Since I’ve been a professional, the familiar refrain that I’ve heard amongst my frustrated colleagues has gone something like, “I’m just going to quit my job and go bag groceries.”
Let me be the first to say, it’s ain’t that easy.
Indeed, the good people at the ShopRite on Kane Street invited me to be a bagger at their “Help Bag Hunger” event on Sept. 12, which is part of their Partners in Caring program.
Chuck Joseph III and Carrie Titolo, the respective store director and community relations manager for the ShopRites in West Hartford and Canton, were kind enough to provide me with a brief tutorial Friday on proper bagging procedure.
The one thing that Joseph noted was that baggers - who also are in charge of maintaining the shopping carts in the parking lot - are responsible for customers’ first and last impression of the store.
If that’s the case, then with me as a bagger, ShopRite is in deep trouble.
My time on the line was mercifully brief. Pointers were given to me, such as eight items should fill a bag, always segregate the meat, and make sure you don’t put the eggs and bread on the bottom of the cart. Also, don’t put the steak with the toilet bowl cleaner.
Oh, and after I inquired, Joseph also told me it was NOT OK for me to eat anything that came my way. Evidently there are rules against that.
Also, contrary to George Carlin’s classic line, chickens are not good people. You have to treat them like they are plutonium, wrapping their packages in one bag and setting them off in a time out in the cart.
Anyhoo, the verdict after I bagged several customers’ groceries was that I need more practice. A lot more practice.
“You used too many bags,” said Felicia Cotto, a ShopRite employee. “The pork and the beef should have stayed together. You also had two packs of pork chops that could have stayed together.”
While my bagging efforts may be humorous, ShopRite’s Partners in Caring program is no laughing matter.
September is National Hunger Action Month, and the Partners in Caring program will likely raise over $10,000 for local food pantries in West Hartford, including House of Bread Kids Cafe, St. Agnes Family Center, Westminster Presbyterian Food Distribution Program, Congregation Beth Israel and Jewish Family Services.On Sept. 12, cashiers will collect donations through the purchase of $1 cards. In addition, baggers such as myself and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will help raise awareness of the hungry in our communities.
Joseph said that it was shocking to hear that 1 in 7 households in the state don’t have a stable source of food.
“To hear numbers like that in Connecticut is surprising in troubling,” Joseph said. Hence, the stores’ participation in the campaign against hunger. ““It’s about feeding the hungry in the community.”