The Face of the Grocery Business

Being an effective grocery bagger requires dexterity, charisma, a passion for customer service and most importantly – speed. We put little thought into this aspect of shopping, until we have a negative experience.

  • If you’ve ever watched a pierced-up, disgruntled teen haphazardly throw soup cans in on top of your bread and eggs, you know what I’m talking about.
  • If you’ve ever felt like you needed to apologize for interrupting a clerk’s thumb-driven conversation on Facebook, you’re on-board.
  • If you’ve ever spent more time in-line checking-out than you spent shopping for a month’s worth of groceries, you’ve traveled this path.

BestBagger1As a shopper, perhaps you’re like my wife. After some negative past shopping experiences, she now feels compelled to strategically unload the cart so that her groceries are already grouped together in correct bagging order. I can’t tell you how many fights this has started when I’ve simply tried to help. In fact, I’m fairly certain Dionne prefers that I stay home on grocery day. (Score one for me!)

Anyway…like so many other things in today’s America, it’s sad to me that we only take notice when we have a negative grocery shopping experience. When checkout and bagging are proficient, we take it for granted. The service simply fulfilled expectation. We slap down our cash and move-on to the next task in a jam-packed day.

Being a bagger can be a thankless position. Thankfully, companies like Pyramid Foods (Price Cutter, Ramey, Smitty’s) understand just how important the role of bagger is to the overall business. The bagger is on the front-line, interacting with customers and handling the food they’ll feed their family. The bagger is the final impression of the company before the shopper leaves the store. And most of us assume this is a simple entry-level position?

Between now and June 19th, Price Cutter is hosting several regional “Best Bagger Competitions,” with cash prizes for the winners. This June, the top-6 regional baggers will compete again before a Springfield Cardinals game at Hammons Field. From there, the top-2 will compete at the Missouri Grocer’s Association Best Bagger Event at Branson Landing for an opportunity to represent the state on the national level. Win the National Grocer’s Association Best Bagger Competition in Vegas, and they’ll win $10,000 and be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman. Nice!

Having emceed a few of these competitions, I can tell you first hand – IT IS NOT EASY. The baggers are judged on time, proper bag building technique, weight distribution, then style, attitude and appearance. The whole package! Everything we no longer seem to notice as shoppers…until we have a negative experience.

Thank you MGA, NGA and local grocers like Pyramid Foods for understanding the value of the bagger, the face of the grocery business. Now, if my wife ever lets me go grocery shopping with her again, I’ll be certain to express my gratitude during a positive checkout experience!