A Grocery Store Riddle


What do tea bags…body wash…tomato soup…and ground beef have in common?

Don’t know?

Well…how about…carrots…and a loaf of bread?

Don’t know that one either?

Try…Q-Tips…canned goods…and fresh produce.

Give up?

Well…unfortunately…I don’t have the answers.

You’ll have to drive to the Kroger in Jackson and ask the bagger in lane 8…’cause those groupings of items apparently scream to him, “BAG US TOGETHER…COMMON SENSE BE DAMNED!”

Grrrrr…there’s nothing like ground beef leaking all over your tea bags and body wash…or fresh produce bruised and pummeled by canned good…or a loaf of whole wheat bread that cost $3.49 (WTF is THAT about for bread?) that now has a lovely “carrot contour” to the top.

The most irritating part is that, as I emptied my cart, I took the time to group like items…items I wanted put in the same bags (like all frozen foods…not the daring frozen pea/toilet paper combo bagger guy thought up).

Just thought I’d share.

shakes fist at the world


38 Responses to “A Grocery Store Riddle”

  1. Shrewspeaks Says:

    HA! …I pre-group too. Once, a bagger at our Stop~N~Shop…did to me what your Kroger Lane 8 did to you. I immediately took one look at the bags and demanded the manager. Honestly, hard earned cash is spent on bread and the purchase should be treated with respect.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Shelley, I’m new to posting at your site but I’ve been a lurker for weeks now. I’ve been wanting to comment but was intimidated by the “choose an identity” options below! We’ll see if this works.

    Just have to say a big AMEN to this post. As a single girl who has to carry bags up 3 flights of stairs, I always take time to group my items just like I want them bagged. I also have to tell them that it’s ok to put a pack of gum with a loaf of bread…no need for another bag to fool with. I find that I’m so consumed with keeping an eye on how the guy/girl is bagging my stuff, that I don’t even know that it’s time to pull out my debit card and swipe. 🙂
    Just today, I had to take a box of 4 lightbulbs (what does that weigh? .02oz?) and put them in the bag with my bread, give that bag back to the guy…then remove the bananas he had placed on top of my Sister Shubert rolls. Just unreal.

    Anyway, I love your blog. Love your humor. Love your dog. And I am a Mississippi girl too…living in Nashvegas now. Thanks for the laughs you provide.

  3. shelley Says:

    Where ARE you? Are you posting comments from the plane?


    Honestly…I didn’t watch him bag because I was talking to the folks behind me in line. I had forgotten my Kroger card and asked if I could use theirs. When I left, the bagger was sooooo sweet. He smiled and told me to have a nice day…I think he was just not thinking. I probably wouldn’t have complained about it even if I had seen him bag ’em wrong…because he was so sweet.

    I didn’t realize everything was so screwy until I got home and was putting everything away.

  4. shelley Says:

    Hey Nashvegas! So nice to have another Mississippi girl join the fun!

    I used to live on the second floor of an apartment building…so I feel ya about strategic packing.

    You’re good to keep a watch on the bagger…I usually can’t keep my trap shut…talking to the people around me or the clerk…that I’m usually oblivious to the fact that someone is putting my milk on top of my bread and a bar of soap in with an unwrapped onion…or some such crazy combo.

    I’m glad you shared! I don’t know if you meant to log in as Anonymous…but if not…e-mail me at monkbottalk@gmail.com and I’ll send you a little “guide to posting” e-mail that has helped others.


  5. Anonymous Says:

    HAHA! Well, I chose Anonymous because it seemed the lesser of the three evils. I’m not a “google/blogger” and was afraid “other” would mean another window would pop up and I would have to choose from a long list of “others”. So I took the easy route. I will email you. I want to send you a doggy pic anyway. Thanks for the welcome.

  6. shelley Says:

    Okay, Nashvegas…I’ll be watching for your e-mail.

    I was wanting to post the pet pics tomorrow (but i haven’t fully decided)…so if you can…send me your little cutie tonight. 😉


  7. Quossum Says:

    My high school boyfriend, “the albino” or “the pink sponge” as we called him, was a bagger at some grocery store and won some bagging contest and got to go compete in a regional bagging contest in San Antonio.

    They were judged not only on speed of bagging, but proper bagging practices, too–not making the bags too heavy, placing appropriate items together, that sort of thing.

