It appears that the qualifications to become a grocery bagger have diminished over the years. I remember as a child going with my mom to the grocery store and watching the person bag the groceries. (Hey! … when I was a kid I didn’t have a cell phone to mindlessly stare into and watch any cartoon I wanted at any fucking time … so I had to entertain myself by observing the things around me.)
The guy visually scanned the groceries coming down the conveyor belt and would reach for things that he needed to create the perfect Tetris bag. He would leave things on the belt until he needed them. Every grab had a purpose and he hustled because once he was finished with our groceries he had to jump to the next aisle and bag those groceries. There was always an aisle he had to move to and bag groceries. He knew he had to hustle … or he would be replaced.
Clearly, the job is not viewed with the same high regard it once was. It’s apparent that no training is being done for this position anymore before putting the person into action. I believe the only qualification needed now for this job is breathing.
Everybody knows that you put the box shaped things at the bottom to keep the shape of the bag. Once you’ve established a base layer that keeps the bag’s shape … then you can be less critical about what you put in the bag. Now, when I say less critical, it certainly does not mean anything goes. There are certain hierarchies and groupings that must be adhered to for proper grocery bagging.
Every bag should have a base layer of boxed items … but you certainly wouldn’t want to put frozen things on top of boxes that aren’t frozen food. Come on! The frozen item will obviously start to thaw causing condensation … which due to the laws of gravity … will make it’s way down to the box. If you don’t get home right away, you are risking the box getting wet which could compromise the integrity of the structure you’ve built on the bottom layer. It’s not rocket science!
- You also always try to keep frozen foods together! (The frozenness of the items help to keep everything cold)
- You don’t pack vegetables at the bottom with things on top of them.
- Bread and eggs are obviously top bag items.
- And you certainly don’t put your vegetables in with your meats.
These all seem like pretty straight forward guidelines … don’t they!? I have gone to the grocery store and watched with great anxiety as my groceries are tossed in the bag with wanton disregard for any of these rules! Tomatoes on the bottom with liters of soda placed on top … yogurt at the bottom of the bag with hard edged cans haphazardly tossed on top of them … bread thrown in first only to have a pineapple stacked on top! It’s complete anarchy!
If you can’t … or won’t … adhere to these few basic guidelines, then you have no place bagging groceries! A large group of the people who currently hold these positions have a lackadaisical attitude. This is infuriating! Sure, it may not be your dream job … but it is your current job … so do it to the best of your ability. You never know who’s watching and you never know if it could lead to something else.
Regarding the phrase to best of your ability … I have to say something and it’s probably not going to be received very well and it’s probably going to piss a lot of people off … but … Fuck It! … someone has to say it.
Let me preface this by saying I think it’s awesome that grocery stores hire people with disabilities. They get my unwavering admiration for employing them and giving them a sense of normalcy and a chance to make a living … but … do they have to put them in the bagger position for fuck’s sake!? Can’t management have them stock shelves or sweep or do anything other than bag my groceries!?
Many of them just throw groceries in the bag in whatever order they come down the conveyor belt! No concern for keeping my vegetables pristine … total disregard for the box on the bottom rule … bruising my perfect apples that I painstakingly chose … smashing my loaf of bread into the size of a single dinner roll … decimating my bag of chips with liters of soda placed on top of them … I mean … come on! These groceries aren’t cheap! And if I dare say anything negative about their bagging skills … I’m a huge insensitive prick! I don’t think it’s fair that I’m put in the situation where I spend all this money on groceries and can’t say anything about if they’re being damaged in the bagging process without coming across as a dick. If a person doesn’t have the capacity to do a job well … disabled or not … then management is obligated to have them do something else. I’m not trying to be callous but if you can’t do the job … you can’t do the job. I mean …you certainly aren’t going to have a blind man officiate Wimbledon!
Sorry! It needed to be said. (You know where the comments button is located if you were triggered.)
In the interest of full disclosure, I was never a grocery bagger when I was younger … but I’m pretty sure I would have crushed it! Definitely better than the baggers I’ve recently come in contact with. I’m sure some of you, whom I’ve pissed off with my previous comment, would protest my declaration by saying …
If you haven’t done it … then you can’t say you would do it better.
Actually I can! The reason I know is because the past few years I’ve started having to bag my own groceries … and I do a hell of a better job than the baggers currently hired to do it! Ever since Aldi came to town the other grocery stores don’t staff baggers like they used to. I’m guessing they figure if you can bag your own groceries at Aldi … then you can do it here too. At first, I was pissed that now it became my job to bag my groceries … but in all honesty, it’s worked out better. Less shit gets damaged and I Tetris the fuck out of those bags! Alexey Pajitnov would be proud.
Recently, A young man was waiting at the end of the aisle to bag my groceries. I started to get that feeling of defeat wash over me … until I watched him. He put boxes on the bottom, kept the proper food groups together. He was a natural! I was so impressed I actually wanted to tip him out of disbelief that someone actually did it properly. I thought giving him a tip might come across as demeaning, so I decided against it … but I couldn’t let it go without telling him what a great job I thought he did. I said:
“Nice job bagging the groceries”
He looked at me … with the look only a teenager is capable of giving … that translated into whatever you fucking weird old man. I didn’t care though … I was so proud of him.