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The Chatty Bagger at the Grocery Store

I frequent a "high-end" grocery store in my area with high quality produce and meat, amazing flowers, and floors so clean you could eat off of them. I don't mind paying a little extra for all of the above, as well as amazing customer service (sample anything before you buy, special orders just for you, and they urge you to return bad produce).

Part of this customer service is expedited checkouts and young men who walk your groceries to your car (if you'd like them to). Each checkout stand has one person ringing up your food, one person bagging, and one person at-the-ready with an extra shopping cart in case you've picked up a few too many items or have wobbly wheels or need a hand to your car.

It might sound very bourgeois, but it really expedites your trip and makes last-minute runs to the store (in L.A.) much quicker.

I often do head there around 5:30 or 6 PM and just need one or two things--a steak, a few 'taters, etc. and I go to the 10 Items or Less lane since the store's always packed around that time.

Lately there has been a 50-something YO woman bagging in that lane who talks incessantly to every single customer about every single thing they're purchasing, the weather, their clothing, their kids, the news, the Oscars, newly released movies, etc.

I'm not a grump and I enjoy pleasantries as much as anyone else, but this woman yammers on to the point that the line gets held up, people are frustrated and literally dropping their groceries on the floor and leaving empty-handed. This woman is so happy and smiley that it's impossible to be rude. She will bag your groceries and hold them back behind the counter--out of reach--until she's done talking/playing 20 Questions.

First world problem, I know, but what would you do in a situation like this? If I wasn't in a hurry and was the only one in line, I'd happily indulge her. But after my last trip on Friday evening--where my bf was waiting for the meat with a hot grill at home, and there were 6 people in line behind me--I've just had it with this lady. I purposely got out my cell phone and called my dear mother during checkout (which I know is RUDE but I was trying to avoid the chatty bagger) and she STILL started asking me all of these questions. Including but not limited to what the "thing is" hanging out of my arm (I have a PICC line for IV medication).

I can't take this lady anymore. Someone help! I don't want to get her in trouble, but she needs to just keep it to "Oh I love your dress" or "This is great chocolate" or a simple "Have a great day."

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  1. It's sweet that you don't want to get her in trouble. By the sounds of things I imagine if you leave it long enough, someone else is bound to complain, if they haven't already.

    1. how about going to any one of the "regular" check out lines?
      in most upscale stores all the lines move along pretty well (i live in LA too).

      in my experience there is no percentage in assigning yourself to the position of sheriff in this sort of situation unless you get off on that sort of thing. . ..

      1. I had a thought - maybe you could suggest she be moved to a non-express lane? Then she will have more time for chattiness since there are more things to ring up. You could couch it in terms of: you're sure her friendliness is an asset to the store but maybe putting her on the 10-items-or-less checkout is not the most strategic placement.

        I'm sure there are some people who might be lonely or are not in a hurry who would appreciate her.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ursy_ten

          That is an excellent suggestion. I don't want to be the one to have her moved from her post, but it seems like the perfect solution. I guess it's kind of ironic that she's been placed in that particular checkout.

          1. re: ursy_ten

            I am sure they moved her from regular line to express...now she only has 10 items to talk about per customer vs 30 different subjects.

          2. "This woman is so happy and smiley that it's impossible to be rude"

            The nerve of her!!! I think as you stated a few times in your OP, the problem seems to be more with you than her. You are in a rush, you keep picking her lane, you choose this store and all it's amenities. You are complaining about a woman going overboard with trying to be nice!?!?! Personally I would love to have more people surrounding me in the world who's biggest fault is trying to be too nice.

            My advice, slow down a little in life, if you can afford to pay the premium of shopping there, a little extra gas for the grill won't break your budget. Slow down, smell the roses, enjoy a persons attempt at trying to be nice.

            If not try slipping her a $20. And tell her it's hush money for the next time you come in!

            11 Replies
            1. re: jrvedivici

              I can appreciate that the woman has the ability to chat with strangers. I actually enjoy friendly people, especially in Los Angeles, because they can be a rarity.

              TBH I'm not able to stand for very long, and have had an extended period of time where I wasn't able to do my own grocery shopping due to my poor health. I'm just now returning to getting my own groceries for the first time in about 6 months.

              So every trip to the grocery store is a big deal. I only have so much energy and strength to grab a few items and head to the checkout. I have had to get down on the ground to give my ticker a rest several times while waiting for chatty Kathy to finish her spiel. I've tried the other lanes but I can't stand long enough for an entire cart of groceries to be scanned and bagged.

              I wish I were able to "stop and smell the roses" but time on my feet is precious. There is one other employee there who talks a lot, one of the produce guys. If I am browsing the produce or stop to look around, he comes over and starts telling me about what's in, cuts up fresh fruit to give me samples, etc. I like him and find him extraordinarily friendly and endearing. In the past, I'll just kind of end up hanging out with him for a good 15-20 minutes. He likes hearing about all the things I make with his produce. But I think there's a time and a place for this--I'm in the middle of my shopping, looking at foods in his "section", so he offers suggestions and advice on what's good right now. If I'm in a rush, just grabbing some parsley on my way out, he can tell, and he just says "Hey, nice to see you!" and keeps it short. He's not standing by the door when you're ready to leave, stalling you for 5-10 minutes and holding up a line of people.

              I've worked in retail, food service, and my first ever job was as a barista. I'm friendlier than most in this city. But I do realize that when someone is in the middle of a meal, they don't want me hovering over them asking about their necklace. Or when someone comes in for their morning coffee, for instance, that they're usually on their way someplace. It's not rude of them to not want to engage in a 10 minute conversation while I hijack their latte... they're on their way to work or are just pissy without their morning caffeine. I don't take it personally, and I never thought it was my job to chat them up. Similarly, at the coffee shop, people would get to the register in the middle of "rush hour" and only then decide to start browsing the menu and pastry case, start asking all sorts of inane questions, holding up a line full of disgruntled Angelenos who still need to fight traffic to get to work. I think things like this are very self-centered, but that's just my opinion. People don't go to Starbucks at 7:30 AM to stand and chat. And people don't go to the "Express" checkout at a grocery store to dilly dally. IMO if people aren't in a rush, THEY can go to the other lanes and take their time.

              I know this all makes me sound like a real scrooge, and I'm really not. I just truly think that if you work in customer service, part of your job is also making good use of your customer's time and being quick but friendly. Maybe L.A. has more of a premium on time than other cities. I've lived here all my life and in all my various jobs, customers and clients are always happiest with polite but expeditious service.

              1. re: nothingswrong

                You are no scrooge!
                I'd say something. You will probably be helping untold shoppers.
                And not for nothing, but grocery shopping IS rather physical. Low back pain had me dreading emptying my cart onto the belt many times!

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  " I have had to get down on the ground to give my ticker a rest several times while waiting for chatty Kathy to finish her spiel."

                  If that is the case, then you just tell her "I"m sorry - I'm not feeling well, and I really need to leave. May I please have my groceries?"

                  I guess I'm not sure why NO other C/S person (checkout or bagger) or customer didn't notice that you were sitting on the ground while waiting for her to finish talking to you.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I was actually on the ground while she chatted up the 2 people in front of me. This was 2 trips ago--I have something called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) which essentially can cause a severe drop in blood pressure and skyrocketing heart rate when standing for too long. So I will start feeling my pulse rise fairly quickly and simultaneously start to pass out. I have to get down on the ground--both to prevent fainting (and hitting my head!) and also to try and get my BP back down and pulse to slow. Usually if I just sit or lie down for 5-10 minutes, it will pass.

