Scan, Beep, and Bag

cars, food, Mequon, shopping, trucks & motorcycles

Two ninety-nine     Beep

One forty-nine       Beep

Six eighty-nine      Beep
Please remove unauthorized item from the bagging area.

What the heck?

Is some computer generated female voice yelling at me?  How dare she tell me that I cannot even put my purse down to find my wallet that has inevitably sunk to the bottom of my purse.  I need to put the purse down to get the wallet, to pay for the “authorized” items that are in the bagging area.

Like I said, what the heck?

Please understand that I have nothing against grocery baggers and cashiers.  They are hard working people supporting a family and paying for school; very admirable.  I do have to tell you that I am not really interested in making a career move to become a grocery store bagger or cashier.  But sadly, I think we are all headed down this career path.

My grocery store of choice is the one in Mequon with the sturdy red bags; heavy duty bags that can be re-used.  You know, the store with the great produce, beautiful meats, and specialty brands.  But more importantly, they have friendly checkout people who scan and bag my groceries.   Furthermore, they even offer to wheel out the shopping cart and put the groceries in my car.

When I do need to pick up something in a hurry, I do stay closer to home.  I go to a store, which is a part of a large grocery store chain in Milwaukee.   You know, the one that began as a place that looked more like a warehouse than a grocery store, the one that now has upscaled to call some of their stores “markets”.  I don’t care what they call themselves or how much they upscale; the fact is, they are not a “red bag” store.  Why?

It’s more than the fact that they have flimsy white bags; bags that when more than a couple of items are put in, break.   At best, these flimsy bags can be called “@#$%”, which frankly is what their limited re-use is; to pick up after my dog.   That is, if the flimsy white plastic is not punctured.

But it’s more than just the bags.  It started years ago, when I went to a “white bag” store and found that I had to bag my own groceries.  You mean to tell me that they cannot even have someone bag them for me?  Let’s see, while I’m unloading the cart, I’m also supposed to be on the other end, bagging the items.  Okay, this works if Silverback Gorilla is at one end and I’m at the other but what if I’m there by myself?  Lucky I am, if I do get some snarly person to help bag.  Otherwise, I wind up bouncing back and forth – unload and bag, unload and bag; well you get it.  Is this the best system?  Probably not.  Hire baggers!  Oh yes, and make sure they are friendly, like at the “red bag” store.

Recently, shoppers at the “white bag” store have begun to move up in the hierarchy of grocery store employees.   Not only do we now get to bag our own groceries, we now have the privilege of scanning them too.   Oh sure, the “white bag” store still has traditional cashiers but since they took out some checkout lanes to make room for self-checkout, the “real” checkout lane lines are very long.  Standing there with four or five items, I’m not about to wait for three people ahead of me with carts full of groceries to check out.  For a quick exit, I’m forced to use the self-checkout.

I scan my items under the watchful eyes of employees who man the self-checkout area.  If this is a cost savings issue for the grocery store, frankly, I’m scratching my head in wonderment.  They are paying people to stand around to make sure that there are no “unauthorized” items in the bagging area (i.e. making sure that I pay for everything) but these same people could be actually scanning my groceries in a traditional checkout lane.  In reality, we are paying the salaries of people to stand around and watch us do their jobs!  Since I am doing their job, where is my discount on groceries?

Occasionally, convenience forces me to still patronize the “white bag” store.  Just remind me to ask for the employee discount when I scan and bag my items.      

“Red bag” store, you are still my favorite.  Please don’t change your bags and please don’t install those checkout devices that yell at me for putting my purse in the bagging area.

“White bag” store - beep this!

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