HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

Curious, do you bag single veggies in the store or not?

  • 114
  • Share

Hi,
Mostly, I cook for one; me. I always bag an onion, a cabbage head, an eggplant, a head of lettuce, a celery bunch, etc. I'm not talking about multiples like potatos, nuts, citrus(es), green beens, chilis, etc. I was at my local store and saw a person not bagging anything that was in the cart. I re-use the bags, so don't beat me up about not being green. It made me think, am I "over protecting" my veggies since I rinse them once I get home?

Just curious, is it regional, hereditarily, economical, personal preference, pre-packaging, etc.

Thanks everyone in advance for your comments!

Hammy

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I always bag single veggies. I reuse the bags; in fact, if I didn't have those bags in the first place, I'd have to buy them, so I'd much rather get them for free with my produce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: soytoy

      +1

      1. re: soytoy

        +1

      2. I also always bag my single items. Even if rinsing at home, there is no reason to add extra mileage on the food you're goiing to eat, and if we are to believe what we are told, shopping carts can be extremely unhygienic.

        Occasionally I make an exception for something like a head of garlic where I know that the product that will be consumed is entirely inside the peel.

        10 Replies
        1. re: jlhinwa

          Besides, I can always use the bags, we have a dog (you know what the bag is for) and also take our surplus bags to a couple of thrift stores in the hood. The thrift stores don't want to buy bags, nor do their customers to keep the price down). I don't like thrift stores that much, but a friend does, and the women at a store we went to said that they really like getting grocery bags to use for purchases.

          1. re: EWSflash

            "used" plastic bags are also great as packaging material ... takes up space and is alot more cushioning than just packaging peanuts.

          2. re: jlhinwa

            "and if we are to believe what we are told, shopping carts can be extremely unhygienic."

            But don't you touch the shopping cart and then touch the produce as you pick it out. And maybe even touch your face after touching the cart? And touch many other "unhygienic" things in the store? Seems like you go a bit overboard, but that's what you choose to do and I respect it.

            To answer the question: I bag multiple items but not single items. It seems silly and wasteful (for me) to bag 1 lemon or 1 onion, etc.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              but shopping carts are meant to be handled. they have babies drooling in them, they sit in the parking lot and birds fiy over, and they are rescued from the neighborhood where who knows who has been pushing them around for a week before grabbing a new one. ever seen the traffic grime that you can rub off a shopping cart? you know that sticky oily gritty residue that they pick up siting in the parking lot waiting for the cart boys? And i live someplace where they dont get slush sprayed on them. UGH filthy.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                I had my son (a toddler at the time) in a grocery cart that had a sticky handle. I went to get somethng off a shelf and when I turned back he was chewiing on the handlebar where it was sticky (musta been sweet). Grossed me out but short story he lived through it without getting sick. In fact he never gets sick. Not that I recommend chewing on a sticky grocery cart handle...

              2. re: ttoommyy

                I agree that shopping carts are filthy just by their nature. I have a problem putting fruit and produce in a cart without bagging it first. I've seen babies with wet diapers sitting in the front section of the carts, and yes, the bird issue and grime, not to mention the hands of the person before me are an issue with me. If you are a man then you have no idea how many women place their handbags on the floor of a public bathroom then set that same handbag in their grocery cart. AAACCCKKK. When I enter any supermarket in this area, I grab a readily available sanitizing cloth and wipe my hands and the cart's handle with it. I just feel a lot better doing that. I guess I'm becoming a bit of a germophobe.

                1. re: The Drama Queen

                  You know the microbes (mostly bacteria) in and on your body outnumber your own body's cells by a factor of 10-20.

                  1. re: jlafler

                    absolutely. the vast majority of microbes have no ill effect on the body. but the few that do can do some serious damage. and yes, they are everywhere, and yes we are exposed to them constantly. But I wouldn't eat fruit that had been sitting in a public restroom either.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      I couldn't have said it better. And when I know that women put their handbags on the floor of a public restroom, then put that same bag on the cart that MY food is going into it just makes me skeevy. On a separate note: Why in the name of heaven would anyone put an article of clothing on the floor, ANY floor, especially the floor of a bathroom. Beats the hell outta me.

