creates the curriculum for grocery bagging training. That exists, right?  

I know this is totally a first world problem, but I CANNOT stand the way my groceries are bagged. I feel my blood pressure raise with every item placed haphazardly in my environmentally friendly reusable shopping bags. Should I get this worked up about grocery bagging?  Of course not. Do I? Every. Single. Week.

First, let's establish one fact. I bring a veritable crap-ton of reusuable grocery bags with me to the store because - wait for it - I like my groceries in bags. All of them. Yes, I want the milk in a bag. Yes, I want the Gatorade in a bag. Yes, I want the 2 liter of Dr. Pepper in a bag. Even the two pack of paper towels - bag 'em up!  

See, everything that is not in a bag must be carried into my house using all of the fingers available on one hand. A gallon of milk and a six pack of Gatorade not in bags equals one trip from the car to the house. Paper towels in one hand and toilet paper in the other - one trip. Dr. Pepper...throw some Gatorade in the other hand and that's one trip, too, and probably a trip that involved me dropping the Dr. Pepper so that it will later explode all over my kitchen. 

Bottom line...just put the groceries in bags. That's why I brought them. It doesn't even cost you anything because I bring my own. Work with me here. 

Second, all of the groceries were previously living harmoniously together in my shopping cart, so there is really no need to segregate them when bagging. I know that a gallon of fat free milk and a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper seem to be on opposite ends of the food spectrum, but if you put them together into a reusable shopping bag I'm certain they won't get into a fist fight in the car on the way home, disturbing all of the other groceries. I realize that the milk is cold and the Dr. Pepper isn't, and I understand that grocery baggers have probably been trained that these two don't mix because of some long-standing family feud between the Hotties and the Coldies, but I promise it will be okay. 

In addition, I know of no purchases in the grocery store that need their own bags simply because of the department they came from. Today I brought home one large reusable bag carrying only a bottle of gummy vitamins and a bottle of hand lotion. Alone. Another bag had only one package of whole wheat pitas. The pitas could have lived harmoniously with the chips in another bag and successfully avoided smushing, while the vitamins and lotion would have gotten along nicely with the cereal. Those items did not need their own private bag for transportation from store to car to home. All of the items I buy in the store are in packages of some kind, so it's not like they're naked and touching each other anyway. 

Speaking of smushing, chips, bread, tomatoes, and pretzels should not be smushed. Period. I can see that most grocery baggers take this into consideration when bagging them by themselves or together, but when you then place that bag at the bottom of the cart and your coworker puts bags on top of it, your effort is then in vain. Another word of advice, do not put bananas and onions on top of tomatoes. Tomatoes are decidedly smushable, and onions and sweet potatoes are often the aggressors in tomato-smushing incidents.  This is common sense, people.

In closing, I often think that all prospective baggers and those who train them should follow customers home and unload their cars and put away their groceries for at least an hour or two of training. Obviously the bigger picture of the grocery bagging process is lost in their attempts to remove my groceries from their stores. 

How do I sign up for a focus group? 


donajo said...

Austin is going to all-reusable bags in March, and I've seen some speculation that it might make HEB re-think their bagging procedures, since reusable bags hold more than single-use bags.

Also, I rarely take more than one reusable bag into the store with me (of course, I'm sure I also do less grocery shopping than you), but with one bag, I can tell the bagger just to throw it all in the one bag, it will be okay, really. So maybe take in less bags than you think? Or talk to the bagger?

Unknown said...

As one who's first method of earning an income consisted of bagging groceries. Who painstakingly trained her son on the proper proceedure, before his first job as a grocery sacker. And one who could now be considered to be excessively anal about said sacking of her own groceries, I feel your pain. I mean, it's common sense. Right? But, alas, I suffer the agony of improperly bagged groceries every week, because, after all, common sense is in short supply these days, isn't it? It seems counter intuitive, since you are paying them to do it for you, but, I often find myself shoving aside said common senseless bagger, and doing it myself. I'll do the focus group with you!

StormyHickman said...

Yes, I would often prefer to bag the groceries myself!

StormyHickman said...

They are usually very nice when I ask them to do it a certain way, but I feel like I'm being bossy. I have wondered, though, if they feel some sort of pressure to use all of the bags I bring!