Granted, I have a master's degree (albeit in International Relations, not in Bagging). But seriously, do you really need an advanced degree, or even a college diploma, to figure out how to put a shopping cart's worth of stuff into three canvas bags so that one bag does not weigh 20 pounds more than the others?
Oh, and before you politically correct types start pointing out that a lot of baggers are mentally challenged and don't know any better, let me state for the record that I am not referring to those particular baggers, who often do a better job than the seemingly non-mentally challenged.
Why do I even care (or care enough to blog about bagging)? Because I have a really bad upper back/neck/shoulder problem. (One doctor diagnosed me with early stage cervical arthritis years ago. The same doctor whose response to my months of agony was to tell me to take two Aleve and call him the next week.) And if or when I carry anything too heavy, the pressure on my upper back and neck triggers a migraine, which sidelines me for hours or sometimes days. That's why. So I am extremely careful about the bagging of groceries.
To prevent the dreaded bagging problem, my past strategy was to sweetly tell the baggers at my local Stop & Shop (and other grocery stores I frequent) to distribute the weight between bags (which I brought), because I had a bad back, and even made helpful suggestions. And I swear they would look me straight in the eye, say "sure ma'am!" and then completely ignore me. One time I was so frustrated, I rebagged several items right there at checkout.
More typically, though, I choose lanes without a bagger and tell the checkout person that I will bag my own stuff, which usually elicits a "thank you!" Or I do self checkout. But even self checkout is not so "self" anymore, as I experienced today (and on some other days).
There I was, doing the early morning grocery run, rushing so I could get back to my home office in time to put my purchases away before starting in on my latest project (i.e., work), flinging my stuff through the scanner when a middle-aged male store employee came over and started to bag my stuff. "Thank you!" I sweetly said, quickly tossing him my bags, so I could return to scanning my items. In the process, I failed to mention my equal distribution request. And when I looked up a few seconds later, I saw that he had crammed all the heavy items into one bag and was staring at my third bag, which was empty, until he quickly shoved the last few remaining light items into.
I sighed inwardly, signed the pad, and hurried out, thanking the man as I passed him (while inwardly cursing him). When I got back to my car, about half a block away from prying eyes, I rearranged some of the items in hopes of saving my back some strain, asking myself "Why? Why is it that in a town full of reasonably bright, at least somewhat educated, more or less logical people, NO ONE knows how to strategically bag a bunch of groceries?"
I think the Europeans absolutely have the right idea: bring your own (preferably non-plastic) bags and bag your stuff yourself.
UPDATED 11:25 A.M.: The bad news: My interviewee just bailed on me. AGAIN. Though is supposedly going to call me later. The good news: lots of action this morning on the Puppy Cam!
UPDATED 6:59 P.M.: No headache so far, despite lugging. And I finally managed to nail down all my interviews for my next article -- and wrote another article in between interviews. Yup, pretty darn proud of myself. And all this hard work has earned me another trip to... the Puppy Cam! Gosh, they are cute. Oh, and a big THANK YOU to all the folks who weighed in on bagging (both here and offline). Still plenty of time to leave more comments, folks! Step right up!
5 minutes ago