                    The checkout lady did seem to notice me get on the ground. The bagger lady just kept yammering at the customer she was helping.

                    I've had POTS in varying "strengths" for about 4 years now, secondary to my gastrointestinal disorder, dehydration, malnutrition, etc. I have fainted countless times in retail stores, and the grocery store is the main culprit. I had to stop grocery shopping because I'd invariably end up having to lay down in the aisle someplace until the episode passed and I could safely get back to my car to sit for a bit. Interestingly enough, unless I faint completely (i.e. totally out cold), nobody seems to care or ask if you're okay.

                    With this most recent episode, while kneeling in front of the checkout, the only person to stop was a little boy, maybe 6 years old, who came over and put his hand on my shoulder and said "Are you okay, lady?" So cute.

                    This is why I said every trip out of the house is precious for me. I can conk out at any given time. So the extra few minutes it tacks on with this bagger lady means a potential fainting in the checkout line, and subsequently not getting the food I needed for that night.

                    1. re: nothingswrong

                      I'm so sorry to hear about your health condition.

                      A call to the store might be in order. I'd start off with the things you appreciate: "I love the quality of your produce, it's such a clean store, blah blah blah. While I appreciate the friendliness of a certain bagger I can't help but notice people becoming frustrated as she holds up the line with her excessive chatter. I myself often don't have time to stand and chat for 4 extra minutes". You can mention your health condition if you want.

                      That's how I'd handle it. Best of luck to you. :-)

                      1. re: UTgal

                        Thank you. I don't mean to troll for sympathy, it just is a fact of life that not everyone has the luxury of engaging in chit chat, for a variety of reasons. I would if I could!

                        I think I'll give them a call and mention it. I really do appreciate that this woman always presents herself with a positive and cheerful attitude at work, and I'd hate to "crush her spirit." If she just shortened it up a bit like someone mentioned elsewhere--timing it with the checkout--all would be well.

                        1. re: nothingswrong

                          And who knows, maybe she'll take the constructive feedback and curtail the chit chat to an appropriate level.

                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            Oh I know you aren't trolling for sympathy...I didn't get that impression at all. It's an important component of your story. Like you said, not everyone can stand around and chat for a variety of reasons. Health related, kid related, "I'm so hungry I could eat my hat" related.... ;-)

                            1. re: UTgal

                              I can tell you that there are many people with painful disabilities that you'd never know because they look "normal".
                              Again, food shopping is quite challenging to many, so efficiency is important.

                    2. re: nothingswrong

                      I'm truly sorry to hear of your health problems, and it seems now the tone of your story has changed a little bit.

                      I can't believe if;
                      " people are frustrated and literally dropping their groceries on the floor and leaving empty-handed " that management isn't already aware of her.

                      You certainly seem to think she is a detriment to the store, so if you do then go ahead and report your displeasure.

                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        Funny, but I find that kind of chattiness to be a sort of American trait. In Chile, or Uruguay, or Germany, or Poland--it's pretty uncommon to find people in commercial situations (shops) chatting with you as people are generally much more guarded and circumspect. I've had friends from other countries notice that Americans seem really chatty--they were generally pleasantly surprised.

                    3. I probably would have lost it on her when she asked about the PICC line. "Needed for medication because I am chronically ill" and "Not that it's any of your damned business" would have just been the start.

                      But if you're trying not to be rude, you can still go to a manager. Just tell them you don't want to get her in trouble, and that she seems like such a nice woman, but that she really does seem to be holding up the express lane, perhaps she could be assigned to a regular lane instead? If they're not aware of the issue, they can't do anything to remedy it.

                      1. "But this woman yammers on to the point that the line gets held up, people are frustrated and literally dropping their groceries on the floor and leaving empty handed."

                        Are you sure you're not exaggerating just a little bit. Because if that really is the case I blame poor management, not the chatty woman.

                        31 Replies
                        1. re: miss_belle

                          "people are frustrated and literally dropping their groceries on the floor and leaving empty handed"

                          I've seen this twice now, so I know it's not just me.

                          On Friday when I went, the store was very very crowded. Management runs back and forth trying to move things along, but they're "stationed" down by the regular checkout lanes.

                          When I went into line, there was one elderly man in front of me, buying a premade salad and half a chicken. Two items. He paid in cash. He was rung up, paid, and the bagger lady held onto his bag for (and I timed this according to my cell phone call to my mother) 4 1/2 minutes while engaging him about the wacky weather we've been having.

                          4 1/2 minutes might not seem like a long time, but it is when you're standing in line someplace for no reason. Try it next time you're out somewhere and at the checkout--just stand there for 4 1/2 minutes holding up a line full of people. I'm sure someone will prompt you to hurry up.

                          In that 4 1/2 minutes, 6 people joined the line behind me. The man behind me sighed and made noises. I looked back at him and he rolled his eyes. Another minute went by and he loudly dropped his shopping basket and walked out the door. The bagger lady didn't seem to notice.

                          In 4 1/2 minutes, 1 customer behind me left without paying, and 3 of them went running off to try other checkout lanes.

                          I agree it's an issue with management. I also don't know how often this woman works, but she is there probably 75% of the time I go lately.

                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            So what did the checkout person do while this woman was holding up the line on a busy Friday night? Say nothing?

                            And if you don't say something to management about it, your complaint here is invalid. Take control - ask management about it. If they say "That's the way she is - and she's the owner's cousin", then you have two choices - use another lane, or stop going to that store.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              The checkout lady in that aisle is interesting. She just kind of stands there until the bagger lady is done. It's a really weird dynamic between the two of them.

                              The checkout woman seems pretty ambivalent about her job. She doesn't engage in the conversations, but also doesn't try to hurry things up. She's just kind of got this blank stare.

                              I'll say something to management. I just wasn't sure if I was being out of line. I mentioned it to my mother on the phone and she told me I needed to "just go with the flow." I've mentioned it to my boyfriend and one of my friends, and they both said it would be really irritating. My boyfriend shops there too on occasion and he gets where I'm coming from.

                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                I do not think you should "just go with the flow", especially with your medical conditions. Seriously, shame on your mother for saying such a thing. You have real, valid reasons for not wanting to just stand around waiting for people to idly chit-chat your time away. You have every right to be irritated by this bagger's behavior and should not feel bad about bringing it to management's attention. She is literally putting your health at risk by making you wait while she prattles on willy-nilly.

                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                  Maybe the checkout lady's brain is scrambled from listening the bagger for 8 hours a day?

                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                    No, you really don't have to go with the flow. I read the title of this post and I was completely prepared to disagree with you, but inquiring about someone's medical paraphernalia is not acceptable. Unfortunately I think it's very unlikely that management doesn't know about this-as you continue to post I really suspect she's the mom or MIL of someone in the store and they're trying to get her off their hands, because I'm like the least confrontational person in the world and I would have gone straight to customer service if I heard someone question a customer about her PICC line. So there's no way it hasn't been mentioned.

                                    1. re: ErnieD

                                      Being related to someone who works there is the conclusion I've come to, as well. If this woman is causing this much of a problem, there's no way management hasn't been told or noticed on their own. There has to be a reason she's still there.

                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                        Could the reason be that the store encourages friendliness of its employees? From reading through this thread it would seem the OP has a rather special set of medical circumstances that even the slightest delay can cause major problems. I would dare to guess not as many people are as sensitive to the chatty baggage person as the OP seems to be.