    *sigh* What are they teaching the baggers these days? Apparently nothing!!!


  8. shelley Says:

    Q…are you SERIOUS!!!

    A contest for baggers?

    That HAD to be before plastic bags.

    I think the plastic bag is evil.

  9. TKls2myhrt Says:

    I guarantee you that if you write a reasonable letter to the grocery store with a copy of your receipt, you would be refunded for part or all of your affected purchases. Store owners and managers do not like unhappy customers. At the grocery stores around here, the baggers have a weeklong training, according to my son who’s of that age (of baggers).

    I always ask for paper. Plastic bags for groceries was a dumb invention.

  10. Rowan Says:

    Baggers? Hmm…this a concept I’ve been unfamiliar with, until very recently. We have always had to struggle with our own bagging in the UK, with no offer of help from the checkout personage who rushes the stuff through and watches critically as it piles up at the other end of the conveyor-belt. Have been involved in many frantic packing sessions, back of neck prickling with anxiety, heart-rate increasing, spying the person behind me with the huge trolley-full of stuff, toe-tapping with badly-concealed ill-humour. Ooorgh!

    I am admitting to severe packing anxiety, adding to my ever-present low-rise anxiety, if I am wearing those awful low-rise jeans that seem to be omnipresent just now…can’t seem to get a normal pair anymore. My heart sinks when I see “new fit” labels stuck to my usual brand…) Anyway, have spent many a tense hour hauling at the waistband of those daft jeans which are heading south, giving myself a wedgie in the process, while shoving any old thing into the plastic bags, just to get them packed and out of the way!

    Just recently, in the last year or so, management in the large supermarket chains seem to have gone in for a little “keep the customer happy” training, but it is mostly falling short of making the proper impact. I find myself in the queue with my autistic son who is screaming and ripping-open the shopping, not understanding he ha to wait until the food is paid-for. My four year-old is asking the checkout guy if he likes Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck best, and discussing which costume she will be wearing at Halloween. I am trying to bag the stuff,kind of desperately, and catch the salesperson’s eye.

    “Um, would you like help to pack?” they will now reply, somewhat insinuatingly, and with a sub-text which plainly states that being helped is really a bit of a measure of defeat, an announcement of some sort of lack of moral fibre. The judgemental be-acneyed teenage boy at the till is winking at a girl colleague three checkouts down, and shouting something inane about how much he drank at a party, which he is hoping will impress her. Being brought into reality – that he is here to actually help the customers, is a dimension entirely new to him, and he is approaching the portal between the two worlds with trepidation. “Step through the worm-hole, laddie”, I hiss, but he remains a vague, tenuous presence, making feeble gestures towards putting the odd passing item into a seperate bag, sighing profusedly, attempting to answer my daughter’s persistent questions, and hauling reams of plastic bags from the hanger to throw at me, as a sign I am one of the unworthy, who needs to work for myself and grow into one of life’s productive do-ers. Sigh.

    I think your grocery stores sound quite civilised, compared to ours, though the baggers clearly have their shortcomings. There needs to be a mass shipping of UK teenage checkout-operators over to the people arranging the bagging contest, described so amusingly by Q. Fab!

  11. Rowan Says:

    Just a quick note of clarification, on my part – do you have actual people waiting to bag the stuff, or is it the checkout operator who helps out, as here? if it is the former, I am emigrating. Anyone know of a school looking for an enthusiastic Eglish teacher? 😀

  12. Rowan Says:

    That should read “English”. Gak! Please excuse the typos. It is very early and I am still myopic (hunts about blindly for glasses.) Have a good Monday, everyone!

  13. Jan Says:

    rowan: We have completely separate people that are hired to do that. They usually get paid less than a cashier. It’s a first job for many people high school aged here. If the baggers are busy, the cashier will bag groceries too and sometimes they help anyway since it gets people through the line quicker.

  14. Claire Says:

    Shelley, LOL at your “shakes fist at the world” line in your post. Reminds me of that episode of the Simpsons where Grampa goes to get his drivers licence renewed. Selma/Patty ends up using the picture of him taken as he shakes his fist at the sky, with the headline “Old Man Yells At Cloud”

    Shelley – you are Grampa Simpson.

    Rock on sistah. Nothing else to contribute so far….

