Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Bagging Method Discovered

Today, I fired up my large handbasket, knowing full well I was
headed to...Wal*Mart! It was there that I discovered this new
method of bagging groceries. Mind you, I'm not saying it's a
good method, only a new method.

I am no stranger to the bagging phenomenon. I've had plenty of
experience shopping at Save-A-Lot, where you must bag your
own groceries. Normally, I prefer a box there, rather than the
flimsy plastic bags. But I am no stranger to the bag, either. Silly
me. I put my cold foods together, and the boxes together, and
the bread products together, and the fruits and vegetables together,
and the cans together...can you see a pattern? I believe this is the
normal way most people do it.

When I go to Wal*Mart, I pile my things in the cart the way I
expect them to be bagged, and set them out on the checkout
in that order. Heavy stuff first, veggies and bread last.

I must complain to those Wal*Mart smartypantses who used to
advertise: "At Wal*Mart, you're always next in line." Not at any
Wal*Mart I've ever shopped at, by cracky! I was fourth in line.
And at Wal*Mart, you know this is going to take a while, because
nobody leaves Wal*Mart with just a couple of items. The "20 item
or less" checkout should give you that clue. Then, they have the
self-checkouts that take jobs away from little old ladies and high
school kids. So anybody in a regular checkout has a cart piled
full of Wal*Marty goodness.

That was my first problem. A lady two carts in front of me hoisted
an 84-pack or some outrageously large case of Busch beer onto
that conveyor. It broke down. So we had to move over two aisles,
trying to jostle ourselves in the same order so there was no blood-
shed. Oh, and that 84-pack lady was the mother of one of my ex-
students who was kicked out for being under the influence of an
illegal substance on the first day of school several years ago, and
subsequently quit after attending an alternative school. Or so I'm
told by the students. At that student was there in line with her. I
tried not to catch Student's eye, because would you want to be in
the store with your mother buying an 84-pack of beer when you
are old enough that if you'd stayed in school you would have
graduated already? I think not.

Now we get to the new bagging method. When I finally got up to
pile my stuff on the conveyor, I remembered that I'd had this
checker once before, and had vowed never again to get in her
line. But it was too late. I'd been distracted by an 84-pack of
beer. This woman must have tactile issues, or think outside the
box. Every item she picked up, she scanned, then held it up and
looked at it a minute. And I really mean a minute. Like 60 seconds.
Like she couldn't bear to part with it. Then she put it in a bag.

Did she put them in bags like I'd carefully laid them out? If you
guess yes, I'm going to whack you for not paying attention to
this whole boring story. By the time I got my stuff home and
put it away, I'd figured out the method to her madness. It was
not easy, my friends. It was like one of those logic puzzles that
I have trouble with, but my children can do in 2 seconds. You
know, like "The red house had gas but no electric. The blue
house is on the corner. The green house is having a party with
an 84-pack of beer. Where does Fitty's neighbor live?" That
kind of puzzle.

Here is how things were packed. See if you can find the pattern.
Bag 1: two heads of cabbage, a big salad in a round plastic
container, a bag of Italian mix lettuce. Bag 2: two packs of
paper plates, a mini-hot-dog Lunchable, a bag of Sun Chips.
Bag 3: a tall bottle of Suave Wild Watermelon kids' Shampoo,
an oval bottle of L'Oreal Strawberry Smoothie Kids' Shampoo,
a bag of Baked Lays Chips. Bag 4: a jar of olives, two plastic
boxes of strawberries.

OK, Bag 4 was a bit of an abberation for part of the bagging
method. And there were several other bags, but I can't quite
remember all the combinations. Do you have the riddle solved
yet? At first, Bag 1 threw me off. While I would have preferred
my big salad and lettuce to be packed together with some cold
items, I though maybe she said, "Oh. Green leafy things must go
together." But when I saw the others, I knew she couldn't have
had that thought in her head.

