Bagging a bit better

IMG_0937My brother bagged groceries in high school.  He was good at it and proud of his skills.

He knew how to sort groceries coming down the belt so he could bag more efficient.  Separating the boxes from the cans, the produce from the meat, the fragile from the durable.  He knew how to build a foundation layer in the bottom of the bags so they would be stable in the car and on the kitchen counter ( back when only square bottom craft paper bags were in use). He knew how to double bag to prevent tearing and bagging meats and produce so that condensation and contamination were not an issue.  Of course, he bagged so eggs would not be broken and bread would not be crushed.

My brother’s success as a bagger led to his next position as stocker and 40 years later, he still earns a comfortable living working for a union grocery store.  But this post is not about my brother.

With the emergence of self-bagging at grocery stores, an art form may have been lost, the art of bagging groceries.  Time was when grocery stores were proud of the bagging prowess of their employees.  But that time is all but forgotten even in many of the high-end grocery stores of today.  But the other day I had a great bagging experience.

Stopping by a local high-end grocer, we quickly got the steaks, wine, cheese and a few other things for a small dinner party that we were having the next day.  We stepped up to an open register with our basket of items and placed them on the belt.  While waiting for the  cashier to finish with the last customer, I checked out the impulse magazine.  You know you are in a high-end grocery store when the impulse magazines include the Harvard Business Review.  The article “How to really Learn from Failure” caught my eye so I threw it in with our purchases.

After a friendly greeting, our cashier/bagger quickly assessed the items on the belt.

“Would you like everything in one bag?” she asked as she double bagged the first bag.

“That’s fine,” we answered.

Scanning the items quickly, she placed each item carefully in the bag.  She wrapped the steaks in a plastic bag to prevent contamination before placing it in the sack.  She finally got to the last item, the magazine.  After scanning, she carefully placed the $17 magazine in the bag by carefully positioning it between the two bags making sure that it was safely packed and also protected from the groceries.

Perhaps good bagging is not a lost art.


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