                2. re: ttoommyy

                  I'm with you, ttoommyy -- I have no doubt that the cart is dirty -- but I'm not under any misconception that the veggies in the bin materialised out of a sterile environment and have landed completely spotless and hygienic in my hands, either.

              3. depends on the item - i try to limit my use of plastics as much as possible, so i reuse the produce bags and only bag things that really need protecting (or are sopping wet from the mister). so mostly just mushrooms, herbs, greens and the like...everything else stays loose, gets placed strategically in the cart to avoid damage, and gets a thorough cleaning before being eaten.

                2 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  +1

                  I only bag mushrooms, greens, beans and brocoli.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    +1

                    I also bag things like green beans, because there's no other way to keep them together.

                  2. I will not bag a single onion, garlic, orange or other item that will be peeled before using. Even though I do reuse the bags, I do not need that many of them. I will bag if I am buying multiples because it speeds up checkout.

                    I will bag anything that is wet (thanks to those produce sprayers). Although those bags are not going to be dried and reused.

                    At the farmer's market, I will bag small items if I am buying in quantity, but for most things I will just put them all into the canvas bag that I bring.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: pamf

                      yep - that's me. Broccoli becomes a mess if you don't bag it, too.

                      Otherwise no bags (even if I did get yelled at for not putting the bananas in a bag and just slapping a sticker on one of them. The clerk felt it wasn't sanitary. I know. It's a banana. The peel comes off. But she was following me around the produce department snarling at me, so I took the stupid bag to shut her up. And threw it away when I got around the corner.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Where do you shop? Big Brother's Produce Mart???

                        I try to bag as little produce as possible, but I do make a good effort to be super organized in their placement on the conveyor belt as to make it easier for the cashier to keep them together when ringing it up. I'm probably not even putting an imaginary dent in the overall usage of plastic, but it does my conscience a pinch of good.

                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                          I think she was having a bad day.

                          I figure if it made her feel better to make the STOOPEED AMERICAINE take a plastic bag, hey, whatever.

                          I had a lot of things to do than were a lot more important than standing around and arguing with a minimum-wage produce clerk about a stupid plastic bag.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            "I figure if it made her feel better to make the STOOPEED AMERICAINE take a plastic bag, hey, whatever."

                            Did this happen somewhere other than the States?

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              I live in France.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                "I live in France."

                                Well, could the reason she made you bag the produce is because it is store policy? I know it is in many supermarkets in Italy. Maybe she was just doing her job.

                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  No. I'd been in that store a hundred times before, and I've been there a hundred times since, and nobody bags their bananas. It was just her. (haven't seen her since, by the way -- maybe she was sent round the bend by a guy putting a sticker on a guava.)

                                  Italy is a whole nuther planet as far as produce bagging goes -- not only do you have to bag every stinkin' thing, but you're supposed to wear gloves while you do it! I saw a guy get yelled at 8 ways to Sunday for daring to pick up ONE apple with his bare hands.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    "Italy is a whole nuther planet as far as produce bagging goes -- not only do you have to bag every stinkin' thing, but you're supposed to wear gloves while you do it! I saw a guy get yelled at 8 ways to Sunday for daring to pick up ONE apple with his bare hands."

                                    That may have been me the first time I was in Italy! lol :)

                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      I was dumbstruck -- especially considering there were enormous cut wheels of Parmesan lying open to the air in the store, and racks of all kinds of whole hams -- with the requisite mold on the rinds -- hanging less than 5 metres from the produce that couldn't be compromised. Weird.

                        2. re: sunshine842

                          I would have either told her to shut her effing pie hole or slapped her. Don't mess with me while i'm shopping.

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            That's croissant hole to you... :P

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              I just wasn't in the mood that day.

