Wednesday, January 18, 2012

OCD at the Grocery Store

I'll admit to being a little anal retentive about the way I place my groceries on the check-out counter. I put heavy things up first (so they'll go back into the bottom of the cart after they've been bagged), cold things together (so they can be found easily and put away first at home), and toiletry items together (so I can carry them all in one bag to the bathroom). But if the cashier doesn't follow my system, I don't make a fuss about it.

Yesterday's cashier was well past anal retentive and clearly somewhere on the scale of obsessive compulsive disorder. I loved her!

She was adjusting her latex gloves as my items rolled toward her on the belt. She smiled and said, "It isn't that I don't want to touch your groceries; I don't want to touch anybody's." I smiled but didn't comment, and she continued: "People ask me all the time why I wear gloves, and I tell them the real question should be, 'Why doesn't everybody?'"

She looked over my items and began scanning them, one by one, but instead of placing the items in a bag, she set the first half dozen on top of the bag carousel. "Don't worry," she smiled. "I have a plan here." She set a couple more things up there, then picked up the next item, a rectangular-shaped one, larger than the first few, and put it in the bottom of a bag. Only then did she gather up the earlier items and place them strategically around the larger one in the bag. "We don't want those corners poking through the plastic," she explained, placing the now full plastic bag inside another one before handing it to me.

The rest of the process went much the same. Each package of raw meat was wrapped tightly in its own plastic bag to keep it separate from the pre-packaged sausage and lunchmeat that would go with it into another bag. As the cashier carefully placed my low-carb ice cream bars between two bags of pepperjack cheese cubes, she explained that she was separating the cheese bags to insulate the ice cream. The cashier held a small bag of dog treats in her hand for a few seconds while she visually scanned the remaining items for something similar, then, finding nothing, she shrugged her shoulders, smiled ruefully, and put it in the bag with the protein bars.

All my items were double-bagged except for some of the meats, which were triple-bagged, and everything was so organized that it took me only minutes to put it all away at home. Part of me understands that all these plastic bags aren't good for Mother Earth, but if that part is the least bit timid, the rest of me will try to get in this woman's check-out line the next time I go.

7 comments:

  1. as a one-time checker myself, I'm amazed at the way no one seems to care how things get arranged for the trip home!

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  2. I don't personally do all those things, but I like yours and the cashier's sense of order. At the risk of making some sqeamish, I don't have the meat wrapped separately. I eat lots of sushi and rare steak, so I'm not really grossed out by some meats touching others. I do share your concern for the excess usage of plastic bags. Do you have recycling facilities where you are?

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  3. Holly, it seems more people don't care than do these days, regardless of what job they hold. That makes me appreciate the ones who do care even more.

    SDC, I don't really care about having the meat bagged separately, either, although there have been occasions when chicken juices have leaked, and that did gross me out. There are recycling facilities in East Baton Rouge Parish, but not out here where I am.

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  4. I wish every clerk was like that! Especially with the gloves, which I hope get changed often. I like the grocery store I usually go to because you can bag your own groceries, but since another chain took it over, I sometimes have to fight off employees who wander around looking for something to do and want to bag my groceries. I'm like you-I bag according to where they'll be put away. It amazes me how often clerks will put heavy items in a single plastic bag and fill up the bag with other things-as if the goal here is to go by volume, not weight. I have to say "can you please double-bag that?". I wonder how they bag their own groceries. I do use reusable bags but sometimes I run out of those and have to use the plastic bags. (and I use those for poop pickup when I walk Daisy.)

    Another chain uses mentally disabled people as baggers, who seem to do the volume-not-weight thing, so I don't buy a lot of things there because I don't want to have to re-bag a bunch of things in the trunk of the car.
    Janet

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  5. Janet, I have to admit I like the plastic bags because I can hang several of them on my arms and make fewer trips from the car to the house. Also, they allow me to keep at least one hand free to unlock the door. I guess the best thing to do would be to buy reusable shopping bags, but I only shop about once a week, and those bags seem more suitable for people who don't buy so much at one time.

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  6. Oh, I can pack a LOT of stuff into the reusable bags! Especially canned goods, and they're easier to carry than the plastic bags that cut into your arms-I'll load myself down with as many bags as I can so I don't have to make so many trips from the car to the house. Try 'em, you'll like 'em!

    Janet

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  7. I thought of this post on Friday when I came home from the grocery and unloaded the bags, only to find that the clerk had put the tomatoes on the bottom of the bag and a bottle of Arbor Mist had fallen on them. Fortunately the tomatoes were okay. It's too cold out to stand in the parking lot re-packing my bags, but next time I buy tomatoes I'll make sure they're on top.

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