Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Method to My Madness

Okay, let me warn you that this is kind of a weird story.
I was at the grocery store today and I was loading my food up on to the conveyor belt. An older lady behind me, (remember, here in California, strangers talk to each other) said, "You must have a method". I said, "A method?" She said, "You seem to be planning carefully what food you will put on the conveyor belt. Do you sort it by how it will go in the refrigerator, or all cold items together?" I said, "Oh! Yes, I do have a method, I put all of the heavy items on the belt first." She said, "Why do you do that?" I said, "Because when they get pushed down the belt, they get crammed at the end, and things get squished." Am I the only one who does this? I put the milk and canned goods on the belt first, then bread, eggs, lettuce, chips last.

At this grocery store, they have two conveyor belts side by side at each register. They immediately start checking the other person out after they finish with one, and let the last customer bag their own food. As I was bagging my food, the old lady came and was standing across from me bagging hers too. She was obviously studying my bagging method too because she said, "What do you put in the plastic bags?" (I was bagging some things in paper, and some in plastic). I said, "I put the leaky stuff in the plastic bags." She said, "I do too, but I try not to use too many paper bags because you can't recycle trees." That's california for you too, if you use paper bags, they complain that you are using up natural resources. But if you use plastic bags, they complain that you are littering the environment with them, since not enough of them get recycled. In fact, San Francisco recently tried to pass a law outlawing plastic bags in the city. I knew that would never fly because China town alone would go out of business. The trend now is to use reuseable cloth bags.

I found it very interesting that this lady was so observant of every move I made. I do things without thinking about it much, it is habit for me. But I did tell her, as I was getting ready to leave, "You should watch me load the dishwasher."

8 comments:

gilbert girl said...

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JJJ said...

Thats creepy, I hope when I get classifed as old, my hobby isnt watching what and how people bag groceries.
We had that same paper/plastic debate here as well. (New Jersey)
sad part is both are recyclable just no one does it, its cheaper to make new then turn old into new.

And yes the cloth bags that you personally own are also a big thing here.

I dont think I have a system when I do go I am normally so shocked that Cambell's soup isnt 4 for a dollar anymore, and that milk cost almost as much as gasoline that when I get to the "belt" I am more worried about having enough money then if my chips will be crushed by the milk.
Nice funny and weird blog ;)

Amber said...

LOL I have a method too, all the cans together, all the boxes together, all the cleaning/beauty products together, and all the cold stuff together, and the milk and bread together - my ex husband taught me this because that's how baggers will bag your groceries anyway and it helps them.

Fromagette said...

While I was in France, buying groceries always required a cloth or reusable, heavy duty plastic bag. Other wise, you had to pay 4 centimes for a plastic bag! Now that I am in the Northwest where recycling is cool, it is so easy for us to bundle up our bags and put them in the recycling or reuse them as garbage bags (at least they're used twice, right?). Now, I probably only do it because it is just so darn easy, but it does make me feel better, just like my cloth bags do.

Epitome of Sweetness said...

I think everyone should start taking their own bags to the store. Myself included.

Native Minnow said...

I like the cloth bag thing, although I don't do it myself (even though I should). I also have a method, but it has more to do with where the stuff is going to go once I'm putting it away at home.

GoodyMom1 said...

i'm very persnickety about how i put my groceries on the belt, but it varies depending on what i'm buying, and in what quantities. first, i'm aware that most often the checker will just bag things as they pass the scanner, and i don't want each bag too heavy, so i'll put a few canned goods or liquids together, but not too many, and always before lighter stuff like boxes. additionally, bags that should be heavier go toward the end of the load if i've got less than a cartful of groceries so that they can go in the trunk first (therefore on the bottom) but if i've got enough groceries that they'll need to stack in the cart, the heavies go first then i set the light ones on the top of the car before putting the heavier ones in the trunk... additionally i also sort by where things end up in my kitchen, because even though it's tiny (two people can't cook, only walking space for one), it's easier to set bags where food goes when i bring it in.

so in short, no, you're not the only one who overthinks "simple" stuff like this. fwiw, when i visited a friend a while back, we went grocery shopping together and they were just as picky as i am but in different ways, and as soon as i saw them ordering things on the belt i quit helping (which is really an odd feeling for me) because i knew i'd just get in the way.

Max said...

LOL LOL That was one attentive old lady :D!

It is amazing how people talk there in California...I mean, they talk here too; but no one will engage a conversation with you on bagging methods, nope...*nodding*!

Your last sentence to her was funny lol...

Cheers