                              (One of those where the little voice inside your head says "walk away now, so you don't end up facing homicide charges in a foreign country over a stupid banana")

                              Other days, it's "bring it, Babette, I'm ready".

                        3. I bag everything.

                          1. Not necessarily. Maybe yes if something is particularly wet or unruly. Probably not if it is just an onion or a zuchhini. Also never get extra bags on butcher-packed meat/fish.

                            1. I only bag certain items -- lettuce, spinach, etc. that is either wet, or likely to fall apart in my grocery cart/basket. Or certain items, like zucchini, that I've noticed tend to start getting limp in my refrigerator if I don't keep bagged. But most other veggies or fruits (apples, oranges, lemons, eggplant, onions, pears, tomatoes, potatoes, etc.) I haven't noticed stay "fresher" longer if I keep them in bags, so I try to avoid using them, mostly from an environmental standpoint.

                              1. If it somehow seems really susceptible to getting "dirtier" through my shopping and checkout process, then yes. Otherwise no, for two reasons. As others mentioned, I don't really need to use another plastic bag (I often tell someone to keep the bag when they start to bag one or two items - in general, not talking produce here - because really, why do I need a bag for one six-pack of beer or one can of carburetor cleaner? My usual line is "save a plastic tree"). Secondly, if my produce is being sold by weight, that bag weighs something, and I don't need to pay for it! Ok, that's not really significant, but hey, I have a reputation as being cheap, and I need to maintain that!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Cheez62

                                  My usual line is "save a plastic tree"
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                  mine too! and i usually get strange looks from the cashier when i say it.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Haha! My daughter just looks at me and shakes her head ;-)

                                2. Not for single items or even if it's just 2. I have no need for the bags (so they just get chucked, which seems wasteful) and everything I use gets washed or peeled anyway, so I'm not concerned about bacteria.

                                  1. Like others, I use as few bags as possible. Unless the greens are very wet or I have a lot of a small item (mushrooms, green beans, etc.), I fail to see the point of placing the produce in a separate bag? Honestly, how does it really make checking out significantly faster if my three limes are bagged up? Moreover, what is it really supposed to be keeping clean? I tend to avoid conveniences that lack actual utility.

                                    Ultimately, the overuse of plastic bags especially, in this context, as well as others, just seems inherently wasteful. Even if one reuses the bags, it doesn’t change the fact that they still wind up festering in a landfill somewhere (now likely full of trash or dog sh*t). Nor does it change the fact that they were made in the first place.

                                    (I will save for another thread the fact that I similarly stop the checkers from “bagging” any meats I purchase before they go into the shopping bag. . . .)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      +1 to this.

                                      I really do highly doubt that bags have any significant utility, even in keeping things clean. I am skeptical of anything that plays into people's dirt- and germ-phobias.

                                    2. Absolutely bag everything. I do not want the cashier playing with my food, they touch all that money.

                                      1. I was going to start a thread about this topic a while back. I got to thinking about how there are sanitary wipes at the front of the grocery store so that you can sanitize your cart handle. But then you go through the produce area and everyone and their mother has man-handled the apples, pears, peaches, etc. and my guess is most folks don't even rinse off their produce when they get home (I wash apples, pears, etc. with soap and water). And really, what does rinsing even accomplish? You're not rinsing away bacteria.

                                        If I have one potato, one onion and one green pepper, I may put them all in one bag and then point it out to the cashier when I am checking out. Most of the time they seem annoyed when you bag two different items in one bag, even if you point it out to them.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          Actually, washing produce with soap isn't considered safe. Detergent can seep through fruit and vegetable skins into food. Rinsing the fruit under running water does as good a job of removing bacteria. http://clark.wsu.edu/family/specific-...

                                          Around here, potatoes and onions are both sold by the pound. If I put them in one bag, the cashier will have to remove them, weigh them separately, and rebag them.

                                          1. re: mattwarner

                                            I use an all-natural soap and am not so concerned about it poisoning me.

