If you have a car this probably isn’t an issue for you, but for those of us on the East Coast who have to walk home from the grocery store every day carrying our meal bags of sustenance, unbalanced bagging is a burden one should wish upon no one.

Why do grocery store baggers take the two heaviest items — let’s say two gallons of soy milk — and put them both into one bag while all the other bags are filled with single, feather-light, items like napkins and taco shells?

Is there a point to having one bag that cannot be carried by one person alone while all the other bags are light enough to walk home on their own? We usually end up re-bagging our bags before we leave the store to more evenly distribute the weight.

We find it funny we tip the bagger only to re-bag our bags. If you ask the bagger to not heavy bag you get three gallons of soy milk in a single bag the next time.

At first we thought the Single Bagger Theory was a strange sort of “customer convenience” theory gone askew in that the heavy bag could be traded between persons or juggled between hands to relieve tension — but we now realize heavy single bagging is just purposefully mean and cruel and we call it:”Bagger’s Revenge.”

15 Comments

  1. You have baggers?
    Everywhere I go, the cashiers have a spinning circular bag holder and do the bagging while ringing up the items.
    Or, you bag it yourself at other places.
    The one place that has baggers puts cards in the bag with the bagger’s name so that you can either praise or complain to the manager.
    They always do a decent job because there is some accountability. They also seem to be older people working a part-time job in retirement, so they are more thoughtful than a 16-year-old would be.

  2. You have baggers?
    Everywhere I go, the cashiers have a spinning circular bag holder and do the bagging while ringing up the items.
    Or, you bag it yourself at other places.
    The one place that has baggers puts cards in the bag with the bagger’s name so that you can either praise or complain to the manager.
    They always do a decent job because there is some accountability. They also seem to be older people working a part-time job in retirement, so they are more thoughtful than a 16-year-old would be.

  3. I’ve bagged my own groceries at the full service grocery store when all of the baggers were busy. I’ve noticed that the baggers will immediate go to another lane and start bagging. I’ve never had anyone ever offer to take over. Did they not want to interrupt my bagging experience?
    Once, the cashier told me I was faster than the people working there and said I should apply for a job. 🙂
    I got a laugh out of that because I had spent several years working at a grocery store when I was in college. I probably still have my union card for the United Food and Commercial Workers somewhere at my parent’s house. I don’t think you ever leave the union once you’ve joined.

  4. I think your baggers were happy you were willing to bag your own groceries so they didn’t have to do it. Ha!
    Self-bagging here can be sticky when Race is involved and clear class lines are at play even though not everyone (us!) wants to play.
    Sometimes bagging your own stuff can be seen as being “uppity” or being dissatisfied with the service being provided. Sometimes it’s better here to go with the flow instead of following your own gut on what will get you out of the checkout lane fastest.
    I love it that you were a union bagger! It reminds me of the good ole days when things were better and people mattered enough to each other join together to improve each other’s lives as one.

  5. I think your baggers were happy you were willing to bag your own groceries so they didn’t have to do it. Ha!
    Self-bagging here can be sticky when Race is involved and clear class lines are at play even though not everyone (us!) wants to play.
    Sometimes bagging your own stuff can be seen as being “uppity” or being dissatisfied with the service being provided. Sometimes it’s better here to go with the flow instead of following your own gut on what will get you out of the checkout lane fastest.
    I love it that you were a union bagger! It reminds me of the good ole days when things were better and people mattered enough to each other join together to improve each other’s lives as one.

  6. Hello
    It’s interesting in US blogs that bagging is quite a recurrent theme. I’ve never lived anywhere that people “bag” for you in supermarkets, but I’m inclined to think I wouldn’t let them bag my stuff even if they were. I have a real need to optimise bagging and the only way that is going to happen is if I do it. You have to try to get stuff that is solid but light together with stuff that it heavy, in order to get a good balance. You also have to try to make sure bags aren’t too full so that you can grab them properly. There’s a balance to strike between full optimisation of goods together that go together (stuff for the fridge in the same bag for example) and getting off the checkout quickly so that the person behind isn’t held up.
    The US also has a paper bag phenomenon, which is ecologically better (probably). Everyhwhere I have ever seen in Europe has cheap plastic bags which take centuries to biodegrade. Now the move is rather to reuse bags, and hence provide (at cost) better quality bags which you bring back to the store each time.
    Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone. I always forget exactly when it is, being a Eurodude.
    -Fruey

  7. Hehe. Self-bagging theory is actually an everyday practice in my country. Really, how can u guys have somebody else bagging your stuff? They’d bag them disorderly mixing Tampax with sausage… Yuck…