What's with grocery bagging in America/Canada?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by SpookTheHamster, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    My family and I recently got back from holiday in America and Canada, and one thing I noticed in the shops is how little people seem to have in their bags.

    It might be because that's how the bagger (that's another thing, how come you can't pack your own stuff?) packs them, or some other reason. But over here I notice that people generally fill bags until they're almost breaking, especially myself. In America, people would often have loads of bags, each with few things in. It makes it a lot of hassle in extra trips to and from the car, and a lot of waste bags.

    I would stop the bagging guy from packing, just so I could use a sensible amount of bags.
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    It's because our bags are so cheap that they'll break if we try and put anything more in them! :D

    ...but at least our bags are free. ;) :p
  3. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    It is either the grocery stores fault, or the bagger is bad at his job. When I used to work for a grocery store, even though I was the janitor, I had to bag on occasion. I was told not to put more than 5 items in a bag. It was a complete waste of bags.

    Or the bagger is bad. Like the other day I went shopping, and when I got to my car I found out the bagger put the kool-aid packets in their own bag. 3 little playing card size things into their own bag.

    I want some canvas bags, but I don't know where to get any.
  4. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    People over here usually whine and moan if you put too much in one bag, they like their bags to be nice and light so that they can carry them (people are fat and/or weak over here). Baggers over here suck anyway, I hate it when they put my meat in with my vegetables in with my eggs, how dumb can you be?
  5. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    What's with the grocery bagging in the UK?!

    Oh my god how you may not want to get me started on the crap ways the british grocery store system is. I ABHOR packing my groceries. I may not abhor it nearly as much if there was a decent effing place and way to do so. You have to stand there being rushed trying to separate the ungodly sticky bags so you can pack in your stuff while the bag you just took ages to open collapses in your hands as you awkwardly pack your stuff. meanwhile, that uneven surface you pack on gets more and more crowded. Then halfway through "that will be £95 please." <commence struggle with groceries> It is the most uncivilized BS thing. I can't understand why this is. It backs up the queue severely and is such a pain in the arse.

    Lets not forget the crap you deal with just in the aisles. Can people not GTF out of the way? ever? Why are the car parks always uneven so your trolley drifts at a racing pace away from you and into the mercedes beside you... which is also parked far too close due to ridiculously small parking spaces.

    UGH, the whole thing. crap crap crap crap CRAP!

    This is one of those little things that makes me homesick. There's only a few and this is near the top of the list.

    </gripe> :eek:
  6. SpookTheHamster thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    I can only think of 2 shops that charge for plastic bags. Most shops give plastic bags away free, but offer a more durable plastic or canvas bag for a small fee. Tesco even rewards you with Clubcard (loyalty card) points for reusing old bags.

    To be honest, I think you just suck at shopping.

    edit: Thanks Devilot. I realised my mistake just as I clicked submit.
  7. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    (this made me "LOL" by the way)

    That may be true but it doesn't make the shopping ways here any less sucky.
  8. discodave macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2007
    1. Try a new supermarket. In my many many years on this planet, all of which have been in the UK, I have never had a similar experience (with the bagging I mean).

    2. Don't use the supermarket bags, purchase a few bags for life and recycle!

    3. If the checkout assistant doesn't give you enough time, just tell them so. They'll hold back from putting the next customers items through until you're finished.

    4. I agree with the car parks - far too small spaces and far too many disabled spaces. Really, how many disabled people are there? I'm not being mean. I completely understand and accept that the spaces are there for good reason, and I would never use one. But it is for this reason that I think there are too many.
  9. joepunk macrumors 68030


    Aug 5, 2004
    a profane existence
    My father and I go to Trader Joe's everyother day it seems to purchase a few goodies and get free snacks/coffee/juice. If we forget to bring our own bag and forget to tell the cashier that we don't need a bag, well you guessed it, the cashier gets a new bag for like 3 things that anyone can carryout on their own.
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    I hate it when I get 6 bags and yet bought only 10 items, none of which weigh more than a pound, so this spring in order to do my bit for Gaia, I decided that driving to the grocery store had to end. So, I now go 2x a week, on my bicycle with a backpack and most importantly a LIST.

    It's great, I buy less, I get some exercise, my ice cream consumption has plummeted (the store is too far away from home and in 100 degree heat, well, you get the picture) and I either get a few pennies back or get an entry ticket at Trader Joe's for their weekly drawing.

    Here in California, a law just came into effect where grocery stores must provide plastic bag recycling. We'll see if that lowers the number of bags they use. I doubt it though.
  11. mattscott306 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2007
    I think in the US there is some legal ratio of handicap spaces to regular spaces that they have to abide by. Perhaps it's the same over in the UK?
  12. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    May 15, 2007
    I'm where I need to be
    I notice that when I doing some grocery shopping in Iceland, I'll have quite a few items and the cashier will ask me if I want a bag, like maybe I keep them in my pocket for just such occations.. :p And they charge a few kronurs for them even :rolleyes: In the end, I have to bag the stuff myself though, so I can buy as many bags as I want :p
  13. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    can we just sidetrack this thread to complain about how bad baggers are? Like when I separate my groceries so that the bagger gets all the frozen food first, then refrigerated, then warm, and they some how manage to mix warm, cold, and frozen in every bag?
  14. mattscott306 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2007
    Thats not as big of a deal as them mixing something soft and something hard together. Having your chips ruined by some dipstick putting them in with something thats likely to crush the chips like a half gallon of milk or whatnot.