                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          I am speaking as a very introverted/anxious person who does not enjoy prolonged interactions with strangers and might perceived as grumpy, so my opinions and observations should be taken with that in mind.

                                          That being said, the "holding the bags hostage" behaviour that the OP is describing is not friendly. In fact, I would consider that to be actively hostile.

                                          Now, again as an introvert, I wouldn't be inclined to take it to management. I would avoid her line in the future, and if that didn't seem to be possible without making my wait much longer, I'd have to shop elsewhere.

                                          Anyway. This doesn't have much to do with the OP's problem, so I don't want to drag it out too much. But there is a difference between being friendly and being an intrusive nuisance, and this woman seems to have crossed it.

                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                            Again I'm more of the nature to believe if the bagger is moving the bag to the side, to give the cashier more room to extend her arm with the change and receipt, this might be perceived as being "held hostage" by someone like you or the OP. (not being critical of either of you)

                                            As a you being a self professed social introvert I think many actions by social extroverts (like me) could be perceived as intrusive when that is not the extroverts intent.

                                            Make sense?

                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                              She is not holding the bag out of the way for the cashier. I'm not joking when I say the cashier is long done with her duties, and the bagger is still holding the bag/s out of reach of the customer while she converses.

                                              I'd estimate 50% of the time, she is conversing more or less with herself. Maybe half the customers I've been behind don't seem to mind, and do engage her in small talk, while the other half are as polite as possible (like I try to be) but obviously just want to get out the door. Which brings me back to another pet peeve--people who will stand at a register and return small talk for several minutes, ignoring the line of people behind them. I still think it's very self-centered.

                                              I'm kind of split down the middle between intro- and extroverted. I'm also quite socially apt and read people well.

                                              My opinion about this woman is that her focus is on talking to customers more so than doing her actual job (bagging groceries). She is not concerned with expediting the checkout process, so much as being "friendly."

                                              There's nothing wrong with being friendly and talking. My medical issues aside, I still think if you're working in a job which calls for speed, you should probably learn to make your chit chat speedy as well. It is possible to be quick and friendly at the same time.

                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                I'm not excusing management's failure to supervise this employee better, but am not understanding what is preventing the customer from taking the bags, putting them into the shopping cart, and wheeling it out the door.
                                                Normally, the bagger puts each bag into the cart as soon as it is full; it sounds like this bagger is not doing that. Does she yap for 5 minutes, THEN load the cart? If so, the customer could load it. She's not tugging them away from you, is she? Once I've unloaded my groceries onto the belt, I go to the bag end and start loading a bag whether or not a bagger has already begun. In one store, where I know the baggers do a lousy job, if I have a lot of fragile or perishable items, I've had the bagger unload onto the belt while *I* do the bagging.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  Yes, in a normal grocery store, I do the same as you. I'll bag my own and usually get it done quicker than they do.

                                                  This particular Gelson's firstly doesn't "allow" the customer to bag their own. They have assigned baggers at each checkout, and they do not leave their posts. EVER. On the one occasion in 4 years that there was no bagger in my aisle, I gladly jumped in to bag and was immediately overtaken by a bagger who apologized profusely. I said "No problem, I can finish up" and she just butted in and took the bag from me. I think Gelson's must have a really strict policy about this for them--to never let the customer bag themselves.

                                                  As for this particular Express aisle, the bags and bagger are not at the end of the checkout like other aisles. The bagger and checker are BOTH behind the counter, so the bags are out of reach of the customer.

                                                  Yes, this bagger will literally bag your groceries and hold them BEHIND the counter while she talks to you. It would be impossible to grab the bag from her without coming around the other side of the counter.

                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                    Then, coming around the counter is what I'd do. And if the store is as dedicated to pleasing the customer as you indicate, I'd tell the manager, or whoever else objected, that I want to bag my own order, and that's THAT. Some stores can be TOO eager to please, and I suppose we shouldn't gripe about that, but I once had a friendly dispute with the guy in the wine section at Trader Joe's. I mentioned that I hadn't yet had the varietal I was buying so he told me to be sure to bring it back if I didn't care for it, because TJ's wants customers to be happy. I said I only return items if they are spoiled or somehow defective, never because they aren't to my particular taste, and I don't think anyone should return something just because it turns out they don't care for it. He practically pleaded with me, again, because they want happy customers. Maintaining a breezy tone, I ended the exchange by telling him I *wouldn't* be happy if he kept trying to persuade me to do something I didn't think was fair to the store.

                                                    Around here, baggers are usually teenage boys who pay zero attention to what they are doing. I can ask to keep the perishables in a separate bag, but it's not happening.
                                                    If I haven't bagged the order myself, I sit at the front of the store and re-bag before leaving. If the manager asks what/why, I explain. Also, if I have an order too large to get into the house in one trip, nonperishables will need to stay in the car until the next day. I usually forget but what I really would prefer is that the bagger just put the items, unbagged, into a different cart, from which I'll put them into the reusable bags I always bring.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      That's funny about TJs. I also find it extremely strange to return items just because I don't like them. I've never done it, even though they urge me at TJs pretty regularly.

                                                      Ironically, I used to buy these little shelf-stable juice box-sized cartons of soy milk regularly at Gelson's. Then one day, I went to open one up which I'd just bought and it had an expiration date of over a year prior.

                                                      So a few days later, I brought it back to the store, found the old manager, and showed it to him. He proceeded to tell me there was "no way" I could have gotten it from his store, or that it must've been sitting in my house for years and I was mistaken. Wrong on both accounts. I didn't have excess soy milk in the house, just would buy more when I used up what I had.

                                                      He didn't offer a refund, exchange, or even an "I'm sorry." He seemed to be a total grump in general, and I was less than pleased. Don't care much about wasting the $4, but it was the principle of the thing, especially at a store like Gelson's where they cater to the customer.

                                                      He disappeared a while back and they have a new one who's much friendlier.

                                                    2. re: nothingswrong

                                                      at which, exact, gelson's is this taking place?

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        Oh gosh, I don't want to say and get this poor woman in trouble.

                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                          Say!! Say!! Say!! Let the head(s) roll!!!! You have to say!!

                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                            ....sez jrvedivici, button-pusher extraordinaire. ;-)

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              I've never met a button I haven't wanted to push!

                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                You were that kid in the elevator, weren't you? ;-)

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  You really don't need to use past tense when saying that.

                                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                                    Please understand I'm not looking to argue with you or anyone, I just like to explore different options, that's all. It seems as if you speak from vast experience with this store/person. I find it very hard to believe it's a relative of the store's manager etc. because if it was I doubt a person of that position would allow a family member to be as obstructive to customers as you claim she is. (people dropping their groceries on the floor and walking out?!?!?!) There is NO-WAY a business could stay open with management that bad, they would allow a relative to piss off customers to that extent.

                                                    Just out of curiosity, I think I remember you disclosing the name of the store in this thread. (Yes I'm too lazy to re-read it to locate it) More than knowing the name is this a chain store or a large mom -n- pop grocery?

                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      It's a chain. Gelson's.

                                                      I wasn't taking your comments as argumentative at all. It had occurred to me a while back that she might be a relative, but I doubt it. I agree management is either not noticing or unconcerned.

                                                  3. re: jrvedivici

                                                    Oh, I get you. I know that not everyone is trying to ruin my day. :p Some people just aren't good at reading cues in body language, tone, etc. and ending a conversation when someone is obviously uncomfortable or in a hurry.

                                              2. re: Kontxesi

                                                Another possible reason that management knows and tolerates the situation is that the employee could have some protected legal status that makes firing or even disciplining her nearly impossible.

