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November 11, 2010


You pegged this one. BAG YOUR OWN when there is no assigned bagger.

BTW, I am having a kale recipe smackdown at Henbogle, and I do hope you will participate.

I know this is bizarre, but it's totally regional. In California, you're not expected to bag your own groceries (and I really appreciate the cashiers at Trader Joe's who are expert, speedy baggers, and manage to put all the cold food together so it stays cold and also not crush my tomatoes), but in New York, you totally are (this created some confusion for young, Californian me, when I first moved back East). It's possible the woman in front of you was just a transplated Westerner.

I am sure we have likely crossed paths in Russo's as I ALWAYS choose to go before 10 during the week. (*as an aside, we do get all our produce at work from Russo's but I choose to go and and hand pick my own stuff - because I enjoy navigating the calm wide aisles and the extremely considerate shoppers with carts who take the time to park them out of the way while they make their selections. But I do digress)
I take particular joy in ignoring the signs that tell us how much they love us to bring our own bags but don't even THINK about loading your stuff in them until you have paid. are they nuts? I take no carriage and load my bag as i go, ducking and weaving past the old Italian ladies and the picky Armenian grandma's filling my bag with a hearty chuckle. I cant wait til they yell at me one day so i can tell them what I think of their crowded aisles. And don't even GET ME GOING on the ones who bring in the GARDEN CENTER CARTS and drive those around.

As someone who used to be a cashier at a grocery store, it drove me CRAZY when people did this if there was a line behind them. If you're the only one in line, it's not quite as bad, but still. Especially if they were talking on their cell phone while waiting for me to finish ringing up and bagging their order...oh boy, if looks could kill, they would have been cut to ribbons by the end.

i am so with you on this. makes me CRAZY! sometimes i do step ahead and bag someone else's stuff (usually an older person who will just think i am helpful and not a bitch). not to mention that the fine art of bagging is lost on most baggers and i actually prefer to bag my own. a lot of times the paid-by-the-hour bagger will stand by idly while i do the work. most baggers these days have no pride in their work. i know it isn't a highly skilled job, but shouldn't there be some pride in what you do, no matter what it is?

and another thing: what is so wrong with wheeling an empty cart from the parking lot back into the store to use it for shopping? JUST THINK, PEOPLE! wouldn't the world would be so much better and happier if we all just did a little bit instead of indulging our entitled selves ALL the time!

too bad the stores aren't open yet so i can go and put some of these rants to good use now. thanks for cranking up my morning.

Not only are there grocery stores in other countries, but you can bet you'll be doing your own bagging there too. I'm and American living in the Netherlands and the practice here is:

1) pay for your own bag if you don't bring one (10 cents);
2) hurriedly throw your stuff into the one bag + your purse (b/c you forgot to bring a bag and only want to buy 1, for cheapness or ecological-ness, who knows) trying not to squish anything;
3) continue trying to hurriedly throw your food into bags while paying, getting receipt, offering various discount cards, with any bag-organizational notions flying out the window;
4) try to get all of your stuff into your bag before the check out person shoves it all over to one side with no regard for breakable or squishable things so they can begin with the next person, who is staring impatiently at you to get out of the way (as is everyone else if you take too long, the cashier never stops);
5) under the stress and pressure carry your haphazardly packed overloaded bags out to your bike, try to load the bike and cycle home under a deluge of wind and rain.

This woman would lose her "zen" inaction in a hurry.

"That if there is no bagger present and you have two functioning limbs..."

I'm getting a chuckle picturing you with a scowl, steam coming out of your ears, staring daggers at some guy with both arms in casts, but with two perfectly healthy legs. Come on, buddy! Put those feet to work!


Sorry to be snarky, but if that's the worst thing that happened to you that day, you're doing pretty damn well.

garrick: But wait until I tell you about my afternoon!!

PJ: That's right. You've got 10 toes, buddy--make it snappy!

Jen: Sounds stressful. Do they have anything available in Amsterdam to help soothe your jangled nerves afterwards?

snippyscissors: I know! I'd settle for people grabbing the door when I hold it open for them instead of walking right through like I'm their own personal door-holder.