    Simple solution? Self-checkout, unless you get stuck behind some moron that can't use it properly and has to have an employee called out to help them.
  15. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    A while back, our local supermarket started asking if you'd like help with packing your shopping, and if you do (although I haven't wanted any myself, as I hate people packing my shopping for me) they ring for a little chap to come along and do his thing with the bags. Personally, I'm always interested to see how little shopping you can have and still be asked if you need any help – my personal best is three small items.

    Don't even get me started on what happens on a weekend though – there's normally some junior sports team doing the packing, the idea being that you then give them some change to go towards some new kits or similar. They without exception manage to crush or break something. Even worse, I was once tricked into giving a Pound to an under-16's Rugby League team. :eek:

    And that's the reason we do it – it encourages queuing, which we love. :)
  16. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Grocery bagging in the US is a huge joke...massive waste of bags and the baggers are just about the least skilled people on the planet at properly combining items in the bags, or properly layering the bags.

    It requires a loud and firm "NO I don't need a bag" to get people to stop from putting your food in a crappy 1 use plastic bag. But it suits America well, right? Disposable items that reduce heavy lifting. ;)
  17. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    There still is the small mom and pop type store, or co-ops that still bag your stuff for you, but the big chain grocers can not be bothered with something as insignificant as the customer, "so bag it your self, we're not here to serve you or anything!"

    I go to a co-op down the street were they bag for you. It's nice and the bags are packed full but not too full were carrying them to your car hurts.
  18. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    In Hell
    What are you people talking about?

    I mean are you telling me supermarkets actually employ people just to pack plastic shopping bags!

    Why doesn't the person who scans the groceries just pack them as they scan them?
  19. mattscott306 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2007
    yeah, they do employee people to do that job.
    Why don't the scanners pack the bags? Because it would take too much time. America is all about doing things fast (Except for driving...)
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Haha, I remember that. You pack your own stuff, but the opening of the bag is so inseparable! The worst thing is that if you pay the cashier, the cashier will move on to the next customer, and you're just standing there, trying to open a bag! It's quite embarrassing.

    Here's a trick: When I couldn't open a bag, I would put my mouth on where the opening should be, and just blow and force air into the bag. The bag would open up very nicely. :)

    The only saving grace of Sainsbury (and Tescos, Waitrose, etc) is the easy access to cheap wine while you're grocery shopping. May as well buy everything at once. ;)
  21. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    In Hell
    But it doesn't take much longer for the person scanning to put an item in a bag as opposed to on a conveyor belt, they're still only putting it down.

    It's way better to just open another checkout. 2 people scanning and packing 2 checkout lines would get through more customers than 1 person packing packing and another bagging 1 line of people. Plus then customers line up in shorter lines so they have a better checkout experience and don't feel like they're in a long line. Customers hate waiting in long lines.

    How do these supermarkets make any money, they must be in areas with zero competition.
  22. mattscott306 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2007
    Not really, if the store isn't really busy there's normally one kid that walks down the aisles and helps out in the larger lines. But if it is busy there's more kids that are there to help pack. Normally your packers are minimum wage young kids, or people with mental disabilities. So the stores don't really lose much money on them.

    And it does take quite some time longer if the scanner is bagging as well, because it's not just a matter of putting things down, when they scan things they don't really have to pick them up, they just slide them on over.
  23. echeck macrumors 68000


    Apr 20, 2004
    Boise, Idaho
    I much prefer packing my own grocery bags, and the large warehouse grocery store I go to allows just that. So your rant doesn't apply to me. :)

    The scanners at Wal-Mart do indeed pack the bags as well as scan. The bag rack is on a carousel and the scanner just rotates around to new bags and the customer puts the bags back in the cart when they rotate around to them.

    This is all fairly efficient, except for the fact that around here Wal-Mart is the worst offender for putting only one or two items in a bag.
  24. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Here in San Francisco, a new law was just passed outlawing plastic bags at supermarkets and drugstores...supposed to go into effect by the end of the year. Stores will have to use compostable bags made of materials like corn starch or recycled paper.

    They considered imposing a 17-cent tax on each bag a couple of years ago, but decided to go straight to a ban. They've also banned styrofoam containers from takeout restaurants.

    Apparently San Francisco residents go through 180 million plastic bags per year...that's about 230 for every person.
  25. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    This, of course, will help enormously when people throw the bags into large plastic garbage bags, which then end up in landfills...

    However, I suppose it'd help with bags that are left to blow around in the streets. However, at least here in Andover, MA, I've never seen a renegade grocery bag.

    Still, if it causes people to bring their own bags, I think it's a very good thing.

    Edit: those 180 million bags, at about 6g each (I just weighed 5 here), amount to almost 1200 tons of plastic per year. For San Francisco alone. :eek:

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