It’s come to this: groaning whenever I see that our checkout lane has a bagger assigned.
Where I live, we have a 5-cent bag tax on plastic and paper bags. To me, this has never been a big deal — reusable bags are just fine and it’s been easy to get into the habit of bringing them to the store. But, at Giant, my store of choice, there’s this: they reimburse you 5 cents for each reusable bag you bring with you. Great, right?
No, not really, because the baggers have obviously been coached to stuff all groceries in as few bags as possible.
This drives me up the wall. You do not, for example, bundle a carton of eggs with a 59-ounce bottle of Simply Grapefruit juice. Additionally, you don’t stuff two six-packs of soda into one bag — do you know how much that weighs? And lastly, please remove my tomatoes from the bag with all boxed goods. I don’t need the skin pierced before I get home.
Of course, part of this goes back to the fact that not all baggers are created equal. Some know how to arrange groceries perfectly; others just throw things in at random. But my tomato sauce should not sit on top of my bananas.
We’re lucky that most of the time we end up bagging our own groceries. My husband and I are apparently very talented in this regard — we do it in no time flat. Woe to us if we end up with the lady who bags slowly and hates it when we jump in to help. I purposely avoid her line (the one time when I avoided her line and then she proceeded to move to my line nearly had me in tears). Other baggers are less territorial, but they’re just as bad at bagging. Off the top of my head, I can think of one person who does a decent job. We always look for lines without baggers.
I will say this: the baggers overstuff plastic and paper bags, too, assuming that you don’t want to pay too much of the bag tax. My brother, who is still acclimating to living here, had all of his groceries for the week stuffed into two bags. Thank goodness they didn’t break before we got him to his apartment.
All in all, it’s kind of ridiculous.
This weekend was the epitome of bad bagging; all the examples I gave of inexpert bagging happened on Saturday night. Since my husband paid for groceries this week (yes, we still have separate banking accounts; no, it doesn’t make sense), I was on bagging duty. The woman clearly wasn’t thrilled that I was helping and was even less thrilled when I re-bagged some things right in front of her. But really — I’m not lugging two six-packs of soda in one bag. And yes, I’d like my eggs to be intact when I get home.
Oh, Giant baggers. Let us do our own thing if you’re going to insist on stuffing $150 worth of groceries into four bags.