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View Full Version : Baggers don't know how to bag


MaggieTheCat
12-02-2013, 07:10 PM
It shouldn't be too difficult, but apparently it is because half of the baggers I encounter in grocery stores don't know how to do even a semi-decent job of bagging.

I bring my own, reusable bags. One of them is an insulated bag that is intended for cold food (or hot, but I almost never buy hot food at a grocery store.) It is obvious that this is what it's used for: The bag itself is much heavier-duty than a normal reusable bag, it has foam insulation on the inside, and it says on the outside, "Insulated bag, keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold." It's not rocket science to figure out that stuff like frozen food, meat, etc. should be the first choices to go in there.

But no. No, the baggers like to put flour, canned products, cold remedies, and condiments in there, and then stick all my cold products haphazardly in my other, non-insulated bags. Oh, look, there's my raw chicken (not bagged in plastic first) sitting on top of my lettuce. Great.

I shouldn't have to baby-sit them and tell them how to bag stuff in even a halfway logical way but apparently I do. I think I'm just going to start bagging my own groceries from now on, since it'll be easier than having to watch and explain to them how I want it done.

telecom_goddess
12-02-2013, 07:33 PM
That is why I prefer bagging my own, I do a much better job than they do. It's like they don't use any sense.

Jay 2K Winger
12-02-2013, 08:10 PM
Fortunately, most cashiers/baggers I've run into use some sense.

When I worked in retail and had to train new coworkers in packing customer's carts at the wholesale club, I made a point of teaching them how to load it up:
+ Keep hot foods AWAY from cold/frozen/meltable prodcuts
+ Keep chemical products (detergents, cleaning supplies) AWAY from produce, dairy, and meats.
+ Always load the soft, breakable, and/or smashable products in LAST, and preferably in a place where they'll suffer the least damage.

and so on.

Ophbalance
12-02-2013, 11:18 PM
It always amazes me when I put all my frozen/cold on the belt first. And THEN I point out "hey, these bags are insulted". And even THEN they sometimes don't use the insulated bags properly, or just look at them (and these are the SAME STORE BRAND BAGS!) like they've never seen such things before. And that's yet one of the reasons I try and grocery shop around 10 PM. I bag my own groceries then.

mathnerd
12-03-2013, 12:01 AM
Honestly, I think there's a lack of training going on. Bagging *seems* like common sense, but a 16 year old kid who's never had to deal with badly bagged groceries might not think of certain things. Granted it was years ago, but when I worked at a grocery store the baggers were constantly griping that they were getting yelled at for things they hadn't even considered might be a problem, and the management never saw fit to give these kids even the slightest bit of training.

raudf
12-03-2013, 12:25 AM
And it doesn't matter if you put all your stuff in the "groups," as to how you want them bagged. They can and will wind up bagged all over the place as the cashier/bagger decides "Hey, that's the right size to fit!" I also put the eggs before the bread on the conveyor belt. I want the eggs at the bottom of the bag, with the bread on top. The eggs aren't going to be hurt by the bread and the eggs protect the bread from getting squished. Plus only one bag of squishables to keep track of!

IT'S NOT TETRIS!!! Stop trying to cram things in just because they FIT. And NO, clothing doesn't belong with the BLEACH. Nor does the FOOD!!! STAHP!!!!

Mart of Wals, once upon a time, trained cashiers in how to bag.. or at least had videos. Basically it said, "Pack like with like. Meats with meats. Cold with Cold. Clothing with clothing. Don't pack clothing or food with the chemicals." I don't think they do that anymore, given how many times I've had to repack the bags.

bainsidhe
12-03-2013, 01:59 AM
For some truly horrible bagging, I recommend watching customers in the self-checkout lines. Because they're in a hurry, they'll bag two-liters with bread, put raw chicken with their potato chips, etc. It can be quite entertaining. ;)

42_42_42
12-03-2013, 03:48 AM
I have a favorite bagger at my local grocery. I choose the lane I'll check out in based on where he's bagging, not on line length.

Dreamstalker
12-03-2013, 03:37 PM
For some truly horrible bagging, I recommend watching customers in the self-checkout lines. Because they're in a hurry, they'll bag two-liters with bread, put raw chicken with their potato chips, etc. It can be quite entertaining. ;)
That's why I tend to not bag on SCO duty (generally we're not supposed to unless the customer actually needs help; a few regulars will request that I bag for them because I 'know how to do it right'). I'd like some way of marking the bags that get put on SCO lanes, so if an SC drops one in the parking lot and tries to get another for free we can point to the bag and say "YOU packed it."

sms001
12-03-2013, 05:54 PM
Above and beyond the lack of common sense and training, I like bagging for myself because I can pack it to UNpack more sensibly. It would creep me out a bit if my bagger knew that one peanut butter went in the cans bag and the other went in the bread bag. :)

ADoyle90815
12-03-2013, 11:36 PM
For some truly horrible bagging, I recommend watching customers in the self-checkout lines. Because they're in a hurry, they'll bag two-liters with bread, put raw chicken with their potato chips, etc. It can be quite entertaining. ;)

For me, that's the benefit of SCO lanes, but I don't like to use those myself because when stores put those in, cashiers end up losing their jobs because only a single person is needed to watch those lanes.

laborcat
12-04-2013, 10:20 PM
Don't even get me started on some of the baggers at the Kroger I usually use. After the third or fourth time of finding fruit, avocados, or tomatoes in a bag with cans I finally took the bags to the service desk and asked them if this was how they trained their baggers, and if this was acceptable to them. Since then it's not happened, but I've learned to get right up there and tell them point blank to put all of my produce in one bag, together.

