Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bag It

Here’s a totally random thing to complain about, but it just gets me: why do the checkout people at the big grocery stores insist on double-bagging my plastic bags?

Even when my purchase is relatively light—a bag of chips, some crackers, and a pint of ice cream—they routinely lift the bag of items from the metal frame that holds it for loading and place it in a second bag, trained by management, apparently, to do so as a gesture of “customer-focused service” when, ironically, it drives this customer, at least, somewhat batty.

Environmental issues aside, the bag-in-a-bag thing seems like the worst sort of covering-your-assism. Just because once in a long while someone carrying half a dozen pineapples and some scissors in a bag tears it and drops their purchases on the ground, the rest of us have to put up with a completely unnecessary piece of plastic on our everyday shopping trips.

I usually ask the checkout people to refrain from double-bagging my groceries but often as not, they can’t help themselves. And I know they’re doing it to be thoughtful, so I feel like a curmudgeon when I repeat myself; consequently, I tend to just let it go.

Even worse is when they double-bag something that doesn’t even need to be bagged in the first place. Today, at QFC, I ended up with a double-bagged six-pack of beer and a jug of orange juice that comes with a handle inside two-bags, as well.

Because double-bagging is meant to be a sign of “excellence” in the grocery industry, I fear an arms race of sort may be in the offing. Soon, QFC will triple-bag; Safeway will counter with quadruple-bagging, and so on. The razor I use has five blades; why assume bagging won’t escalate to this level, too?

Sometimes I bring my own bags, but this doesn’t seem to help; the checkout people routinely take my mine and put them inside a fresh one, anyway.


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