Please Bag Your Groceries


In a world where grocery cashiers are now referred to as heroes and/or essential, I think it’s time that we all step our game up and start bagging our groceries at check out. The genuine appreciation people show towards those who work in the food supply chain is wonderful to see. It gives me hope that we still see other people as human, no matter what one does for an occupation. It tells me that we aren’t only about consumption. We are also about compassion and empathy.

Buying meals for the doctors and nurses while they go about saving lives during these wild swings of the pandemic is touching and generous. And it kills two birds with one stone because those servers and cooks need the work too. I love that. If we want there to be a shift into a better world after the pandemic or at least achieve deeper understanding of what others are going through, now is the time to reach out with not only words but with actions.

Every day, someone tells me they appreciate what I am doing and occasionally they go big and use the word hero. I wrote about my feelings on subject in a previous post that you can read here. Nothing has changed. I still think it’s great let others know they have value and I hope it continues. But I wish it wasn’t only words being shared. I would love to see actions too.


A small percentage of my customers bag their own groceries  – they even seem to enjoy it. “It’s like Tetris” is the phrase I hear most frequently. Beyond the personal appeal for the customer, bagging your own groceries makes the whole exchange go faster and it gives you knowledge of where the items are when you get home.

From my experience, when the customer participates, we usually end up working the small project together and it gives us additional time to make conversation. Or it speeds it up and no one has to chit chat. Dealers choice. A small gesture like this can make a persons’ day. The adage is true that actions speak louder than words.

Most people just watch from the sidelines or mess around on their phones leaving a void where a personal connection could be made in the whole exchange. I understand that not all of us are talkers and sometimes you just want to get out of the store. But now that we all know checking out of a grocery store is an essential part of our survival maybe it’s a good idea to take closer examination of the entire process.

You might feel like you get in the way of the person’s duties if you try to help. But I don’t know any cashier that would turn down someone making life easier. It’s true, they are paid to do the work so there isn’t an obligation to do anything. And I don’t fault people for thinking that way. But it’s not like the employee is raking in the money for the thankless gig, so, helping out is a nice and reasonable thing to do especially with a killer virus hanging around and long lines at the store. Perhaps, you’re thinking that if you help, everyone will be more exposed to the virus. I see the rationale here but if everything moves more quickly than it normally would, and the parties involved are being smart by wearing their PPE then I don’t see how it could leave anyone more likely to become infected.


I don’t assume you will bag your groceries, hell, I consider it going above and beyond, because I default to the idea that most people get by on just doing the bare minimum. It’s unsettling to stare through Plexiglas at people in masks. It strikes me as in-human. The bonds made from the
efforts we make to connect to those strangers in a store can keep us sane and normal and moving forward. It’s the small things that can bring us together even though we are separated by something so tiny we can’t see it with the naked eye.

But through action, we can elevate our society at least for a short while. Actions are more sustainable. They weave into our everyday lives. Words tend to fade away or change meaning. How many times have you been let down when someone says they will do something, but they
fail to act? Extending out your hand to seize that tub of butter, bag of produce and gallon of milk as they cruise down the conveyor belt is a guaranteed way to help everyone involved.

5 thoughts on “Please Bag Your Groceries

  1. Very good advice. I really never thought it was ok to do this unless you are at Winco or somewhere like that. This makes so much sense. We have not done much shopping but I will pass this advice on to our daughter.

  2. Nice! I will certainly do my bagging next time I go shopping and offer some conversation! Keep safe!

  3. I would like to help and do this but I am disabled in my left hand and arm. I would slow down the process. It’s not apparent just by looking and it never fails the cashier is shoving the receipt at me while I’m trying to get my credit card back in my wallet. I need help loading my groceries. I don’t want to yell out I’m crippled!

  4. Now that we know who is an essential worker, let’s fight for all of them to make a living wage

    1. Bagging takes you away from the checkers shield and put you closer to them. I had Clorox wipes with me and used them to clean the belt. She kept it running so I cleaned the belt for her. She was all smiles and thanked me.

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