Chromatix
12-05-2013, 09:09 AM
This is another of those differences between America and Europe that I have yet to fully understand.

Over here we do our own bagging, as customers. It means fewer people are needed to man each checkout, there are no arguments over how it should be done, and any problems after leaving the checkout are clearly on the customer's own head.

There is one exception: cashiers will, in my experience, often ask whether frozen foods should be put together in a thin plastic bag. I always say no, because I already put them together in a large bag.

ADeMartino
12-05-2013, 12:39 PM
Well, I can kind of see the 'why'. I'm not justifying or rationalizing it, just understanding why. We've seen it before, all of us. Entry-level employees who don't give a shit, coupled with lack of training and managers who don't give a shit.

I do prefer usually to bag things myself, but the grocery store near me actually does have decent people working and they do a pretty good job of it, and if I have an entire baskart full, they usually have it done before I'm even finished paying. They're even good at keeping things properly separated - cold, soft/delicate, non-food, chemicals. My only irritation is that they'll often use too many bags for the job. Yeah, I know - 'first world problem'. But a gallon of milk doesn't really need to be in a bag, and yes, it IS possible to put two cans of vegetables in a bag with the two loaves of bread - you just put the cans at the bottom. It just seems wasteful to me.

Monterey Jack
12-05-2013, 01:08 PM
For the record, I am a good bagger, so let's not lump together all baggers as being inept at their job.

Teskeria
12-05-2013, 01:21 PM
When my daughter started working as a bagger at a grocery store in the ne (s&s) they did not train them (still dont). My Dad saw her bagging and asked if that was how they taught it. she said 'Papa, they don't teach you bagging' kinda puzzled like. So he taught her then and there. And the 2 baggers on the surrounding aisles. And whenever he saw a new bagger, he quietly went over and taught them to bag.
I loved my Dad.

Geek King
12-05-2013, 01:26 PM
I think the worst bagger I have ever experienced was the nitwit who took my hot lunch meal from the deli and stuck it in the bag sideways! Fortunately I had it plastic wrapped, so the gravy from the mashed potatoes didn't go everywhere, but I wasn't amused at the new flavor experience created by cabbage roll and gravy.

Dreamstalker
12-05-2013, 02:06 PM
No, they don't teach baggers. Oh, my boss goes through the motions with the new paper bags we have, but any 'training' is done by getting bitched at by SCs. We have one bagger who will never, ever learn (and for some reason I always get stuck with her).
she said 'Papa, they don't teach you bagging' kinda puzzled like. So he taught her then and there. And the 2 baggers on the surrounding aisles. And whenever he saw a new bagger, he quietly went over and taught them to bag.
My mom does this; if we're shopping or I'm working and she comes in and sees a new bagger she'll teach them or tell me to :)

sms001
12-05-2013, 06:15 PM
Which reminds me - does Letterman still go head-to-head against the U.S. champion bagger every year? I haven't watched in ages.

ETA: Apparently he does. Or at least has them on the show.

http://www.seattlemag.com/seattles-champion-grocery-bagger-appear-letterman

EricKei
12-06-2013, 12:30 AM
...and yes, it IS possible to put two cans of vegetables in a bag with the two loaves of bread - you just put the cans at the bottom. It just seems wasteful to me.
Well, sure...but my guess is that people are operating on the assumption that there are enough *other* items to fill up both bags. Some baggers are freaking awesome, some are hopelessly incompetent...And nary a one gets trained in any manner aside from "Throw them on a line and see what happens"

At the old BoutiqueGrocery, we actually tended to pack the plastic bags as light as possible, for the simple reason that they were utter shit. I had personally witnessed these bags self-destructing under the incredible weight of two loaves of bread o_O Fortunately, we also had paper bags which were heavy-duty enough to serve as ammo canisters >_>

Difdi
12-06-2013, 01:53 PM
IT'S NOT TETRIS!!! Stop trying to cram things in just because they FIT. And NO, clothing doesn't belong with the BLEACH. Nor does the FOOD!!! STAHP!!!!

THIS.

I have reusable bags, and I have a pretty good idea of what they'll hold. I usually give the bagger 1 more bag than they'll need just in case. More often than not they try to cram all of my groceries into a single bag rather than the four that I handed them. The bags I use are reasonably strong, but that kind of overloading destroys them almost instantly if I don't notice they did it and try to pick one up. :cry:

Kogarashi
12-14-2013, 06:21 AM
My biggest complaint is when I, knowing what my resuable bags can hold, group my stuff on the register for easy bagging and instead end up with the cashier rooting all through the whole belt to bag in their own (99% of the time incomprehensible) way. Seriously, did you really have to deliberately go for three of the cans of fruit, one box of noodles, and the apples to go with the frozen peas when there are four other cold items right next to the peas?