                                                For years (and I mean many, long years!) my regular grocery store had a checker that was impossible. She was slow, she would ask intrusive questions about items being purchased, she would have ridiculously lengthy conversations with people, etc. It was obvious store management knew she was a problem as they put her in the housewares checkout area, which had much less traffic than other areas.

                                                Finally, she disappeared and was gone and didn't return. I discretely asked another checker (who happens to be the daughter of a friend of mine) what happened to her. She got fired for the sixth time, but this time it stuck. Local management had tried over and over to fire her for her poor performance and bad customer service (complaints all the time). Every time, the union would get involved, cite the fact that she had some disability (I am guessing a mental illness of some sorts because she always seemed completely able-bodied but her behavior was erratic). The reason that her final firing stuck was that she did something so outrageous that even her union couldn't defend her. She called a customer the n word...yelling and screaming it at the woman because the woman pointed out a price error. She also threw in other very inappropriate racial commentary and stereotypes.

                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                  if that, or being family, is the reason she stays, a 'reasonable accommodation' would be to have her do food demos and be an 'ambassador' for whatever the heck is on sale or sponsored that day.

                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                    <reasonable accommodation>

                                                    So she could go somewhere else in the store and throw the 'n' word around again? Or other 'inappropriate racial commentaries at someone she got mad at?
                                                    No. Disabled, mentally ill or whatever…
                                                    These people don't need to be out in public, in a working environment, offending people.

                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                      I was referring to the OP's chirpy PITA, not Jhinwa's example of someone clearly unstable.

                                          2. re: nothingswrong

                                            Oh, you really should complain. This is quite disruptive.
                                            If the bagger can't be managed to perform efficiently, then perhaps this is not the right position for her.

                                        2. I suspect checkers or other customers have already commented on her behavior if she chats as much as you state. If it happened consistently to me, I'd speak to the manager and let her/him know that while the bagger is generally friendly and polite (arm thing notwithstanding), she is too talkative. Presumably the manager can tell her to restrict the conversation to reasonable levels.

                                          1. My market is near my home and is the way you describe where you shop. There're alot of places like this in LA, from my experience.
                                            Everyone knows the regulars and their names and I love the place I go to. There are only a few checkout stands and I've got my favorite checkers. We always go over (quickly) our lives since the last time we saw each other…always being mindful of others in line if there are any.

                                            How about going to another line so you don't have to endure the 'torture' you describe? Personally, if it were I, I wouldn't put myself through what you seem to be having such a hard time with…there are other lines with different people checking? She's chatty, you're not. There ARE people who love the kind of employee you're talking about and look forward to the conversation. Finding a checker (if you're a regular you'll know who they are) can't possibly be that difficult?

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              I do go to the other lines sometimes. It's just when the store is busy, the regular checkouts have people with carts packed to the brim. I guess it ends up taking just as long to wait behind one of those than going to the express checkout with all the chatting. So maybe I will give up on the idea of an expedited checkout during busy hours altogether!

                                              I'm a creature of habit and frequent the same places for my groceries, coffee, etc. and am also on a first name basis with employees and staff in many establishments around my home. I too like that and appreciate the service. But you said "always being mindful of others in line if there are any," and I think this is key. I work as a freelance artist from home, and there is a ma-and-pa type art supply store near me. Whenever I go in to pick up supplies, the woman behind the counter and I get into very long conversations about what projects I'm working on, or just how our lives are in general. When someone comes to the register, I scoot over and she rings them up, we take a pause from our conversation, and once they're out the door, we start up again. I think there is some etiquette to be had there, you know?

                                              The bagger lady can either keep her conversations short, or she can ask the customer to come stand at the end of the checkout to continue talking while the next customer is able to checkout. It doesn't seem complicated to me.

                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                Do they have self checkouts in your store? Because they seem to go the fastest, and there is no chance of chitchat. Which is probably why they go the fastest.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Not in this store, no. I think because part of their whole "thing" is catering to the customer and doing everything for you.

                                                  I do love the self checkouts and always use them at the other grocery stores. I'm in and out of there in no time. In another life, I should've been a grocery store checkout/bagger :)

                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                    I usually avoid the self check outs at grocery stores because I buy a lot of produce and don't want to look up each code and weigh when the checkers know most off the top of their heads.
                                                    It also bugs me to do this service myself when i feel as a customer, I should be helped.
                                                    If I've got just a handful of items and little to nothing to weigh, I'll go through self check out.
                                                    But, that's just me!

                                                2. re: nothingswrong

                                                  <But you said "always being mindful of others in line if there are any" and I think this is key.

                                                  I'm sure you've traveled outside LA and found differences in other areas of the country/world.
                                                  LA is a different breed, no question, I've found. As in any big city people tend to focus on things other people don't have to…like surviving in a hustle bustle climate where getting from point A to point B can be a major headache with stress involved that really isn't healthy.
                                                  When I'm rushed I will continue to always be thoughtful of the person in back of me who has 1 item opposed to my 20. I know the other person's time, in back of me, is just as precious as mine. I hurry it a little bit more if there are others in back of me tapping their foot, while I'm checking out, to get out of the store. I don't linger as long at the counter, although I'd love to hear about checker Jimmy's weekend. All this time I'm thinking about the other people in line.
                                                  I don't see this attitude, of being mindful of others, alot where I live. It's a dog-eat-dog area and the focus is mainly on ME/mine. When I hold the door for someone (even though I'm a woman) people look at me with shock, however they act grateful.
                                                  When I don't experience any of these things reciprocated I just shrug my shoulders and think 'oh well'….
                                                  With this woman you're upset with I'd calmly tell her I have to run and thanks for the great service. She's, most likely, got alot of others who're just plain excited to stand and talk to her 'until the cows come home', without one ounce of concern of the others in line.
                                                  It is what it is. Oh well. :).

                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                    Yeah, I really feel like an Angeleno with this post. I know in other parts of the country (with exception to NYC maybe?), people are like "Whoa, calm down, just talk to the lady for a few minutes." But it's just not the culture here in SoCal, unless you're down by the beach on a Sunday afternoon in the sunshine or something. IME growing up here, in "the city" people are pressed for time. And I know Angelenos don't have the friendliest reputation, but I think there are tons of super friendly people in this city--especially in low-level jobs--who enjoy what they do and want to chat with you while they're doing it.

                                                    The fact is, when I go to the grocery store, I'm there to get food. Maybe my primordial pea brain takes over, but I'm just wanting to get in and out and get home and cook. Maybe I get pissy when I'm hungry, I don't know. It's just not really one of those places I want to hang around and chat. I do on occasion with the produce guy, but I wouldn't if (for instance) others needed him for something.

                                                    And I agree with you of course about having people in line behind me. It would never occur to me in a million years to hold up a line full of people so I could chat with someone. I just think it's super rude and self-centered. Same goes for blocking the entire aisle with my shopping cart, or walking really slowly in the center of a busy sidewalk. I've been told many times I'm more aware of my surroundings and others' feelings than most; in my mind, I don't know how others are so spaced out that they don't see these things or make room for others. We all have to live together on this planet, let's make it enjoyable for one another!

                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                      This makes me think of when I moved to "the South", being from the NE, it was a bit of culture shock to me!
                                                      A local grocery chain hired seniors to do bagging and gratis (no tipping allowed!) take your cart and load your car.
                                                      Very nice service, right?
                                                      It drove me NUTS at first!
                                                      I'm all "go, go go!" and this was seriously slowing me down and cramping my style!
                                                      I'd avoid that particular chain if I had a big shop to do, and usually go when I knew I could just grab my couple of bags and politely decline their help loading my bags back into the cart, and then walking the cart to my car, and then loading my car.
                                                      I've since taken it a few notches down, but I know exactly what you mean by shopping is just shopping.
                                                      Bada bing, bada boom!

