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.
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.