Gillis: Yeah. Don't get me started on cell phones. I think I'm turning into a crotchedy old crone.

jo: Yup, we're definitely talking about the same place. Next time, I'll look for the lady with all the full bags and shoot you a knowing look across the crowded room!

Kate: I never thought of that. It's true that there are cultural differences between the two coasts. Perhaps I'm being a tad harsh. I'm probably just jealous that a Zen state of mind has always eluded my very East Coast, neurotic self.

Ali: Mmmm, kale. I'll see what I can do!

I shop pretty regularly at Russo's too, and I usually go on Sunday mornings (can't get there during the week). I ride out from Cambridge, and try to get there as close to opening time as possible. Since I carry stuff in my bike panniers, I pretty much always do my own bagging no matter what. I skip the store bags entirely. I can pack it so that a carton of eggs will survive seven miles of Watertown and Cambridge streets.

But I have seen the behavior you note elsewhere. People just expect to have it done for them, and they're willing to wait for it, I guess. I'm too impatient--I'll start bagging just to get out faster. It is a small thing, but like many small things, it can be irritating.

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You are not being petty! It drives me SO CRAZY when people just stand there. Are they really that lazy? Or that helpless? Or feel that entitled? You'd think she'd be a little more with it given she brought her own bags. My other peeve is the baggers who haven't a clue about bagging or worse, seem to be participating in some sort of competition as to the most possible number of bags they can use. And of course double bagging everything. And every non-food item such as soap or cleaning products has to be put in it's own - plastic, of course - bag. I bring my own bags (unless I forget - too often unfortunately) and usually shove the bagger out of the way so I can bag my way and have the fewest amount of bags and have them packed in the best possible way. A choice that was further validated by my most recent shopping experience when I came home from the store and found that in the one bag I hadn't packed myself the bread was on the BOTTOM - under big, heavy bags of bulk foods, cans, and other breadcrushing items. What sort of idiot does that? The same one who had double-bagged my gallon of milk. You know, the one that has it's own handle to carry it??? Ah, grocery rage, it's lurking in so many of us.

There's a grocery chain in these parts called Aldi (founded by the same gent as founded Trader Joe's.) Not only are you expected to bag your own stuff, it's put right back into your cart as it's rung up and you're expected to bring the cart over to a little counter by the door and bag it all over there. Lines go much quicker!

I never heard of a BaGGER What do you do for a living Im a bagger LOL

You know, I frequently step up to bag my own groceries...but I get the hairy eyeball sometimes for doing so by grocery store employees. I truly do not understand this...I am doing someone's job, making the cashier's life easier and moving the line along...what is not to like?!

Side rant...the few times every few years that I find myself needing to go into a Wal-mart or other big grocery store, I can't for the life of me figure out why they put only one or two items in plastic bags. Not only is horribly unfriendly to the environment, but seems like a waste from a business stand point as well. Do. not. understand.

Bagger? I don't even know her! But seriously...

I ... never ... bag ... my ... own ... groceries ... on ... principle. Two reasons: first, I like to watch the computer screen as the items are rung up so that I can be sure that there are no errors; second, I want them to hire more baggers.

I actually worked as a cashier back in my college days to make some much-needed. I can remember the day when my employer fired most of our baggers as a cost-cutting measure with the expectation that the customers would bag for themselves. Which might have been defensible if the savings were passed-on to the customers ... but of course they never were. I know that I'm probably tilting at windmills, but I have this (admittedly) naive notion that perhaps the managers will notice that it is nice to have baggers.

As far as hairy eyeballs from other shoppers go ... I've been known to throw a mean one myself. Really doesn't bother me at all.

correction ... should say "much needed cash" in my post

YES! Drives me nuts! I'm from the uk so I have the same experience as the person from the Netherlands, drives me crazy when there is a line and the person in front is too lazy to help bag. The cashiers always seem to think I'm a little bit nuts for helping though!

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