Last week I was all GAH, HATE BLOGGING and WHINE WHINE WHINE and POOR WITTLE ME and barely looked at my computer this weekend. I KNOW! I actually spent my weekend with real people! I even went OUT! Friday night my sister took me shoe shopping because, as we know, I own one pair of shoes and they do not go with the dress I was planning to wear to the church tea party. (Apparently, all the primary level teachers at my sister's school know about my Shoe Deficiency and, when she told them about her Friday evening plans, sent their prayers and The Force.)
Amazingly enough we found a pair of shoes in a heel height my feet have never known (AND YET I STAYED UPRIGHT ALL AFTERNOON). And then the NEXT day I not only partied with the church ladies, I went out for Red Robin french fries with girlfriends and LEFT THE BABY AT HOME. See? REAL PEOPLE! OUTINGS! RED ROBIN RANCH DRESSING!
(Who thinks I have used up my allotment of capital letters ALREADY?)
Okay, even besides all those things, some rather blog-worthy things happened this weekend and then I was all YAY, LOVE BLOGGING. There was the fascinating article American Family linked to yesterday (not sure if that NYT link will work because of registering etc.) about multiracial children traveling in China, finally taking our car in to be fixed and having to rent a godawful Ford Taurus, then discovering that Jack is most likely allergic to eggs (WOE!)- all terribly interesting to be SURE. But what I really want to write about today is Grocery Store Bagger People.
BECAUSE OH MY GOD, Grocery Store Bagger People. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
First of all, I speak from experience. I was a Grocery Store Bagger Person in high school, although we called ourselves Commissary Baggers and we worked for tips. Being a Commissary Bagger was pretty much the only not lame job available to high schoolers on base. You could work at one of the food joints (LAME) and you could also do Summer Hire during the (duh) summer where the military matched you up with a military office and you worked for twenty-five cents an hour doing whatever the 20-year-old sergeant wanted you to do. When I was 15 I worked in Pass & ID, when you still had passes and ID cards made out of real paper, with a picture glued on to the front and run through a laminator. (AM VERY OLD.) My brothers mowed the grass on top of ammunition mounds (what are those things called? Never mind, I don't care.) The summer after my senior year, because I was special, I got to work at the base newspaper where I wrote incredibly dorky articles (and turned down an opportunity to go and write about paragliding, because I am a CHICKEN) and got to be in the thick of the Most Exciting Summer Event, when a fighter jet made a crash landing seconds away from our building. Oh yeah, good times on the American overseas military base.
But you did not do Summer Hire to make money, you did Summer Hire to put something on your resume or your college applications. If you needed to make some cash, you cozied up to Toni, the Head Bagger at the base commissary and begged for a job as soon as she had an opening.
Toni was three feet tall and all three feet made up of Crazy. She was mean and scary and owned the express lanes so she'd never have to take a huge order out to someone's car. There were rules and training periods and God help you if you broke the eggs. But if you got through your first few bagger weeks alive, you could make some serious money (and possibly Toni's affection!).
There were lots of baggers and we all took turns. When we weren't bagging we were lounging unattractively on plastic chairs at the back of the commissary and counting our tips. When it was our turn we hoped for a big family because that meant a double cart to haul out to the parking lot. And everyone knew double carts commanded Super Huge Tips. It helped that nearly everybody knew everybody. Especially if you were a high school kid bagging for a family with kids. Chances are they knew you or your family and yay for having parents who taught elementary school kids because THOSE families knew you even better. Tipping wasn't necessarily for a job well done, but for how much work it was to bag your 487 items and how far away you parked, in addition to whether or not the person buying the groceries knew their bagger. But we were trained by Toni and BY GOD we knew how to bag groceries. Bagging was long, boring and occasionally hard work and we were pathetic high school kids with no other options. I used to be able to tell you how much I could make in an afternoon, or what my highest take was, but I forget now. And it probably would sound like nothing because hello, over ten years ago, but it was big money for us.
All of that to say: I KNOW HOW TO BAG GROCERIES.
For the most part, I give the nice people at Safeway a break. They don't work for tips. I'm not even allowed to tip them I say "Yes, I would like some help out, thank you!" They are so bored they WANT to take your groceries outside. (I found this out when one of my numerous pharmacist friends worked at stint at the grocery store and passed on this helpful information. And when you have a kiddo in the grocery cart, you ALWAYS want help outside.) But perhaps if they did take tips they'd do a mite better job.
There are a few things you should be as a Grocery Store Bagger Person. You should be fast. You should be nimble. You should bag cold things with cold things and hot things with hot things and poisonous things by themselves. You should not make a bag too heavy to carry. You should be aware of eggs and bread and bag them safely. I even do my best to help my Grocery Store Bagger Person out, by grouping like things together on the conveyor belt. Yes, this may be due to my OCD about such things, but I'd like to think I'm doing them a favor.
Occasionally you get a great bagger and most of the time you get a decent bagger who is just trying to pack a lot into one bag, or puts one cold thing in every bag. But sometimes you get the Grocery Store Bagger Person I had yesterday and then you consider going on a Murderous Rampage.
He started out nice enough, although, COOL IT WITH THE QUESTIONS, Grocery Store Bagger! Yes, I found everything I needed! Yes, this will be all! Yes, I DID enjoy the weather today, thank you! Everything but the most important question: paper or plastic, which he totally did not ask me. But whatever.
When he was loading my bags back into my cart I noticed they were a little, uh, rounded. As in, things may be falling out. But I said thank you and dragged the cart to my car (I was baby-less! Whee!) and started the process of loading up the trunk. Whereupon I saw that one loaf of bread was buried underneath ten jars of baby food. Another loaf of bread was sitting under a jar of applesauce. The eggs were sideways and packed along side more jars of baby food and a bottle of balsamic vinegar. The grapes were perched on top of a pile of small boxes, about to bust out of their plastic bag, and the bananas were jammed between a box of cereal and a pint of ice cream.
I pulled out one loaf of bread, squashed and flattened beyond recognition. I SWEAR. If I hadn't been so exhausted (we'd walked down to the lake and taken the baby to the baby swings and limped all the way home and I WAS SO FREAKING TIRED) I would have marched into the store swinging that loaf of bread above my head and hollering for the bagger, the checker, the manager and everyone who thinks putting a jar of applesauce on top of a loaf of bread is in any way a marvelous idea.
But I didn't. I went home and bitched to Phillip about the Severe Lack Of Bagging Education going on in America today and ate ice cream for dinner. Because I can. Also, this post is embarrassingly long for being all about GROCERY STORE BAGGING and I think it's time for me to take a shower. Bye!