                                            As for the sanitizer wipes and the cart handles, if all that is needed for produce is a rinsing, why are we sanitizing our cart handles also?

                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                              ..because natural things can't be poisonous?

                                        2. Yes, I always bag single veggies.

                                          1. I bring my own shopping bags with me, including mesh produce bags. I bag everything except bananas.

                                            1. Produce has been handled by so many people by the time it gets to my shopping cart, I really don't think sitting in the cart naked is going to make a apple much "dirtier" than it already is. I only use bags for things that are dripping wet, for very small items (green beans, mushrooms) or if I'm buying more pieces of an item that I can hold in my hands at one time.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: mpjmph

                                                I second this. It's already been through the worst so whatever happens in the cart and henceforth is insignificant.

                                                Besides, I really hate fussing with the plastic bag.

                                                1. re: mpjmph

                                                  Agreed with this. I do bag things that are wet but other than that, no.

                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                    "Produce has been handled by so many people by the time it gets to my shopping cart, I really don't think sitting in the cart naked is going to make a apple much "dirtier" than it already is."

                                                    Amen to that. I would add the thing I wish were more widely remembered: EVERYTHING WASHES OFF. Okay, not radioactivity or PCBs, maybe, but any ordinary crud from people's hands or the bins themselves. Anyway, in my case I don't use the cart or (usually) the carry baskets, just my own shopping bag (which is probably pretty filthy, too!), and as many others have said I'll bag up only otherwise-unmanageable multiples or floppy wet stuff, like leaf lettuce.

                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                      Taking risks in life is what makes it all so much fun! I love playing Russian roulette with the "dirty" and unbagged produce I bring home! :)

                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                        oh you rebel you.

                                                        :D

                                                    2. re: mpjmph

                                                      Ditto.

                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                        Yep. If it's wet, wildly leafy or otherwise particle-y like broccoli, or many of one thing I'll use a bag as a containment system, but otherwise I go bagless.

                                                      2. No, I do not bag single items, nor a bunch of bananas. I only bag something that may fall apart in the cart (bunch of carrots or herbs) or can't really be left loose (handful of green beans) or should be weighed together (three onions). I mostly shop at Wegmans, and they have scales all around the produce section where you weigh and tag your own produce, which I always do. I've actually been considering if they would let me carry a separate produce bag in my cart to put all produce into without separate bags, and just put all of the stickers on, say, a sheet of paper which I could then present to the cashier for scanning. While I do reuse the produce bags, I have wayyy too many of them, and if my supply was running low, I could just individually bag my produce on one trip to resupply. Maybe I'll try this next time.

                                                        I never worry about the weight of the bag, because the scales are tared for one bag. I don't worry about germs because I can only imagine how many hands have handled my produce before I got to it. And I always wash off my produce before using it. But I do worry about how much plastic I consume and am always looking for ways to reduce.

                                                        1. Assuming I am buying less than say, 4 of each item:

                                                          Don't bag: lemons, limes, onions, garlic, zuchini, eggplant, squash, apples, pears, potatoes

                                                          Bag: Any kind of greens, herbs, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. Basically, anything that will make a mess. I'm also of the mindset that most vegetables are handled by a bunch of people and put on a bunch of surfaces, so some time in my cart/on the conveyor belt doesn't bother me too much.

                                                          1. I bag pretty much everything. I'm not a germaphobe, but the thought of putting a tomato on the conveyor belt grosses me out.

                                                            1. We weigh and tag our own produce with bar codes at the store we go to. So, I put a variety of vegetables in a single bag and just stick the bar code stickers on the bag. Our store recently started selling reusable produce bags so we use those now.