                                              2. You have absolutely no obligation to respond to her, beyond a curt nod, certainly not to answer personal questions. And you have a perfect right to complain to management about delays.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: mwhitmore

                                                  Yes, this. If you keep answering her questions, she's likely to ask more.

                                                  1. re: mwhitmore

                                                    I think all decent people feel an obligation to respond to one an another - it's a basic test of decency actually.

                                                    1. re: caganer

                                                      Sometimes, in a social situation. Others, as they say about misbehaving children, "Don't encourage him'. The OP describes a situation that I would experience as verbal assault, intentional or not. I think the most polite response to rudeness is to ignore and pretend it didn't happen. In this case, not responding and saying "May I have my groceries, please?" Repeat as needed.

                                                      1. re: caganer

                                                        I consider myself a decent person and I ignore people all the time: The guy who asks for money outside the subway station, the clipboard kids hawking their causes on the sidewalk, the twitchy guy with a sob story in the train station (same on as last week, incidentally), the rando guy who asks me my name as he walks by.....

                                                        As for this specific situation, the OP is not an "indecent" person if she doesn't want to answer personal questions about her appearance. It's not rude to deflect rude questions.

                                                    2. As a side line, we get this type of individual service all over Florida. It is called Publix.

                                                      "Can I have my groceries, please?" You do not need to respond to anything from her. You do not have control over other people's actions to her. You can certainly give management your feelings about this employee.

                                                      Have a nice day.

                                                      1. Ooof. I came in here prepared to tell you to lighten up but this lady sounds really over the top. Ditto tcamp, hopefully others have already said something to the management.

                                                        Keep us updated!

                                                        1. The PICC line comment is over the line. Otherwise is just like shopping in North Carolina or Florida.

                                                            1. re: beevod

                                                              Why would the OP invite her home if she doesn't like all the blah blah blah and why would you assume she's lonely?
                                                              I think you're joking a little, right? :).

                                                            2. Sounds like Gelson's to me, although I've never had a bagger withhold my groceries until the conversation (her part) was terminated.

                                                              I'd speak with the checker as my first point of contact. They do hire some challenged employees that sometimes don't always understand their conversations are not appropriate.

                                                              1. Honestly, I think you need a little assertiveness training! Lol

                                                                There is nothing rude or wrong about telling her you don't want to chat right now-and you need to leave... Now. Thank you for asking, but I need to leave right now. I really must leave now please, just place the groceries here. Thanks so much. Etc.

                                                                If you do it politely and repeatedly, then she will be the "rude" one in the equation. You will be highlighting the fact that she is purposefully delaying you to get her own social needs met (which she is doing). There is no benefit *to you* in her yammering to you, when you don't want it. She is just skillful in having you believe she is the friendly, polite one. Turn the table with being assertive, keep it friendly and courteous.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                  This is what I've been doing. She doesn't seem to get it though.

                                                                  I'll say something short and polite, "Thanks, but I have to run!" or "Yes, I had a wonderful weekend, thanks, but I'm in a bit of a rush!" and I hold out my hands for my bag. Always smiling, no hint of irritation in my voice.

                                                                  This works just fine for me, but she still engages with every other person in line.

                                                                2. I get it.
                                                                  One local store has a chatty checker and he just yammers incessantly about anything and everything.
                                                                  Fortunately, it doesn't slow him down, so i just nod and say "uh huh, yep" every once in a while.

                                                                  1. I'll withhold any other comments at this point, but you gotta let me know, what's a "YO woman"? My searches and thoughts suggest that it's a pretty pejorative term.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: miss_belle

                                                                        Thank you. As you might imagine, there are some pretty offensive explanations out there for the phrase.

                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                          Sorry! I did mean "year old," and should have typed that out.

                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                            I'm glad he asked. I didn't know what YO meant either. While we're on the subject, what does "TBH" mean in, "TBH I'm not able to stand for very long..."?

                                                                              1. re: UTgal


                                                                                (I would have never guessed in a thousand years. Thanks.)

                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                  Sign seen behind a couple of bars (one in LA, one in the Gold Country):


                                                                                  (If I tell you, will you by me a beer?)

                                                                    1. I'm on the opposite coast..............
                                                                      The biggest regional supermarket chain, and the only supermarket in our town, has baggers at each lane. They are chatty.
                                                                      I don't let it bother me, and even engage them.


                                                                      Because the chains hires the handicapped. Everyone of these baggers is an adult who is mentally challenged. Years ago these baggers would have been locked away in an institution or stuck at a repetitive machine job, never having social interaction with the rest of everyday society.

                                                                      I am happy to chat with them, even if it adds a few minutes to my shopping time.

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                        I agree, we have the same. Very nice people !

                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                          That's nice. There are 2 chains here in SoCal that I know of (Vons and Albertsons, both Safeway companies) who regularly hire handicapped baggers, stockers, or parking lot shopping cart wranglers and I think it's wonderful.

                                                                          When I go to the Albertsons near my home, there is one man who does all of the above. The first time I encountered him, he followed me to my car and told me I was a "very pretty lady." I admit it frightened me a little because he walked up directly behind me, in between the two cars, and scared the bejeesus out of me when I turned around to see this 6 foot tall linebacker sized man standing directly behind me. But he is friendly as hell and starts dancing when he sees me. He also does his job well and is very attentive and helpful.

                                                                          If this bagger lady is mentally challenged in some way, then I apologize for my ranting, but I don't think she is.

                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                            "If this bagger lady is mentally challenged in some way, then I apologize for my ranting, but I don't think she is."

                                                                            If that is the case, I'll repeat it yet again - speak to management. Your CH name is "nothingswrong" - but obviously, there is something wrong if this situation discomfits you.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              Agree, the OP can't be the only one put off- the bottom line is dollars and the store is losing them.

                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                Sometimes we must loose a few dollars for the greater good.

                                                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                                                  Have you read the OP's health condition?!
                                                                                  This goes beyond a little inconvenience.
                                                                                  I can tell you from decades of treating patients with various diagnoses, grocery shopping can be very difficult on many levels.
                                                                                  I'm all for access for everyone, but this is not the way to go about it.
                                                                                  There is no greater good in this case, The greater good would be to fit this person, or any person, into a job that better suits their skill set and limitations.

                                                                          2. re: bagelman01

                                                                            I have found these folks to be incredibly conscientious workers who are *not* chatty, but concentrating on doing their jobs. Good for them, good for the employers.

                                                                            1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                              It's a nice tax write off too, last I heard. Win/win on all counts.

                                                                            2. re: bagelman01

                                                                              This was my very first thought. Mr Rat and I have become friends with some developmentally disabled grocery baggers that we know from Mr Rat's comics fandom - we see them every year at NY Comicon, and sometimes at Chiller. It's made me notice how commonly mentally challenged people are working as grocery baggers.

                                                                              "If this bagger lady is mentally challenged in some way, then I apologize for my ranting, but I don't think she is."

                                                                              It might not be easy for you to determine this even if you met her in some other context where you were not feeling impatient, annoyed, and physically exhausted.

                                                                              But I do agree you should say something to the management, both for your sake and for the bagger's sake.

