My first job at 15 1/2 years old was as a grocery bagger at the Jewel.  (If you’re from Chicago, you know that the always precedes the word Jewel).  The Jewel was our local, big chain grocery store, and apparently, the only place that hired 15 1/2 year olds.  It’s odd now to think that I was so anxious to start working that I couldn’t wait six more months for some better options.
At $4.65 an hour, I got a blue smock and a name tag.  Along with getting the opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes of a grocery store, I learned how to be a really awesome bagger.
There is skill to bagging.  You learn quickly which products are good for building the base of the bag, for reinforcing the sides, for slowly making the climb to the top, and the useless ones that sit right on top.  You may think you know where the eggs go, but do you really?  And what about the odd bunch of tomatoes & bananas – they’re heavy, but can puncture.
Before the advent of reusable bags, I was also very skilled at the “double paper” and the “plastic in paper”.  Both completely wasteful.  Now with the reusable, I like testing the durability.  A solid three bags is really all you need for the week.
I know it sounds neurotic, but once you bag it’s really hard to watch a non-bagger do the job.  I use to do the paying, as that involves human interaction, and let my husband bag.  But we had to switch because the bags just looked so funky.  If you’ve ever bagged, you might know where I’m coming from.
And while I make fun of the job & the smock, good bagging has helped me everywhere that I’ve lived – whether it be walking back to the dorm with groceries or balancing them on handle bars.
Bagging groceries.  Another  of life’s awesomely useless skills.
 

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