                                                              1. Bag everything. Take bags from the produce section to bag up meat products as well.

                                                                1. OP Hammy here:
                                                                  Thanks everyone, this has been very enlightening & educational for me. I appreciate all of your replies. I asked the same question to some friends at lunch today and they were as varied as you (us) 'hounds.
                                                                  Thanks again!
                                                                  Hammy

                                                                  1. I try to bag as little as possible.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                      I agree, and was really surprised to see the majority here seems to bag most everything, including in small quantities. In the rare rare instances when I do bag something (and I buy a lot of vegetables at supermarkets, small groceries, and farmer's markets), I use these fabulous reusable bags from http://www.reuseit.com/store/bags-tot... The bags I've had have lasted me going on 5 years, so I highly recommend the small investment (great gift too!). Depending on where you shop, you might have to help cashiers remember to tare the bags, since in most regular mega-marts it's not that common for people to bring their own.

                                                                      1. re: erin_grogan

                                                                        I have some little mesh bags for produce, too, but I'm not as good about remembering to bring them when I go shopping as I am about my big canvas bags.

                                                                    2. It drives me nuts because my wife wants to bag everything (seems to be a hereditary malfunction). I don't understand the compunction, but I dont have any interest in putting things in bags, except those things that I know will dry out between our once/week shopping and the time I'll actually get to use it. If it will dry out, I will bag it. If it won't, I don't, and I'll let my wife use one of the reusable and washable bags if she happens to be selecting the item.

                                                                      1. I don't even bag multiples most of the time! I bring my own reusable shopping bags (EXCEPT when I'm running low on bags to use in my bathroom garbage cans... then I get a few of the free plastic ones from the supermarket) and put my groceries onto the checkout belt in the most anal-retentive way possible. I put them on in the exact order I want them going into bags (which is the reverse of the order I want to take them out when I get home), so if I'm buying three red peppers I'll just sit them side-by-side on the belt. I don't care if this ends up taking an extra thirty seconds of the cashier's time- I'm sure I save four times that by organizing my food on the belt, having my cards out and ready to go, having my own pen ready to sign the receipt, moving my own packed bags back into the cart, etc.

                                                                        Things I do bag consistently are tomatoes (prone to being crushed and bursting during my erratic drive home from the supermarket!), herbs (damp) and leafy greens (damp).

                                                                        1. It's never occured to me to bag a single item.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                            I shop at upscale "BentTrail" market here in Houston where we are encouraged to weigh and label our own produce for ease of checkout later. I tend to weigh the dry stuff (red peppers, fresh ginger, 1 onion) and slap the label right on the piece, but I DO bag the bananas. I find that they wind up with fewer dings from being transported, and look nicer in the bowl a day or two longer. I've never tried putting several different things in one bag, but from a cashier's perspective, this does slow them down. I also try to bring home the fewest number of plastic bags as I can. I throw out the wispy ones that come with the produce, and try to recycle the multi-item bags, but really prefer my own collection of canvas totes for this purpose. Save a plastic tree indeed!

                                                                          2. Truly single items don't get bagged (e.g. that one onion, eggplant, zucchini, grapefruit, etc.) Things in a single "bunch" are usually (not always) bagged (the broccoli, the head of romaine, the grapes). I don't typically reuse produce bags, as I have enough zip-locs, sandwich bread bags, and the like to last me.

                                                                            1. I almost never bag anything, except anything that's wet like romaine or herbs.

                                                                              1. i bag as few items as i need to

                                                                                1. I bag stuff even if it's already in a bag.

                                                                                  1. Just thinking this over, I need to add an addendum to my original reply.

                                                                                    I don't always bag everything.

                                                                                    I don't bag bananas (whether it's one banana or a bunch).

                                                                                    I don't bag melons (watermelon, canteloupes, etc.)

                                                                                    I don't bag pineapples

                                                                                    I don't bag things like papayas or mangoes

                                                                                    I don't bag whole durian

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                      What would you be trying to accomplish by bagging a durian? :-) It won't last...

                                                                                    2. i don't bag single veggies. if i'm buying 5 or 6 potatoes i don't bag those either. or bananas, broccoli, tomatoes, most fruit... lettuce i will bag. i bring in my own shopping bag (I have a bunch of TJ bags) and just put everything into that after paying (obviously packing carefully). Everything in the store has been handled by multiple people and probably dropped on the floor and putting it in a bag from the store to my house isn't going to make it any more sanitary. Just wash when you get home. I've never had a problem with veggies getting mushed or messy this way - it's not like those thin plastic bags are made of armor.