                                                                            3. I would definitely talk to management. You can even call. If another line isn't available, I would really tone down my friendliness towards her with only the slightest smile and eye contact and say something like, "I'm in a big hurry." Then I'd start bagging my own stuff to emphasize my intent.

                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                              1. re: MrsJonesey

                                                                                I did bag my own stuff one time only. The look on her face was one of incredulous horror and shock. I said something like "Sorry, I'm just in a big hurry."

                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                  I bag my own stuff sometimes too. I usually say something about how I am neurotic (only about bagging) and not to mind me. Depends though. I want the least shift in my bags.

                                                                                  Now I do scan as you go so i just need to scan the sticker and pay at the end. So much less stressful for me.

                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                    You have a scan as you go service? How does that work? That would make shopping so much more convenient.

                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                      When you Go into the store you scan your bonus card and get a little gun to scan with that has a holster on the cart. Our produce area has always had scales and sticker printers because most cashiers don't know the items and it makes things faster. You scan and bag as you go so you can set up maloti ole bags in your cart right away. At the end you go to a special checkout lane and scan a bar code to show you are done and then rescan III bonus card. The computer downloads the list and then you pay as you normally would. It is set to randomly audit you periodically. Meaning the checkout monitor will come to you cart and scan a few things in your bag to audit. Maybe 7 things, less than a minute. If you pass you get two dollars off your order if not nothing happens unless you are a repeat offender. I love it. They still have lots of checkers so no one is out of a job. It closes at 10 pm even though the store is open 24 hours.

                                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                                        I'm a very honest person (and would be mortified if I didn't pass by something I did accidentally) but wouldn't people be tempted to throw something expensive down at the bottom of the bag so that it wouldn't likely get chosen for the audit?

                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                          I'm too honest to "accidentally" drop something in there without scanning too, but I'm sure people must steal things on occasion.

                                                                                          I wonder what the incentive really is for the store to institute this policy. Surely it must work out financially in their favor, even with the occasional sticky fingered patron.

                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                            They had that scanning system at one of the stores I used to go to, and I always wondered the same thing. After a while, they started sending everyone through regular lanes (instead of special lines/self checkout) and checked purchases more and more often (no discounts if you passed). It looked to us as if they were more and more concerned about stealing. They eventually stopped using the scanners so I guess they were losing money. They still have the scales/sticker printers in the produce area. I like those. You always know exactly how much the produce will cost before you get to the register.

                                                                                            1. re: damara

                                                                                              It has been several years with the self scan. Doesn't look like they are getting rid of them anytime soon.

                                                                                          2. re: DGresh

                                                                                            They dig arounnd not just stuff on top. I think they tell them to do a mix of cheap and expensive to really check.

                                                                                          3. re: melpy

                                                                                            What a smart idea! I would so appreciate that option. I recently began ordering every household...personal and pet *essential* online. Because all of the lifting off the shelf...onto conveyer belt.....off belt.....into cart and on and on takes too much time. I want to enjoy my food shopping not get a *power work out*.Now I get to explore new ingredients...shop for good food and enjoy myself again.

                                                                                        2. re: melpy

                                                                                          I always wondered about those; how do they keep people from tossing a pound can of lump crab meat in without scanning it? I figure at least with the self-check the machine is *trying* to weigh what you put in (though at Home Depot that *never* seems to work properly)

                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                            Where I shop the bagging scales at the self checkout are incredibly sensitive. If I put my reusable shopping bag onto the bagging area without first pushing the "I have my own bag" button on the screen, the on duty "cashier" receives an alert. I can't proceed until they remove the alert.

                                                                                            Also, ditto on whoever it was about avoiding them when having produce. It's a pain in the a** to look it up.

                                                                                            1. re: UTgal

                                                                                              yeah, I hate the produce. Sometimes I get the wrong produce (organic, when it wasn't, or large grapefruit when mine are the medium, or something like that) and I just say the hell with it and pay it anyway.

                                                                                              1. re: UTgal

                                                                                                Yes. Clearly they weight things and are aware.

                                                                                      2. People really drop their groceries and leave? Really? And the checkout clerk doesn't say anything to the bagger?

                                                                                        OK, how would I handle it? First, tell her you're in a rush to get home to your family to cook dinner, and second, speak to the store management about it. Tell them that while you often enjoy chatting with her, there are times when you are busy, or she's asking personal questions you aren't comfortable answering.

                                                                                        There is absolutely no reason for her to hold your bags hostage, and it is personally invasive of her to ask about your PICC line.

                                                                                        ETA: I had also thought of stores hiring challenged folks as baggers, and failed to mention it. Usually, however, I'm aware of that fact, be it a physical attribute or the manner in which they speak. I give a lot more leeway to them.

                                                                                        But since you didn't state whether this bagger is challenged, the only thing I can think of is speaking to management or using another checkout line.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          The bagger may be somewhere on the spectrum, not noticing how her chattiness invades people's time.

                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                            Yup. There's a WF I frequent that has a young man in his mid-30s or so like that - very chatty, but he's also very aware of timing, and ends his conversations when your stuff is bagged. Or finishes bagging before you're done paying, tells you in a bright cheery voice "have a great day - and enjoy your dinner!" and moves over to another lane to help bag there. I'm cool with that. But he's never on the express lane.

                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                              What a nice way of describing someone! I know exactly what you meant! To so many of people on the spectrum these jobs mean so much to them! Give them a break!

                                                                                              1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                I can't tell the tone of your post.
                                                                                                If anyone is not a good fit for a job, they need to find another place or position that better suits their skill set, or undergo further training.
                                                                                                Frankly, this doesn't sound like a good fit, if indeed the supervisor is aware of this bagger's disruptive behavior.

                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                  I am sorry I didn't make my self clear... We should all have to take sensitivity classes to recognize those less fortunate than ourselves. I trained ppl on the spectrum for over 30 years..... from pre K to adult.... It is darn hard to place everyone in a perfect position, like I said, give them a break!
                                                                                                  I f she is such a problem , they will move her at some point or TRY to retrain and possibly adjust her meds!

                                                                                                  1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                    Wow, so it's the customer's problem, I see.
                                                                                                    I've worked in healthcare for decades and am as sensitive as they come. I'm not being defensive, I just think I'm willing to face facts and act in the best interest of those actually suffering and being inconveniences over and over and over again.
                                                                                                    That's not fair.

                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                      I do not disagree with you. If she is a problem, she should be moved or retrained. I did just now read about POTS, I hadn't earlier and I would have responded differently if I had. Empathy goes both ways however. I am glad I don't have POTS, I would be afraid to leave the house and have to deal with those problems.In a perfect world both sides would be able to be accommodated. I wish the best for all involved. The store manager will have to make a decision taking into account many variables. I do not think that anyone can expect a store to guarantee a speedy checkout at all times.Too Many variables. Cheers!

                                                                                          2. Shopping at the hours between 5:30 and 6:00 is the worst time to do grocery shopping. I avoid it like the plague. Go early when they open I'm sure it will be easier.

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: emglow101

                                                                                              Very right on that one! Sometimes you just remember last minute you "need" something, but I guess it's never a real emergency.

                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                Wait, toilet paper, milk and bread are not an emergency before any given snow storm??

                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                  You forgot beer, but only if you live in the NE and never saw a snow storm before....LOL

                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                    You forgot eggs. Because apparently snowstorms call for French toast.

                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                      I do like to have milk, eggs and TP. Bread I don't care about. I can make a heck of a lot of food with eggs. Milk is my drink of choice after water.