  15. shelley Says:

    I’m torn this morning…

    Should the Official Prize of the Day go to Rowan for her hysterical explanation of how to bag wearing low-rise jeans…or to Claire for comparing me to Grampa Simpson.

    I think I’m gonna have to declare a tie. 😉

    Hilarious, y’all.

  16. claire Says:

    Rowan, Word to your post above. We must share some of the same teenaged, angst-ridden, spotty, disinterested baggers. Maybe there’s an International Pool of Baggers??? Sharing between Scotland/Ireland and Coming Soon to the USA!!

    btw, do you guys have to pay for plastic bags? We have to pay 15c for every bag we use.

  17. shelley Says:

    no we don’t…you know…us wasteful Americans.

    i think we should pay for our bags…that would be BRILLIANT!!!!

  18. claire Says:

    Wow, Shelley – I think I just killed the thread!!!


  19. shelley Says:

    nah…you didn’t kill it.

    i think folks are making their way to the office. 😉

    it’ll pick up in an hour or so.

  20. claire Says:

    Shel – have you been listening to GC radio today? The Ray Charles stuff is feckin’ fantastic. I need to get that album for Christmas.

  21. nolagirl Says:

    I am so glad to hear that I am not the only organizer! I also group things just so on the conveyor belt (which Dwain thinks I am weirdo for, btw), and find that sometimes the bagger is relieved that I have made their job easier. I would be pissed if they screwed up all my hard work! You shake your fist at them, Shelley!

  22. shelley Says:

    Thanks, NOLA…yeah…I’m a conveyer belt categorizer fo shizzle.

    Honestly…it wasnt’ just the bagger…I did notice that the clerk didn’t take stuff off the belt in the order I had put it there.

    I thought to myself…”I guess she has a reason to ring things up in a certain order…why else would she reach across stuff to select random things.”

    Maybe I try too hard to put order in a world that is chaotic.

  23. claire Says:

    nola – don’t encourage her. She’ll start wearing her slippers outside and falling asleep standing up, LOL.

    And yes, I also group things on the conveyor belt. Chilled/frozen stuff together, toiletries/cleaning products together, etc.

    Incidentally, check out the Obsessive/Compulsive thread on the Boogie. (under Etc.)

    Ya think you’re weird???

  24. Squeebee Says:

    Well I guess we have the best (?) of both worlds here in Western Canada. Most grocery stores here have baggers, and for the most part they are pretty competent.

    We do, however have a particular chain of grocery stores (Real Canadian Superstore, if you must know) who charge for bags and make you bag your own groceries. Unfortunately, this chain seems to have the lowest prices of all the local chains, so I end up there often. So, Rowan, I feel your pain (minus the autistic son, mind you! ;)). The cold sweats, the anxiety, as you watch the person behind you pile cartloads of groceries on the belt. The cold stare of the cashier as she mentally taps her foot, waiting for you to get the hell out of the way.

    Funny how so many of us pre-grouip our groceries on the belt! Must be a Monkbot thing. 😉

    Completely off topic…I am loving GC radio today! Check it out!

  25. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I’m thinking I must be the weird one here. For the most part, I just pile everything on the conveyor belt thingy anywhichway it lands, and I couldn’t care less how they bag stuff…If my bread gets squished…I just make squished sandwiches. I do get grossed out when meat juice gets on stuff…yuck. Meat juice.

    Mostly, though, I go through the “self” check-out lanes if there is one available…b/c I think it’s fun.

  26. Rowan Says:

    Hey! Love the photo, Shelley, very smouldery. Claire, I am sorry that Ireland is afflicted by a similar plague of boil-ridden, disaffected youths operating the checkouts. Always had an image in my mind of all Irishmen as rather dashing…Liam Neeson…Ronan Keating… Well, know I am a bit old to have noticed Ronan, but there you go. (This blog has a definite confessional vibe.) Maybe they are all indeed ultimately good-looking, but some go through an awkward stage, when they congregate at checkouts, suppurate and glower. Yay to them moving on elsewhere, then, for those difficult years. Perhaps then, there would be room for an influx into our respective countries of polite guys from the Southern US, with smouldery eyes, who can advise on cooking turnip greens…well, we can dream.

