An Open Letter to Bagboys Everywhere

Dear Bagboy (or Bagperson),

I know I’ve had a rough couple of months here. I understand that I may, perhaps, be a little cranky as a result, and I apologize most sincerely if this letter comes off as bitchy.

That said…

PLEASE, for the love of GOD and all that is holy, sweet FRIGGIN Jesus, stop quadruple bagging my box of pasta!

I mean, come on here. I can’t even walk in the store without seeing the big signs reminding me to bring my own bags and feeling guilty for forgetting mine in the car but walking in anyway. So here’s a quick, environmentally friendly, petroleum-efficient math lesson: when I purchase a box of elbow macaroni, a wedge of horseradish cheese, a deli quiche, milk–which, by the way, has its own handle and DOES NOT need a bag of its own!–and a bottle of chardonnay, how many bags do I need or want when I say “Please put that in one bag, even if it must be paper”?

You take your time. Really. This is important.

Ooooh, no, sorry, the answer was not three. I can understand why you would think that, what with… well, OK, no, I really can’t. I asked for one bag; every square inch of signage around every register screams at me about the damn environment and bags and how if I use one of your cheap-ass plastic bags the rain forests will wilt and marmosets will go extinct and we’ll never find a cure for cancer and the ozone will evaporate and we will all die in a fiery explosion resulting pretty much directly from gamma radiation. What the hell makes you think three is appropriate?

Here are some tips for bagging my groceries. Feel free to print these out for reference; I know that might slow down your bagging time, but trust me, I’m not the only one who will thank you later.

1. Milk has a handle. As such it neither needs to be bagged in a plastic bag of its own nor double bagged.

2. This also applies to many laundry detergents, six packs of beer, peanut oil, corn oil… dude, pretty much anything that has its own handle doesn’t need a bag. I know this is a tough one, but trust me on this.

3. When I–or any customer–ask you to fit something in one bag, that does not mean to put things in bags inside of other bags so I only have to slip my fingers through one handle. It means I only want to walk out of the store with one bag. Even if it hurts, do not try to trick me with double-bagging shennanigans or bagging my meat separately. Yes, I know about the dangers of e. coli, and I’m OK with the risk. I’ll even sign a waiver or pay extra or whatever it takes.

4. My vegetables can mingle. Really. Should my avocado touch my plantains, it’ll be OK. Really. If I don’t feel the need to sheath them back in the produce section, I’m OK with them going commando for the ride home.

5. Please don’t make faces when I ask for paper bags. More stuff fits in the paper bags and–this is your fault–it’s so clearly a pain in your ass to open up a new bag, I know there’s very little danger of me ending up walking out with five paper bags when I purchase three items. Think of paper bags as punishment: you abused the privilege of plastic bags, now take your medicine without being Mr. Pouty Face.

6. Look at me. I’m in your store wearing a t-shirt advertising to all the world that I crew for sailboats. My nails are not manicured; I smell like the Gulf of Mexico. Do I really look like I’m going to collapse under the weight of having my quiche in the same bag as my pasta? Really? I can take it; a midget with an iron deficiency and advanced osteoporosis could take it.

7. As long as I have your attention, let’s be clear here: I, like the rest of the world, worked in a grocery store as a teenager. I know how mind-numbing it can be to work in a supermarket. But I had a manager who enforced the notion–some now call it silly–that the customer comes first. That meant we couldn’t make obscene gestures with the customer’s zucchini, ignore the customer to talk with the cashier about the blow job she gave her boyfriend last night, or complain about the management. Look, I’ve been in your shoes. I know how tempting the zucchini joke is, and I’m sure the head she gave your older brother was fantastic, really. Management does suck and, yes, they probably don’t have a life outside the store.

But you know what? I’m 35 and that’s my zucchini. If anyone’s going to violate it, it’s going to be me or someone I know a lot better than you know that cashier. I can promise you that, should there ever be such a contest, I could outperform and expose the cashier for the rank amateur that she is, fellatially speaking. Finally, management was right: I do come first. I work too damn hard to spend my money at a store where the bagboys treat me like anything less than fucking royalty. I know it sucks and it seems unfair–I mean, I’m a writer and sailboat crew, which is really just a notch and half above “drunk who lives under the overpass”–but if you don’t like it get another job. Until then, or until such time as your board of directors stops charging me five bucks for a gallon of milk, suck it up, smile at me, and when I say one bag, give me one fucking bag.

Most sincerely,

A loyal customer.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.