                                                                                                    2. re: monavano

                                                                                                      With all the snow we get in L.A., I can't say I've ever been in said situation.

                                                                                                      But seriously, sometimes a grocery run does just seem like it's necessary RIGHT THIS SECOND to get dinner done, amiright?

                                                                                                      And that always seems to be at 5:30 or 6 PM on a weekday.

                                                                                                  2. re: emglow101

                                                                                                    My neighborhood market is two blocks south of a major private university. It is a small store with great deals. The beer is right in the little produce section. I have to literally push the cute little university boys out of my way to get past them because they gather and just stand there staring at the wall of beers lovingly unable to make a decision! It never fails. I die laughing inside every time this happens to me. Too cute!

                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                      My brother stares at the wall of beer at the grocery store. He's riveted, and lives in PA.

                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                        Granted there are a few older men who hover but most of them seem to know exactly what they want, so not a lot of longing stares.

                                                                                                  3. How about: With a very nice and genuine smile, hands out ready to take your groceries, say, "I'm sorry I just don't have time to chat today." She'll get the message, and then say, "Thanks. Have a nice day."

                                                                                                    1. Surely West Coast supermarkets have motorized ride-on shopping carts. It sounds like you need to use one. I have chronic cardiac and orthopedic conditions that make milling around and standing for more than 10 minutes very tiring and painful.. For years I soldiered through doing my shopping on foot, with occasional on-line delivery orders for major stocking up. But a year or so ago I finally gave in and started using the motorized carts.
                                                                                                      What a difference! I make better-reasoned choices in purchasing, because I can take the time to compare labels and prices, and I am not housebound for the next 2 days because the pain of walking is too much to bear. I buy more when I go to Costco (every few months) because I can cruise the aisles, noticing items that aren't on my list. Usually I can fit everything into the basket even though it's smaller than a regular shopping cart. But if I know it will be too much, I get the nonperishable stuff first, transfer it to a shopping cart near the service counter, and tell them that I will be back for it when I complete my shopping. Regardless of store, I have always found the staff very helpful. They always ask if I need help getting to my car, which I do not. Most places don't allow the power carts out of the store, so they'll load your bags into a regular cart while you return the power cart to its spot and plug it in, or if you prefer, they'll accompany you to the power cart area, pushing the shopping cart beside you.

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                        Sometimes the motorized carts don't work. 3 years ago (almost exactly to the day) I broke a bone in my foot and was on crutches for a few weeks, and couldn't put my foot down. A friend took me grocery shopping and at the first supermarket we went to, none of the carts worked or were charged. We complained to a manager but still had to go to another market to get my shopping done.

                                                                                                        1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                          It sounds like you had an unfortunate one-time experience that has no real bearing on the predicament of the OP, who has an ongoing disability.

                                                                                                          Fortunately, that has not happened to me so far. If this happens on a continuing basis, a complaint to the regional office is in order. If it isn't powered by a car battery, it's common courtesy to plug the cart back in when you're done, but not everyone does and store managers should check on that.

                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                            Actually it happened another time a few weeks later but by then I was able to put my foot down so I hobbled along using a regular wagon. (I was on crutches or used a cane for almost 2 months.) I am sorry for your ongoing condition that makes it difficult to walk and am glad you are able to find the assistance you need when you venture out.

                                                                                                            Agreed, if the motorized carts are frequently out of order, then a discussion with the store manager is in order, followed up by a complaint to the regional office and any other regulatory authority if necessary.

                                                                                                        2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                          Thanks for sharing your experience with this. I was just talking to a friend who is disabled about those carts, and he said he always uses them and I should give them a try.

                                                                                                          They actually don't seem to have them at this particular store. I looked for them briefly the other day but didn't see any; maybe they have them at special request.

                                                                                                          For the last 6 months, I've been ordering online, which has been a lifesaver. Don't know where I'd be without it! But it would of course be nice to just pop in for something I forgot, and the selection online is quite limited (and prices can be outrageous--I paid $8 for a 5 lb. bag of flour once!).

                                                                                                          I used to LOVE going to the grocery store just to kill time and look at all the different foods too. Now, I dread every time I pull into the parking lot.

                                                                                                          I'm sure some of the bigger name chain stores have those motorized carts. Perhaps I'll have to find a new store to shop at, and just suck up my pride and get on one. I'll be the first to admit that being a 20-something female has stopped me from getting in one even though I need it.

                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                            I was going to mention this too. Pretty much everyone has the motorized carts, you just have to know where to look. Ask at the courtesy desk next time. Although they are VERY popular and often they're all being used.

                                                                                                            I wonder sometimes if people are just joyriding, they don't seem in any rush to return them anyway. But 99% do remember to plug them back in, that's common courtesy.

                                                                                                          2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                            I am not at all familiar with the concept of a motorized cart, and I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Anyone who I know that uses a push-walker or motorized scooter, brings their own along for shopping.
                                                                                                            [although, to be honest, when I am at Costco, sometimes I avoid the cart, pick up the 5 items I need, and then carry on through the checkout line]

                                                                                                          3. Boy, I must have had time on my hands to read through this thread (or want to), but given that I did, here are my own thoughts for what they are worth.

                                                                                                            It seems as though there is a sort of self-fulfilling issue here --bagger wants to chat, but people run away, so bagger holds groceries "hostage" which only makes shoppers more eager to get away, which causes bagger to be even more aggressive about holding bags hostage, etc. (Reminds me of a really bad non-relationship relationship I had once :-) )

                                                                                                            The best solution from what I have read of this thread is mentioning the issue to the management, in the same way that you described it in your post. You are clearly not hostile, and do not want the bagger to be fired, but you do have a completely legitimate complaint (maybe simply say you are aware that other shoppers are bothered by it rather than say that they have dropped their groceries and left).

                                                                                                            If you discuss it with management in a constructive-criticism sort of way, there is no reason to think you will be causing the person to be fired or "in trouble" in any meaningful way. The manager could talk to the bagger to keep conversations short, or at least, not insist on conversing with those who do not wish to; the manager could move the checker to the regular line, or give her 2 lines to be responsible for (less time to chat); perhaps the manager could have the person do something completely different.

                                                                                                            If the bagger has other issues as several people here have speculated --mental, emotional, whatever, it is almost surely the case that the management knows this and already has or will account for it. Moreover, the manager is almost certainly not going to fire said bagger just because of your one-time complaint. If said bagger loses her job, it would be the result of several complaints and/or a clear failure to follow managerial instructions (after accounting for "other issues").

                                                                                                            I might also make a point of entertaining the bagger's desire to have a conversation when you have time (and the line behind you is short). If she learns you are the sort of person who will engage in a chat with her when you can, perhaps she will be more willing to let you free when you can't. Sort of undoing the self-fulfilling aspect of it. (Or maybe not, but worth a try.)

                                                                                                            In any event I would absolutely NOT discuss the problem with the checkout person. It is not that person's job to worry about personnel problems (unless they are the manager), and it is not your place to make it their concern.

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: MagicMarkR

                                                                                                              "Reminds me of a really bad non-relationship relationship I had once..."

                                                                                                              This made me laugh!

                                                                                                              Thanks for taking the time to read and reply. That's an interesting observation about the self-fulfilling theory. Reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry says "My uncle always grabs your arm when he's talking to you. Probably because he's so used to people trying to get away."

                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                This whole thing would make a great Seinfeld episode.

                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                    Jerry will do the least politically correct option ;)

                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                      I so miss that show. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is my new favorite.

