No. I Won’t Be Taking Medical Advice From My Neighborhood Grocery Store Bagger, Thank You Very Much.

I love my beloved Publix store. I love their BOGOs. I love their produce. I love their Publix brand products. I love their employment policy and how they employ the disabled. I love the cashiers and most of the baggers.

Ok. Make that…

All of the baggers, except one.

I don’t dislike him. I don’t dislike how he bags my groceries.

I dislike his small talk.

I’m sure his personal challenge involves social skills. I commend Publix for putting him in a social position so he can work on these skills. But he irks me, all the same.

“I don’t know what this is but I find that Melatonin 2.5 milligrams works best for me when I need to get to sleep,” he says, holding up my box of natural sleep-aid for the world to see.

I know. Having difficulty sleeping is not a tragic secret never to be revealed. But my kid was standing right there. Maybe I don’t want my kid to know I’m popping pills to sleep. And maybe I don’t want to take medical advice from my neighborhood grocery bagger.

“Did you know this is loaded with hydrogenated oils,” he lectures, holding up my can of Reddi-Whip (and it doesn’t, by the way) “Hydrogenated oils are really bad for you.”

“Do you really like this?” He’s holding my box of Kashi cereal. “I think it tastes like twigs.”

“My dog hates these things.” He’s holding my package of Pedigree Jumbones. “You should try rawhides. They last longer.”

Ahhh, no. Rawhides aren’t the best thing for dogs. But I keep my mouth shut. I remember what happened last time.

We were walking to my car. He insisted, despite my protests, on loading my groceries. (At Publix, they’re all trained to push your cart to the car.)

“What a beautiful, sunny day,” I comment. It’s an innocuous statement. It’s sunny. It’s warm. I figured it was a safe statement.


He then goes into a tirade about our drought (this was a few summers ago) and the adverse effect it’s having on our environment and how people continue to waste water and how the fines should be steeper and on and on and on.

And on.

Yes. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut with this particular bagger.

And I firmly, very firmly, grasp the shopping cart when he insists on taking my bags to the car.



Filed under All In A Day's Work, Lessons Learned

13 responses to “No. I Won’t Be Taking Medical Advice From My Neighborhood Grocery Store Bagger, Thank You Very Much.

  1. Sounds like an excellent time to rudely multitask by talking to someone (anyone) on your cell phone – no wait … he might insert comments in your conversation … how about earbuds and turning your ipod music up high?

  2. It’s a difficult one isn’t it, are you rude and insensitive by avoiding someone who may have their own unique challenges to face or is it just survival to avoid someone who really pushes your buttons?! (I really would not won’t my shopping analysed in public, many thanks) Hehe. Maybe find a different queue at least then you can continue to think supportive, charitable thoughts from a distance. 😉

  3. I don’t mind small talk, but Jesus, don’t use what I have in my cart as commentary! I’d be tempted to load up my cart with Fleet enemas and Depends undergarments just to shut him up!

  4. I love Publix but unfortunately we don’t have one. We do, however have PLENTY of cashiers and baggers who feel obliged to engage in endless chatter. It’s a shame that most of them cannot talk and bag at the same time. I have been known to walk around the counter and start helping them bag my groceries and they still do not get the message. And, yes, many of them comment on my grocery choices. Lord help me if I ever need to buy Depends!

  5. Yeah, the public is tough some times. One reason I like my Giant so much is just because of their willingness to hire those who aren’t just unable to filter well or have other “issues”. But I do know how exsaperating it can be too. Hope your next visit is more pleasant.

  6. I know a chatty cashier at my local supermarket. Sometimes I just want to get in, get my groceries and get to the car… I don’t want to discuss the contents of my cart. So get this…

  7. It would drive me crazy. I’m awful…I don’t chat with my restaurant server beyond the usual pleasantries and I don’t want comments on what is in my grocery cart. Publix should help him understand that many people don’t appreciate those types of comments–it might help him with his job and social skills.

  8. I still remember a cashier from several years ago who, after checking many store brand items from my cart came across some more expensive, not-necessary and very frivolous items, made the comment that she could not understand why people “buy the cheap stuff, and then turn around and spend all this money on stuff they don’t need”. I bit my tongue, but wanted to tell her I bought the cheap stuff so I could afford to buy the fun stuff. Because every life needs some fun stuff.

  9. One of my pet peeves are cashiers and bag personnel that complain about their job, their shift, their manager etc while they’re working on my order. But now I guess I’m glad they discuss that rather than my order! My grocery store also hires people with issues to bag…so I try to be patient. I’m just glad I don’t have to be their manager. Still, it sounds as though your guy hasn’t actually learned how to speak appropriately, even after being in the public for many years. I might talk to the manager.

  10. Oh jeez. That would drive me nuts too. Is it possible to just avoid him in the checkout? Or does he move over to where you are when he sees you? I tend to try and use the self-checkout my local grocery has whenever possible just because I hate those checkout lines. *shudder* this guys just sounds awful!

  11. I feel so dirty smiling and nodding when someone is spewing inane, ignorant piffle, but I can’t help it. I have a cashier at our market who tells me about his many, many hours watching the stock market and resulting epiphanies, his childhood associations with the days of the week…on and on. And each time I pretend to care.
    I think parenthood breeds insincere politeness, is what I think.

  12. Allie

    Listen, I work at Publix. We are trained to make conversation with the customer. Granted, we are trained to stick with safe topics (our deals, the weather) but that gets boring. We are also trained to multitask though, I don’t talk to customer’s when their order is starting to build up on me. I also know when to give up if they seem really antisocial:
    Me- How are you today? (smiling and friendly as is the Publix way)
    Customer- (Barely looks up, completely silent.)

    Anyway, I understand where you’re coming from, because he was obviously not making friendly comments. We are definitely not trained to critique someone else’s purchases.
    At the same time, being a bagger, I feel kind of bad for him. Especially if he has a disability.
    Oh well, I’m sorry that your bagger isn’t me 😉 (Just kidding, I’m not that conceited.)

    Well sorry to anyone who reads my pointless response to this.
    Also sorry your experiences at Publix aren’t pleasant, that really bums me out.

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