                                                                                      1. I don't bag anything at all except the occasional batch of small tomatoes or very dirty potatoes. Food doesn't get sprayed with water in the UK (what's the point of that?) - so there's no reason to use bags.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Peg

                                                                                          the misters keep the leafy stuff fresh for longer. And yes, it works.

                                                                                          (annoying, though, when you get caught under one. They're supposed to have an audible warning, but they're not reliable)

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            My supermarket has a loud thunder sound before it begins to "rain." I love it and it always but always happens just as I'm picking out my items. Then I have to stand there and shake the water off before bagging them. Don't mind it, life's too short to sweat the small stuff.

                                                                                            As for bagging single items; yes I do and while I've gone green and refuse to have my groceries packed in plastic or paper, I reuse the slim bags I place the veggie or fruit in when storing things in my crispers.

                                                                                        2. I rarely bag single items, or even multiples of large items. I don't even bag my fresh herbs.

                                                                                          Like other posters, I do bag my meat purchases. I figure if I want to keep my fruits and veggies clean, I need to keep meat juice off!! Most grocery stores where I live actually have produce bags by the meat, as it has become so common.

                                                                                          1. I bag 'em when the option is available.

                                                                                            1. I use as few bags as possible, only for multiples of small items or very loose items. Otherwise, everything goes into my cart as is. I've never seen the point in putting everything in it's own bag--it all gets washed at home. It just seems wasteful.

                                                                                              I do have a dog, so any bags that do get taken get re-purposed.

                                                                                              1. I've recently gotten into the habit of putting fruits & veggies directly into my reuseable shopping bags instead of using the plastic baskets. I'll use plastic bags for multiple, small or messy items and then I reuse those bags when I'm cleaning the litter box.

                                                                                                As soon as I get home from the store I hang the bags on the front door so they are put in the car immediately, ready for the next shopping trip. Now that it is warm I also have an insulated bag/backpack that I can put refrigerated and frozen foods in for the trip home.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                  I have to start hanging the bag by the door. I'm always forgetting it.

                                                                                                2. Yes to most things that have a regularly-scheduled blast from the misters (especially leafy vegetables), since they might otherwise get my other groceries wet. No to just about everything else. I don't have a need for the extra bags.

                                                                                                  1. I am one of those weirdos who use a cardboard box and put all of my produce in it while I am shopping. Every grocery store has them, but I keep one in my trunk with my shopping bags. It takes zero effort, and all of my produce is in once place making it much easier to put away when I get home.

                                                                                                    1. I bag all veggies in which you eat the outside (lettuce, apples, celery, etc.) but not items where the outside is discarded (avocade, onions, carrots, etc.).

                                                                                                      Like some other people here, I carry reusable grocery bags and put the items directly into the reusable bags as I shop. I used to be the only person I saw in stores doing this. Even if other people carried reusable bags, they kept them folded up in the cart. Now I see a lot more people taking items right from the shelf into the bag.

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: taos

                                                                                                        hmm now I've started thinking - all those items with thick skins such as oranges, avos, onions that we peel first, does anybody peel or cut off the peel first on one board and then rinse the fruit or vegetable and then transfer to another board to chop? Surely if the handling on the skin by gazillions in the store is transferred onto the peel then it's on the board? Or does anybody was the skins of onions and lemons before peeling or slicing? Obviouslyl not talking about potatoes and carrots which I peel with a peeler into the sink and then rinse anyway.

                                                                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                                                                          Actually, I wipe down all such produce with an antibacterial preparation after letting them sit for twenty-three minutes in a twelve percent bleach solution.

                                                                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                                                                            <does anybody was the skins of onions and lemons before peeling or slicing?>

                                                                                                            I do. I wash citrus fruits with dish soap; this keep them mold-free longer. And I use onion peels for stock, so yep, I wash them.

