Each week as I visit my local Kroger, I eagerly anticipate my check out experience. I am not sure if the checkers and baggers are trained in the art of conversation with the customers, but I do know that they like to talk to me! Over the years I have been questioned about the contents of my cart (How much milk can one family drink? Is this a month's supply of food?), my appearance (Do you think you are going to have that baby in the store??), my number of precious children (Is this a field trip? Are they all yours?), plus a variety of other topics. Of course after they bag up my week's worth of groceries into two carts, and seeing that I have up to five children in tow, they will ask the final question, "Would you like some help out with that?"
I have a favorite bagger, and I always try to get in his line. He knows that I like my milk and cokes underneath the cart so when we get out to the van, he can put those heavy things on bottom! When they put your milk, potatoes, cokes, etc. inside your cart, and then put the lighter things on top, they tend to want to put the lighter things inside your van first, with the milk on top, smashing it all down. This nice bagger knows my system. He and I always have the same conversation as we approach my van:
Bagger: So, do you like your van?
Me: Yes I do!
Bagger: My mama is wanting a new van. We have a SUV right now. Do you get good gas mileage?
Me: I don't know, but I do know that I have a lot more room in the back than I had in my SUV.
Bagger: So, you really like this van?
Me: Yes, I really like it!
I promise, we have this same conversation every single week!
One week, my bagger was not around when I checked out. I chose a line with another nice looking young man. He was NOT the same as my usual bagger. First of all, he did NOT listen to my kind suggestions about putting the heavy things underneath the cart. I asked him at least 5 times! Finally, I went to the cart, pulled the milk and other things out and placed them underneath the cart myself. He said, "Oh, did you want those things on the bottom?" Not a good sign! Next, as we were walking to the car in the pouring rain (I was juggling the umbrella and Leah and Sam), he overturned my cart! The contents rolled all over the parking lot, in the pouring rain! He just stood there. Finally he righted the cart. I put Leah and Sam in the van while he started putting loose groceries in the cart. I helped him by taking them out of the cart and putting them in bags! Then into the van. He continued picking up the loose groceries and just tossed them into my van! I asked him to please bag them, because I didn't want loose, wet groceries rolling around in the back of my van. The rest of the plastic bags had all blown or washed away. He just stood there, then he said, "The bags are all gone!" I asked him to please go back into the store and get us some new bags! While he did that, I put the milk and other heavy stuff in the bottom of the van.
What a mess!
A few years ago the author of the KONOS curriculum shared a story about her children playing "grocery store". She said they acted just like the grocery store checkers and baggers, right down to their conversation. One of her children asked the other, "What time do you get off?" Mrs. Hulcy said that she then realized that every time she visited her local grocery store, that the bagger or checker would ask each other the same question. Ever since that was brought to my attention, I have listened to my bagger and checker. After they are through questioning me and the contents of my cart, one of them will inevitably ask the other, "What time are you getting off today?" Or, "When do you go on break?" Too funny! It cracks me up every time!
I am off to the grocery store this morning......it looks like rain, so I hope my regular bagger is working today!