    Weird thing happened with my online shopping on Saturday. The van came to the door, and the driver brought the shopping out, all very orderly. However, saw him reaching into the frozen compartment, and taking out a bag which on inspection, contained a packet of baby wipes, and a dangerously large container of a very good brand of dairy ice-cream, not on my dieter’s list. “Oooooh” I thought…”whoo hooo..” And then the big mouth got in the way and tripped me up. “Funny, but I ordered two packets of wipes, and they have somehow substituted this ice-cream for the other packet…surreal, but quite the boogie, nevertheless.”(Potentially bingey gleam lighting up face. 😀 )
    “Oh sorry Pal,” the driver grunted, pulling out his state-of-the art electronic “sign here” machine, and taking posession of my windfall with a strong hand. “Got to take that back.” Sheeeeesh…:(

  27. nolagirl Says:

    Bama – I LOVE self check out! (but I only do it if I have a little stuff) I used to pretend that I worked at a grocery store when I was a kid, complete with my own “beep” noises as I “scanned” the items. Now I can do it for real – weeeeeee!


    Rowan, when you said “polite guys from the Southern US,” it triggered something. When I lived in the sorority house in college, we had house boys — nice, cute frat boys — who brought dinner to the table (dessert too) and cleaned up our plates when we were done. Looking back, I am wondering — how in the hell can I get that deal now??? Man, that was freakin incredible. (and good for the diet too – of course I didn’t want the cute frat boys to know that I really could eat 3 ice cream sandwiches, I’d eat only a half!)

  28. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Nola! I want a house boy too! We could start that as a business…

    Rowan- Did that guy actually call you Pal? I don’t know why…but that strikes me as weird/funny.

    Oh, and….I have such a love/hate relationship with my low rise jeans. They are so flattering…but I swear, more people have seen my ass crack than I ever thought possible….that’s just plain not pretty.

  29. shelley Says:

    I’m with Bama…he called you PAL?

    Have y’all heard Dane Cook’s take on folks who call you pal and their not your pal? Hilarious.

    NOLA…I, too, love the self-checkout. However, since I’ve been buying organic produce…it’s a pain in the ass because it doesn’t ring up. I have to call over a cashier to code it in. Crazy, huh? I’ve thought about just ringing it up as regular produce…but I know that wouldn’t be right. Still, it pisses me off that I’m buying a more expensive item and have to go through an extra effort to do so.

  30. nolagirl Says:

    House Boys Enterprises – seems simple enough, Bama!

    Bama said ass crack. Heh.

  31. shelley Says:

    NOLA…my brother, Beau (the handsome red-head) was a house boy. LOL.

  32. claire Says:

    We don’t have a sorority/fraternity system over here at all. What’s the deal? What does it mean if you join one House over another? What are the benefits?

    Are you an outcast if you’re not in a sorority/fraternity?

    Over here, you just start college, make friends with whoever you like, maybe join a society or two and that’s pretty much it. Lots of college students share private houses with each other, but it’s simply shared accommodation, no underlying meaning to it. (Although it is great fun, let me tell ya!! Sheesh…memories…)

  33. Rowan Says:

    Nola, Bama – you can have the house boys, if I can have the ice-cream sandwiches! Whoo, they sound awesome. Not quite sure what they are…are they ice-cream between wafers?

    Bama: Yep – men in my city call women “Pal” in that sort of situation: taxi drivers, for example,might say, “Here’s your change, Pal.” I had not heard it in the far north of Scotland, where I used to live – think it is a local thing. In some towns in the UK they might say “lass” or “dear” or “doll” or “pet”, even “Mrs” which is not so polite, or they might make no reference at all. I quite like Pal – it is quaint, but kind of comfortingly genderless, like they are trying not to say anything potentially sexist, or that they are deliberately being businesslike and talking to all passengers in the same way, which is kind of endearing. I always feel like saying “Thanks” in a lower voice than usual, though, which is funny!

  34. Rowan Says:

    Shelley – had my post half-written and had to leave for a few minutes. Didn’t see your post. I’d like to track down that funny, Dane Cook “pal/not your pal” thing!Sounds intriguing.

    Claire – yep, kind of out of the loop on the Sorority thing, too. Think I had a similar experience to you with university residences – they were just homogenous, though friends could share the rent of a private flat. Sounds like you had more fun than me, though. I had a room next door to a girl who was learning the bagpipes. I love the pipes, when they are played well. When not, they are kind of soul-destroying.