                                                                                                          2. re: taos

                                                                                                            The stores that I shop at have large signs asking that the customers "not shop into their own bags." Apparently there's a tendency to put the stuff into your own bag and then walk right on out of the store bypassing the rather important check out counter.

                                                                                                            Back in the 60s and 70s, grocery stores had little paper sacks for the items where the outside is discarded. For some reason, an era dawned with only plastic bags in the produce section.

                                                                                                            I bag multiples of produce but I never bag up items that will be peeled and that I purchase individually - like garlic and ginger root. I also reuse my bags once home so as far as I'm concerned, it all evens out in the end.

                                                                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                                                                              In Europe, it's the other way round - -you shop into your own bag because the store doesn't give you bags (they're available for sale, but never free)

                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                I'm talking about bags that I have brought from home. It's a growing trend in the U.S. However, our bags are solid, not the string bags that we used when I grew up in Germany.

                                                                                                                1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                  Yes, I'm talking about bags that you bring from home. And they're solid -- not string. Big ones -- big enough to hold roughly two old-fashioned paper grocery sacks full of groceries (unfortunately occasionally more than you really wanted to carry....)

                                                                                                                  It's completely normal to walk around the store, putting things into the bag you brought from home -- then either going through the self-serve checkout, through the self-scan AND self-serve checkout, or through the checkout with a hostess.

                                                                                                          3. Yes. I use the bags for litter box clean up, my roommate lets veggies liquify in the crispier so I like the barrier, it's also an easy way to differentiant between our purchases because we shop at different stores, and I've found that the bag help keep me from losing produce or forgetting it at the check out.

                                                                                                            1. I bag everything. Now, I realize that many hands have touched my produce and there's probably penicillin growing on the shopping cart handle, but when I get to that conveyor belt at check-out, I get the willies!

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                Why are you afraid of penicillin? Do you have a valuable bacteria collection that you're trying to protect?

                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                  Just alluding (in an apparently failed funny manner) to the probable mold and other microbes growing in the nooks and crannies, which is to say, it's dirty.

                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                    Oh. Then I have some terrible news for you regarding blue cheese & yogurt.

                                                                                                                    But yeah, carts are dirty. The world is dirty. That's why we have soap, and immune systems.

                                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                                      Really, I'm not a germaphobe, but I do practice prophylactic measures being in healthcare for a couple decades.
                                                                                                                      My point was... my quirk is that darn conveyor belt. It just yucks me out.

                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                        Oh, me too. There's always some mysterious used-to-be-liquid stuck to it. How can I protect myself against something I can't even identify? Is it orange juice? Feta brine? Unicorn blood?

                                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                                          but then we get all our shopping home and unload it onto the counter and straight into the fridge and pantry. I can't say I have ever wiped down cans and packets before they go into the pantry/fridge and yet I take them straight out to use without a thought of cleaning them before they go back onto my counter, handled, opened and used and finally eaten.

                                                                                                                          Some things are best not thought about!

                                                                                                              2. Although my house is magically sterile and perfect, I know that supermarkets are just about the dirtiest places on earth. Those cans on the shelves come from warehouses that have rodents who crap all over the place and are handled by people who don't wash after using the toilet. It just makes me feel better knowing that my lone avocado isn't going to be touching my can of tomatoes, even if only while in my custody. And I do need those plastic bags to scoop the cat box.

                                                                                                                1. Not at all - who wants fecal matter from untold amount of toddlers and babies on their zucchini?

                                                                                                                  That aside, if you're using the bags as storage once you get home, there's nothing to fret over. You re-use them, that's more than many, many others do.

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: JReichert

                                                                                                                    really? Toddlers and babies running free through produce departments, stuffing zucchini down their diapers and tossing it back on the pile?

