24: People who don’t help the cashier bag their groceries

March 4, 2010

God, I fucking hate people who don’t help the cashier bag their groceries.

Now, in theory this only applies to people shopping in big cities. Many grocery stores in suburban areas have baggers, those oh-so-cheery pimply teenagers who are just waiting to go on cart duty so they can get the fuck outside and sneak a cigarette or lightly dent the fender of that bitch’s Lexus.

But I live in Queens, so I’m talking about your Key Foods and your Associated Markets and – for you rich assholes with jobs who can afford to live in Manhattan – your Gristedes … es. These places have a dozen lines, any six of which might actually be open at once, manned by high schoolers or elderly Iranian women. The conveyor belts are all of two feet long (and they all have that separator stick to mock you, as if you could fit your food on that rubberized postage stamp while the person ahead of you still has that family-sized package of chicken quarters on it), and the stainless steel area next to the plastic bags where the groceries accumulate after being scanned can comfortably handle a box of cereal, two yogurts and a thing of Ziploc bags.

Mainly, though, there are no baggers.

Short tangent: yes, there is the self-checkout automaton area. In my grocery store, one of these four always – ALWAYS – has a plastic bag over it, meaning it is temprorarily out of order. You can’t go there if you have beer, because the high school kid with the little card is talking to his buddy 20 feet away. And if you want to try to save the planet and use a canvas bag, you have to do an Indiana Jones switch to put it on the sensor with a product in it so that it doesn’t say, in that creepily stern subway-like female voice, “the weight is incorrect. Please remove the last item.” It’s an eighth of an ounce, you fucking whore! What are you, a drug dealer? Goddamn self-checkout. Way to shed costs, grocery stores.

But I digress. Anyways, when you’re in one of these stores, there will inevitably be long lines. It is my simple theory that these lines would invariably be shorter if people stopped being condescending pricks and just helped out.

The other day I was in line behind a woman with a cart about half full. She was standing behind her cart, which takes up the entire space between the register you’re at and the one next to you. Also, there’s only a small aisle at the end of the registers for people to walk through toward the exits. So, this lady unloads her cart, watches the cashier scan everything, watches the cashier bag everything, then hands the cashier her EBT card, which took more swiping/signing than a regular credit/debit card (I don’t know why; I had never seen somebody use one before). It felt like this process took five whole minutes. It might’ve been longer.

What could she have done? 1) Unload the cart. 2) Push cart out to end aisle, get on the other side of it, push it back into the line in front of me. 3) Help bag groceries. 4) Give cashier the card once she’s done scanning everything. 5) Finish bagging groceries. 6) Sign any necessary papers/receipts. (And if you choose debit over credit, simply step back for a second and enter your PIN. Five. Fucking. Seconds.)

I’m confident this would’ve cut the time in half. The best part is, when I walked into the store, I remembered seeing an elderly woman sitting in a wheelchair in the produce section. After I had paid and was walking out – where I had entered, mind you – the lady in front of me was talking to said elderly woman, who appeared to be her mother.

So, to recap: a woman on welfare thought it was beneath her to help a cashier making probably barely above minimum wage bag the groceries she just fucking bought, even when doing so would’ve meant less time her elderly mother spent alone, in produce, staring at the bananas and an endcap of assorted nuts and fruit juices.

And if you think it’s solely the cashier’s job to bag all of your groceries, you are a heartless fucking prick and you’d want to shoot someone in the mouth if you were a cashier and they stood there and watched you bag their groceries instead of helping you, all the while looking down at you like you were a child molester cleaning public toilets.

Photo courtesy of the Denver Post and an example of someone not likely to help bag their own groceries