Friday, May 08, 2009

Tough Enough to Overstuff?

Reusable Grocery Bags are supposed to be a good thing.  I like bringing my own bags as they are large and sturdy, rather than the transparent plastic bags that stretch and tear with a mere gallon of milk.  Yes, it is good for the environment to reduce the use (and long term production of) plastic grocery bags.   If you are lucky enough that the flimsy plastic grocery bag survives the trip home, than it can be reused for many things as well (trash can liners, to hold wet clothing, shoes, etc).  But, getting it home without breaking and spilling your groceries is a bit of a miracle.
My big problem with reusable bags, is not the bags (which I think are usually wonderful and durable) but it is with the morons that are supposed to pack them at the supermarket!
Now, in New England "baggers" are found in most grocery stores.  It is their job to pack the newly purchased groceries after they are scanned.  When efficiently done, the clerk and bagger make short work of long lines.  

However, baggers are not the "brightest bulbs in the box".

And bringing your own reusuable bag, usually confuses the hell out of them.  I have 2 insulated bags that are great for keeping frozen food and dairy products cold in the warm weather.

Do you think the bagger packs my yogurts, cheese or ice cream in these?  NO
He packs boxes cereal, spices and pasta in these instead and leaves the cold items elsewhere.

Now, when they see that I have brought my own bags:
First off, they look at the bag, questionably, as if to ask, "what do you expect me to do with this?"  
Then, they quickly ascertain that your reusable bag is not your typical flimsy bag, so they think they can fill it to the brim, usually with canned goods, a mixture of soap products and raw chicken.
Then, if you are unfortunate enough to have a large order of groceries and only 2 bags, they are stumped when all your products do not fit into the few bags...
Good God!

This doesn't even begin to mention my personal pet peeves.... I do not want raw chicken, beef, etc combined with bread products or soaps.
Now, if I have enough soap products, there is a decent chance that they will pack those altogether.  But, if I have one bottle of dish soap, they don't hesitate to try and stick it in with my food products.
Also, I don't want my bread crushed, my meat punctured or my containers dented.  Is this too much to ask?  If I am purchasing these products "new" I have the expectation that they will arrive home in that same condition.
In line at Hannafords on Thursday, a customer in front of me was even more irritated than I am with the packing.  She told the bagger, in no uncertain terms "Do not pack my bag heavy.  I know you are told to do that and I DON'T want that."  The clerk said, "OK" and the woman persisted, "I KNOW you are told to pack them heavy.  I KNOW it."

Now, I think the woman may have been a little overboard.  But, to purchase $125 of groceries and to have a $4 loaf of bread crushed or a $3 bag of crackers smashed is frustrating.

So, I have devised a plan.
Not only do I mark my bags with my name (so there is no confusion of them trying to charge me for the bag I brought, thinking that it is "new") but, I think I will mark the bags with what they should contain (ie - CANNED GOODS, BOXES, DRINKS, BREADS, FROZEN).  Do I think this will work?
No.  The baggers would have to read the bags.  But, I will experiment and give it a try.
What it comes down to is that the baggers care not for the safety and condition of the customer's groceries.

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