    Bama – lol on the low-rise jeans comment!

  35. nolagirl Says:

    Claire – The Greek system is big in the U.S. and really big in the South. It really is dumb when you put it into perspective, but basically it’s a way to meet other co-eds, only there are fairly strict and set ways on being “accepted” into this fraternity or that sorority.

    You can choose to go through what we call “rush” in which you visit all the different sorority house on campus the week before school starts and then it goes on from there – some invite you back for another “round,” some “cut” you. At the end of the week you may be cut from all, feeling like a total loser, or you may only have one sorority left or 3 (which is the limit). You pick your fave, they all pick their fave. My mom was in a sorority and told me not to do it b/c it can be so brutal, but of course I didn’t listen. And she was right, it CAN be brutal. (I could go on and on, but am sparing everyone)

    It’s really sort of in depth – you have to get initiated, you have a “big sister” that kinda takes you under her wing and showers you with presents emblazoned with your new sorority letters, you have a weekly meeting, weekly “exchanges” or “swaps” with fraternities, charity/service projects, school spirit type events, etc. Oh, and it ain’t cheap either (which is why I eventually quit).

    A LOT of people view it as paying to have friends, but even with all its flaws, I don’t see it like that. That being said, you could make new friends in lots of other ways at school, whether in your dorm or in a club/society/sports. Also, there is a certain stereotype that many have for sorority girls (not so smart, only about partying, slutty, etc.) — it is true for some, but I was not one of those girls. I was cool. 😉

    Oh, and about living in the actual sorority house. That varies by college. Some smaller colleges don’t have acutal houses for the sororites/fraternities. Mine did, and then my sorority in particular MADE you live in the house your sophomore year. Thankfully, I am a hussie and shacked at my boyfriend’s most of the time (just kidding. Well, about the hussie part. Heh.) so I missed out on a LOT of the sorority house shenanigans, minus the house boys. 🙂

  36. kimmykins Says:

    Couple days late but I’ve put serious restrictions on myself regarding all things Taylor lately.

    Thought I’d add that here in Minnesota we don’t get baggers. Instead the conveyer belt splits into two lanes after the scanner and your stuff goes down one lane and the person after you goes down the other.

    The exception to that is a chain called Byerly’s. That place is crazy weird. Wall to wall carpeting inside. All of the aisles are no higher than your shoulder. And when you check out kids load your groceries onto plastic bins and give you a number. You go out to your car by yourself and drive up to a covered drive through where they take the bins off conveyor belts and load the groceries into your car for you. Grocery carts are not allowed in the parking lot.

    Amazing how many regional differences there are just between Minnesota and Ohio. The two things that drive me up the wall at the mere mention of them is that Minnesotans refer to Duck,duck, goose as Duck, duck, gray duck. and a casserole is refered to as “hot dish”. (cringes as nails are scraped down chalkboard.)

  37. shelley Says:

    kimmykins…that blows my mind!

    CARPET IN A GROCERY STORE?! Seriously…even in the produce section? That is so bizarre.

    I like that the shelves are low. Being 5’5″, I usually have to stand on tiptoe to reach stuff on the high shelves in regular supermarkets.

    But I have a question…if you have your groceries loaded in bins and your car is filled with your groceries as you drive through…do they leave the groceries in the bins or just put loose groceries in your car?

    P.S. Duck, Duck, Gray Duck? WTF?

  38. kimmykins Says:

    Yah, I know it was major culture shock. I was calling all my relatives and telling them about the whole experience. I didn’t even get into the faux paint finish on the walls and the oddly shaped grocery carts in my earlier post. It seriously feels like your are grocery shopping in someones house. (And in answer to your question they load them into bags and then into bins and put them on conveyer belts that are made out of those metal roller things.)

    There is this other chain here called Kowalski’s and they have solid dark wood shelves. So you are going up and down the aisles thinking to yourself hmm…I feel like I’m in someones very nice personal library…but no there’s groceries on these shelves not books. I should take pictures of these things so you can see, it’s utter craziness.

    And as far as the Duck, duck, gray duck thing goes. Whenever that anomoly comes up in conversation (and strangley enough it has like 3 times) I try to explain that the rest of the country calls it Duck, duck, goose and they seriously look at me cross eyed and don’t believe me.

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