Here's what I surmised. All bags had 3 items, unless two were
alike, and then they had 4 items. It seems they all had to have a
smashable item, a round item, a rectangular item. No wonder it
took her so long to sort through my carefully grouped groceries
to fit them into her system. Bag 1: the lettuce got smashed. It was
in a rectangular bag, too. The other stuff was round, with the two
heads of cabbage counting as one item. Bag 2: the Sun Chips got
smashed. The paper plates were round (again, two alike counted
as one), and the Lunchable was in a rectangular box. Bag 3: the
Lays Chips got smashed, the tall shampoo had a large flat top, so
was rectangular, the Suave shampoo bottle is oval. Bag 4: this
was the last bag I put in my cart, so I guess she ran out of stuff for
her system. The strawberries were smashable, and in rectangular
boxes, but there were two alike, and she should have counted them
as one. The jar of olives was round. That darn checker. Those
olives were way up in the bagging order. She had to save them
a long time until those strawberries brought up the rear with the
chips and some buns.

The packing of my chips annoyed me. Because they could have
gone together with some bread. But on top of those other items,
they stuck out the top of the bag, and toppled the bags over,
and got smashed, and you couldn't grab the top of the bag to
carry it.

I hate Wal*Mart. I much prefer Save-A-Lot, but their selection
is limited. Doggone you, Wal*Mart, for driving out the normal
grocery stores! Doggone you, for being cheaper than Country
Mart, and daring to sell food that is not outdated! I hate you,
Wal*Mart, but I will keep coming back. And hating you.


Blogger Rebecca said...

Hi Hillbilly Mom,
I think you have had enough holidays of one year. Given you are now looking into conspiracy theories with your supermarket shopping, maybe a good dose of a few Do-Nots around the mansion for a few days would help.
Given the limited amount of shopping I can fit on the motorbike, I have worked out my shopping to be limited to 3 green bags worth. As long as they are packed level, that is the number of items i can get. The green bags are then placed into my backpack, and rack pack, and everything fits. It is an artform, but it works well, and limits my splurge buying.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

Yes! Yes! YES!
(No, I'm not doing my Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally imitation)
I HATE Wal-Mart, too. Loath it. I think it's the "Evil Empire".
Yet, each week, I find myself there once again.

6:55 AM  
Blogger MrsCoach2U said...

I think she has a sister at the local WM! The checker reads the labels on all the products, she has even wrote down a recipe off the Velveeta box before!!!! I refuse to get back in her line. My favorite is when they put the raw chicken in on top of lettuce, you can't cook lettuce to kill the raw chicken diseases.......

8:11 AM  
Blogger Redneck Diva said...

Ahhh...good ol' Wal*Mart. It has run out two of the three "regular" grocery stores that were in our town. The one that's left, its prices are so high no one can afford to go there. The only reason they stay in business is because people will run in and pay the high prices for two or three items just to avoid the hell of Wal*Mart.

Rassin' frassin' corporate conglomerates.

When I divide my groceries into categories on the conveyer belt, the checkers look at me like I've grown an extra head or something. To me it just makes sense! I thought it was my OCD, but now I see that you do it, too! That makes me happy! I'm doing something that isn't necessarily fueled by my compulsions! WAHOO!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

DoNots do not belong at the Mansion. There just might be a shotgun with their name on it. Because we are a lawless society out here in the middle of nowhere, and our neighbor Buddy has been known to chase people with a shotgun and question why they are all up in here since they don't live here and this is a private road and all.

I bet you could fit a lot of lottery tickets into that backpack.

I think Wal*Mart has a beacon that sends out signals. I think they can implant a chip in you if you scan your own items. I think I should shut up now before someone stages an intervention.

OK, you've got me beat with the Velveeta recipe! I buy my raw chicken at Save-A-Lot, and put it in the bottom of the box when I bag my own groceries. I also buy a box of baby wipes (the miracle cleaner) to wipe off my hands, because I can't stand the thought of the raw chicken juice on everything I touch.

To avoid those looks, perhaps you should refrain from wearing the pirate do-rag to the store.

I'm glad to see you rejoicing at what are clearly signs of my own newly-emerging case of OCD!

6:40 PM  
Blogger Alexandrialeigh said...

Oh, how I hate the Wal-Mart. Hate. HATE.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Next time, feel free to say what you really mean. ;)

8:52 PM  

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