Monday, November 8, 2010

New Yorkers Know How to Bag Groceries

Everybody has a story like this:

The bagger at the grocery store put four cans of black beans on top of your loaf of bread. Or bruised your apples with a jar of applesauce. Or broke an egg with a clumsily placed ice cream carton.

I've never had that happen in New York, which has led me to a theory. New York City simply breeds better baggers.

My better bagger theory continues. They're bred out of necessity.

In Ohio, upstate New York or anywhere that customers commonly have a set of wheels at their disposal, groceries go from cart to trunk to grocery table. The handles on those cheap plastic baggies are used for a minute or two at most. Even if the black beans are bagged with the bread, you can just rearrange it in the car.

No such luxury in New York City. Those bags have to hold up to a 10 minute walk. Baggers here have it down to a science. The bags are never so full that they rip on the trip home. And just as important, they're never too empty. It's annoying to loop six handles through each hand when I leave the grocery store and then again after I sit them down on the floor to unlock the apartment door. Each bag better have in it more than just a stick of butter.

The expertise of New York baggers came home to me a couple of months ago. I stopped at Rite Aid to pick up a bale of toilet paper. It was so big and soft that it would have been right at home in a hayride.The bale allows me to go a long time between purchases, but it's generally really annoying to carry home. This time, however, the bagger stuffed it into a standard plastic bag while rolling a second plastic bag into a snake. She tied each end of the snake to the handles of the bag holding the toilet paper, thereby fashioning another handle for the bag. Kind of like a big toilet-paper-only purse.

I actually complimented her on her bagging skills.

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