And of course, there was the one time the cashier thought the bread might actually crush my eggs. Gave me the most dubious look when I told her it was all right to put the two together, so long as the bread was on top.

Mart of Wals, once upon a time, trained cashiers in how to bag.. or at least had videos. Basically it said, "Pack like with like. Meats with meats. Cold with Cold. Clothing with clothing. Don't pack clothing or food with the chemicals." I don't think they do that anymore, given how many times I've had to repack the bags.

As far as I'm aware, they still have the videos. However, once you sign off on them, you're basically free to forget the information until the next time you have to watch it again, which could be a very long time away. So that's probably part of the issue.

...bag two-liters with bread....

I've done that before in self-checkout, but I did it on purpose, and I did it by laying the soda sideways in the bottom of the bag and then putting the bread on top, and I did it because that was all I was buying at the time and didn't want two bags for one bottle of soda and one loaf of bread.

Akasa
12-16-2013, 01:59 AM
I walk to and from the grocery store. Today I bought among other things 2 bottles of juice. I asked that the juice be put in separate bags. 1 bag per juice so I could carry one bottle in each hand.

As I was paying "You don't want the juice double bagged?" "No I don't want it double bagged."

I get done paying and look over, and there's both juices in a bag together.

I GLARED at the bagger, got another bag, and separated my juices.

vikingchyk
12-20-2013, 05:39 PM
One store of my local grocery chain employs the mentally challenged as baggers.

I just don't have the energy to describe all the ways this turns out badly. {Summary: it always turns out badly, someway, somehow.} And it's three times as slow, too. :no:

sms001
12-20-2013, 07:45 PM
One store of my local grocery chain employs the mentally challenged as baggers.


One here too, but I actually like it. It's slower (so far, but I've never seen the same ones there for much longer than a few months), sure, but the satisfaction they seem to derive from it more than overcomes that. I've never had anything go disastrously wrong, but I imagine the store would make good if I got some busted eggs or some such. (Just as they would for any other bagger.)

justhere
12-22-2013, 04:07 PM
One store of my local grocery chain employs the mentally challenged as baggers.

I just don't have the energy to describe all the ways this turns out badly. {Summary: it always turns out badly, someway, somehow.} And it's three times as slow, too. :no:

When I lived near a store that had the same policy for hiring baggers, I always went in the lines with those baggers. Yes, it was slower, but they always bagged everything carefully and absolutely to my specifications. I never had a problem...

Dreamstalker
12-23-2013, 03:59 AM
I work very well with three of the 'challenged' baggers at my store; I know how they learn and work best and they love bagging on my lane because of that. A fourth will never learn and is a source of frustration to many of us who get stuck with her, and another is just lazy with a rotten attitude.

It's when there's a mismatch between the baggers and cashiers that it can be a problem. If the cashier's too fast (worried about metrics), there's a greater chance that something will get damaged if it isn't shifted immediately. I'm a pretty fast bagger and have gotten my hand slammed by a watermelon/case of soda/frozen turkey many times. On a huge order, customer groupings can go out the window (bagging platform fills up, no choice but to bag everything quickly to make room for more).

vikingchyk
12-23-2013, 05:33 PM
One here too, but I actually like it. It's slower (so far, but I've never seen the same ones there for much longer than a few months), sure, but the satisfaction they seem to derive from it more than overcomes that. I've never had anything go disastrously wrong, but I imagine the store would make good if I got some busted eggs or some such. (Just as they would for any other bagger.)

That's why I haven't complained, as much as I've wanted to - because they are getting a benefit. I just wish it would go more smoothly more often. I'm not sure if they aren't getting training, or they can't remember all the rules, or what the problem is. The cashiers sometimes help them, but I get the feeling it's the cashier's decision. Some are really patient and remind them how to do things, while others just stand there are stare at the baggers, or impatiently start tossing stuff into bags (so they are packed even more randomly.)

The other store near me (same chain) looks like they are also adding the challenged baggers. When I was there last Friday, at one point the chyk bagger wailed "Oh no! PIE!!" :eek: She made the cashier bag those. Oh dear, what happened that made her have such a reaction to two frozen pies?? :( Yet another reason I don't want to complain, because I'm sure they hear a lot of crap from people less nice than me...

Aethian
12-24-2013, 05:18 AM
She could have had a fresh pie that got cherished and she was reamed.

dalesys
12-24-2013, 04:09 PM
She could have had a fresh pie that got cherished and she was reamed.
Or the razzes got buried.:p

Aethian
12-25-2013, 12:32 AM
Cherished was crushed...

CrappyToHelp
12-29-2013, 02:05 AM
Ugh. I'm only 19 and I use customers' insulated bags fine. People don't think.

That being said, we don't have baggers here so people either learn or have their bags break.