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Retail Hell Memories: "Plastic bags are wasteful and bad for the environment. Now, double bag all my groceries in paper and it can't be too heavy!"



From  rachelmaryl, Tales From Retail:

During college, I worked at a grocery store as a cashier. One of my favorite exchanges between me and a particularly fussy older woman went as follows:

Me: Hello, paper or plastic today?

Old Woman: Yes.

Me: I'm sorry, paper or plastic?

Old Woman (annoyed): I said, yes.

...begins using plastic

Old Woman sees me using plastic, and her eyes widen.

Old Woman: Excuse me, I said I wanted PAPER! Plastic is terrible for the environment!

Me: Okay, I'll switch.

Old Woman: Now, double bag everything and it can't be too heavy!

*Note: The store I worked at was near an assisted living center, and we had an older customer demographic. When customers asked me not to make the bags too heavy, I was pretty conservative with weight, putting only about 5-6 things per bag. I tried to keep each bag about 8-10 lbs. *

I start bagging her groceries, and begin with two canned goods, bananas and bread.


I remove the bananas

Old Woman: Not light enough yet.

SEPT2I remove a canned good.

Old Woman: Not even close.

I remove the other canned item. Now there is only a loaf of bread in the bag.

Old Woman: There. Do all of them like this.

Me: You mean, you want one item in each double bag?


I proceed to double paper bag the rest of her groceries, one item per bag. All is going well, until we reach her gallon of milk. I put it in a double bag.


Me:'s a gallon of milk. It's the only thing in there.

Old Woman (pouting): It's too heavy! I can't be expected to lift that! Make it lighter!

Me: Do you want me to have someone exchange it for two half-gallons? (Internal monologue: How about I dump half of it out, all over your head?)

Old Woman: No, because it's too expensive! Plus, that extra plastic is WASTEFUL!

Me: I...I don't really know how to help you with that problem. It's a gallon of milk. I can't make it lighter, unless you want two half-gallons.

Old woman makes a huge stink, but succumbs to the fact that her gallon of milk will be too heavy. She finally leaves, with her cart of 20-something, double paper bagged groceries.

Next Customer (college-aged): Holy sh**, what a racket!

-- rachelmaryl




If the gallon of milk is too heavy, how did she manage to put it in her cart? This harridan also did not indicate in the first place she wanted paper bags too!


I would have been the crazy customer if someone put my bread and bananas in with cans.

Tech Support Survivor

*gigglesnort* I'd be imagining how I could mess with her.


Pretty sure five plastic bags would be less wasteful than 40 paper bags.

KKL: Cans on bottom, bread on top. Why is that a problem? Bananas are tougher than bread...


This reminds me of one old lady that lived on the second floor of an apartment. We loaded up the bags and put them in her car. She had to carry the stuff up the stairs 2 cans at a time in a bag, but she used the same bag to carry the stuff up the then unload it, and repeat for her entire order. Too bad she didn't have a person that could carry it up for her. Notice she did not ask for each item in a double paper bag.


Clearly techtyger has never gotten home with bruised fruit and crushed bread because they were put in with heavy cans.


Clearly TT knows what he's talking about as that is exactly how I pack cans and bread together. It's the order it's packed in and how it's put together.

I have received many compliments from customers when packing their bags because I not only pack carefully, I manage to fit a quart into a pint pot.

Tech Support Survivor

Whenever I did get bananas, I'd ask for them to be bagged separately. Of course I can't stand bruised bananas.


No, I haven't gotten home with crushed bread because I put the bread on top of the cans, instead of underneath them. :P


The worst bagged order I ever received was in a Wal-Mart. The cashier put four cans of soup into one plastic bag. They were in two stacks of two. She then put my bag of grapes right next to the cans. I didn't see it until I got out to my car. I still struggle to figure out how anyone could be that dumb/naive.

Double sacking paper bags was such a joy for me when I first started in a grocery store. Took me a week before I was able to instinctively fill the bags without putting massive scratch marks on my arm.


Items shift in those flimsy plastic grocery store bags, especially when they go on a half hour car ride on curvy, hilly country roads. No cans with my fruit please.

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