                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                      I can't speak for JReichert's market, but I had a really harrowing experience the other day in a grocery store near my new house. There was something really gooey and stinky on the handle of my cart that ended up on my hand. I purelled the heck out of it, but I was seriously squicked out. It does make me wonder how whatever that was got there, because it was suspiciously like baby poo.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                        No argument, and agree it's nasty -- but there's a pretty wide gap between something nasty on a cart handle and babies and toddlers handling the produce before tossing it back on the pile.

                                                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                        I'm talking about children who sit in the cart - whether it's in the designated 'baby' area on top or in the belly of the cart - whom are filthy, and as those carts aren't washed by anything except rain, you'd better believe there are 'leftovers' all over your cart. If your posts are any indication, you live somewhere in Europe? and I assume thus have no disgusting ill-mannered American folks and their offspring junking up your grocery stores. : )

                                                                                                                        1. re: JReichert

                                                                                                                          no, just ill-mannered European folks.

                                                                                                                          The point is that children are not vermin, as some posters continue to state. While there are sad exceptions, the reality is that most are reasonably clean. They don't breathe contaminated air, and most of them wear clothes -- while I don't doubt that there are nasties on a grocery cart, I'm not buying that the average cart is any more contaminated than any other surface.

                                                                                                                          If you have citations to the contrary (peer-reviewed mainstream technical references, please, not hysterical screeching from people wearing foil hats) -- please post it.

                                                                                                                          Your produce has touched things at least as dirty, if not more so, long before any toddler was wheeled near it.

                                                                                                                          Farms are dirty. Processing plants are dirty. Distribution centers, delivery trucks, and the back rooms of grocery stores are all dirty. Grocery carts are dirty.

                                                                                                                          Putting your produce in a bag (other than small things that are hard to keep together) goes as far to keep the dirty stuff that's on your veggies from touching other stuff as it does keeping other stuff from touching your (dirty) veggies.

                                                                                                                    2. I'll bag vegetables, not counting lettuce or cucumbers or garlic. Fruit it really depends...Anything hard like an apple or a pear can just go straight into the basket. Kiwi fruit could maybe do with a bag, same with white peachs or any soft stone fruit.

                                                                                                                      But I acutally try not to bag them. I dont need to use a plastic bag on one apple.

                                                                                                                      1. i wouldn't bag a single vegetable, but my boyfriend is convinced that it's not hygienic for me to leave them outside of the bags since they touch the conveyer belt at checkout and the inside of the grocery cart. i've never had a problem with how i do it, but since it really bothers him i just use the bags. it seems wasteful!

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: jamieeats

                                                                                                                          Well, it's probably for the best that you boyfriend believes in taking prophylactic measures.

                                                                                                                          (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                            hahahah :-P

                                                                                                                        2. The only things I bag are wet items, like greens or lettuce that have been under the mister, or groups of small items (eg, small peppers, cherries).

                                                                                                                          Don't be deluded into thinking you are protecting yourself from germs by bagging produce. Just consider how many farmworkers are able to wash their hands with soap and running water after a bathroom break during the workday. Or how many of them get the day off when they have a cold or mild case of food poisoning. Probably not very many.

                                                                                                                          And that's saying nothing about all the other shoppers who have manhandled the food before you get to it. It never ceases to amaze me how people will cough or sneeze directly into their hands then proceed to shop for fruit and vegetables.

                                                                                                                          I honestly don't understand why we all can't agree to go back to the days -- not all that long ago -- when plastic wasn't even an option. Paper shopping bags, soda in glass bottles or cans, and meat, fish, cheese, and bread all wrapped in paper.

                                                                                                                          For a ridiculously minor convenience, we're squandering our grandchildren's future.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                            Yes, I bag them. My quick way of getting everything to the conveyer belt. My husband will get VERY angry with me if I don't bag each one.

                                                                                                                          2. If the produce has to be peeled, ie. bananas, garlic, onions, etc. and I am not buying more than a couple of the items they go into the cart without the plastic produce bag. If the item is not peeled, apples, peppers, radishes, etc. then they go into the plastic produce bag.