Don’t you hate it when you choose a line at the grocery store because you think it will get you checked out the fastest and then it turns out to be the slowest in the end. This happened to me the other day. The family in front of me was writing a three hundred and something dollar check and wanted cash back on top of that. The clerk had to call the supervisor over to approve the transaction. It was really no problem having to wait, even though it took a few minutes. What really made it seem like forever were the three goofball grocery baggers standing around flirting with the clerk for my line. I looked over at the lane next to me (where at this point, I wish I were standing) and the clerk was scanning and sliding groceries to her sacker faster than he could bag them and the three numbskulls at the receiving end of my lane were laughing at his plight. Then it hit me. Why in the world do they even keep that position at the smaller grocery stores?
I really try to look at both sides of arguments. (I had time to go over it in my head, anyway, just standing there.) So this is what I came up with.
#1: Originally, I think the grocery baggers were also available to help customers to their cars with their purchases. That’s very chivalrous, but when was the last time you saw someone do that? I’ve seen it before, but not for a long time, that’s for sure. Think about it. Why do supermarkets have the cart holders out in the middle of the parking lot? So that when you take your groceries out to your car, you can just park the cart in that cart-catcher. Duh. There’s really no need for the sackers. For example, Target and Walmart don’t have them. (Probably because they realize it’s a luxury better left to memory.) So…
#2: Perhaps grocery baggers help maintain the personal service atmosphere of the not-so-super-duper stores. Hmm. Is it working? Nah. Not that day. The three kids bagging groceries in my lane were just happy getting paid to stand so close to the pretty clerk and ask her about her favorite movies. I was too lost in their immaturity to appreciate the nostalgic nobility of their positions. Well, then. What is it? Why do stores keep them?
#3: There is a disillusion that having one person ring up items and another bagging them is quicker than just having a single employee performing both tasks. Wrong again. (Think Target and Walmart.) How do bigger stores keep prices low? No baggers! (There’s more to it than that, but those paychecks for all those pizza faces add up!)
There’s more to argue, but all points are about as moot as the argument itself. Bottom line is, grocery sackers tend to be more of a distraction than a positive discernable difference in productivity or a shopping experience enhancement. You do have to appreciate job creation in a bad economy, but I think (and I’m no pro) that if there were three less baggers and three more cashiers that day, I would have gotten out of there much quicker. Just a thought.