                                                                                                                      If I ever run into Jerry here in L.A. (hasn't happened yet!), I swear I'm going to corner him and run this situation by him.

                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                        I'm sure he will be so grateful for the idea. This never happens to him, no doubt.

                                                                                                            2. You were in a big hurry so ( I say this because I know your true kind hearted nature from your other posts) your annoyance was amplified. Her query regarding the PICC is a big clue regarding the bagger and her inability to respect *normal* personal boundaries. You and I both know that was outrageous for her to address something that personal to you or any other customer. Most markets have *customer suggestion/complaint* forms. Fill one out. I would personally just stop in and speak to the manager face to face because their goal is great customer service and the bagger just needs to be counseled to be quieter while working. BTW the baggers@Safeway where I often shop ( beautiful clean store) are worse than that! But I love the store so I tolerate their inane chatter chatter chatter:)

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                I forgot about those suggestion/complaint boxes!

                                                                                                                Yes, it is a bit invasive to ask about the picc line, but to be fair, I get asked about it almost every day that I'm out of the house. Strangers stare at it constantly when I'm not wearing long sleeves. I have it all covered up with gauze and these mesh picc line covers so there are no visible tubes or plugs but then they'll ask what the gauze it for. It's gotten to be a major nuisance. I try and answer their questions succinctly by saying "It's a medical device" or "It's an injury" but people ALWAYS want to know more.

                                                                                                                I guess I could say "none of your business" but when I tell them "it's an IV," that shuts them up just as quickly!

                                                                                                              2. I would let it slide. The most I would do is get in another line. I like a little conversation with the checkout people. If there's too much of it, it's an insignificant problem.

                                                                                                                1. She may be "friendly" but asking questions about your medical condition is just plain rude. You're doing her no favors by not telling management. If she doesn't modify her behavior she'll be out of a job.

                                                                                                                  1. Pick one:

                                                                                                                    "Me lo siento mucho, pero no hablo inglés…"

                                                                                                                    "Sumimasen ga, eigo hanashimasen…gomenasai."

                                                                                                                    "Jag är ledsen, men jag talar inte engelska…."

                                                                                                                    "Are you talking to me? Are you talking to ME?"

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                      Ha! Everyone here speaks Spanish so I'll have to go with the Japanese.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                        I vote for the De Niro. Nobody f*cks with De Niro unless they wants ta swim wit da fishes.

                                                                                                                      2. There is a grocery chain in our area that hires the handicapped (mental and physical) for bagging. Could this be a factor? Maybe observe her more closely next time. The chattiness and lack of boundaries could be indicative of someone dealing with a challenge of some sort.

                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: dulcie54

                                                                                                                          I'm no expert but I really don't think so. She seems very competent and put together, is married with kids and young grandkids (from what I gather from her conversations) and overall just seems like one of those women who likes to talk and be talked to. We all have an aunt like her; she just says some things on occasion that are too personal for the situation she's in.

                                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                            Out of curiosity, may I ask which grocery store you're referring to? I'm in LA too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                              It's a Gelson's.

                                                                                                                              OMG please don't tell me you're the chatty bagger! I would die of shame, but at least everything would be out in the open.

                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                  Oh, you're the nice lady who comes into my lane around 5:30 - 6:00?! I love you! I think we should get together for a chat.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                Sometimes, just being assertive and honest is really the best thing. Just ask her why on earth would she ask you these things? Or, you have no desire to talk to her about personal or medical issues. Just bag the groceries, thanks so much!
                                                                                                                                I have encountered these *boundary -less* folks too....a lot..really. You really can shut them down politely. It sounds like you are trying to be kind and not hurt her feelings. But really, telling the truth is okay. It is honest feedback and maybe she needs a bit of that, or she will eventually lose her job due to complaints.

                                                                                                                              2. re: dulcie54

                                                                                                                                I've experienced many mentally handicapped baggers in markets in So Cal but none of them were checkers.
                                                                                                                                You're correct about 'lack of boundaries' being a common factor but the population isn't usually working with money or ringing up a person's order.
                                                                                                                                That's been my experience, anyway.

                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                  This is about a nagger not a checker. Apparently the checker in that lane just stands there and let's her do this.

                                                                                                                              3. Is the store truly high end, or is it "high end"?

                                                                                                                                1. I have nothing physically wrong with me, but I have been stuck in a line when the person ahead (or several people ahead of me) obviously knows the checker or the bagger and take off an engage in a long conversation. Completely oblivious to the line stacking up behind them, polite coughs, people leaving the line to go stand in other lines. Usually when I'm in a hurry, of course. So I do feel for the OP. When I'm the only one in line, I don't mind the friendly conversation, altho if they were asking me about my medications or some such I'd bristle up I imagine.

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                    this occur(s) at a GELSONS, an upscale chain where there are always PLENTY of checkers/lines open.
                                                                                                                                    the manager's desk sits right in front of the checkout lines and as soon as there is a wait, another checkout stand is opened.

                                                                                                                                    i shop at the MDR gelsons twice a week, and have been doing so since it opened (i think about 25 or about 30 years ago--it's been so long).
                                                                                                                                    (one day last week i was there twice in the same day!)
                                                                                                                                    the only time i saw any real line there was when we had the LA riots and panic hit the streets. i remember seeing people waiting in line at gelson's with their carts full of lobster and champagne and bottled water.
                                                                                                                                    when i lived in the valley, i shopped on the one on ventura blvd at least twice a week, and NEVER had a wait.

                                                                                                                                    now, i really don't know what to make of your beef.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                      I just hope the new owners of Gelsons don't change a thing.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BubblyOne

                                                                                                                                        certainly don't want them changing ANYTHING about their terrific customer service!
                                                                                                                                        also, don't want them to change the victor bene bakery in the store.
                                                                                                                                        would love it if they added a gelato bar like they have in the Gelson's in century city.
                                                                                                                                        also would love it if they were to expand their selection of organic products.

                                                                                                                                        gelson's is my go-to supermarket.
                                                                                                                                        they really coddle their customers.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                          I agree, Gelson's is still the best IMO. Haven't been to the one in CC since they added a gelato bar, but I grew up in CC and that was where mom (and us kids) did all our grocery shopping for 15+ years.

                                                                                                                                  2. You know, some of us should get together and design a Chatty Bagger doll...

                                                                                                                                    1. If you're really in love with the store, talk to the manager. We have a cashier at the grocery closest to where I live who tries to talk to everyone about God in some way, and it bothered me. I tried avoiding her line but sometimes all other lines were full and she's completely open and waving me over. Became tough to avoid, esp. when in a hurry. I finally said something to the store manager. But the lady still asks a lot of questions and chats in a way I don't enjoy. I honestly go out of my way to avoid shopping there now.

                                                                                                                                      Your focus in shopping IMO should be on getting the things you want to enable to you eat and live. You have a medical decision that makes shopping very tough because of the time on your feet. Just go to Ralph's or Von's and shop where there is a motorized cart and be done with it. If it's not this cashier, it can be other things that will hold you up and make life shopping at this store physically too challenging for you. JMO.

                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                        That's interesting about the God-talking cashier. That would NEVER happen here in L.A., lol. Someone would probably sue.

                                                                                                                                        I have been avoiding the grocery store in question for the last couple weeks. I will go to Ralphs or Vons with the carts most of the time now I think. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                          Oh dear, this happened to me not too long ago when I had to make an emergency stop at a grocery store in a sketchy area of town.

                                                                                                                                          They had an employee stationed at the exit checking the contents of everyone's bags against their reciepts (!). Adding insult to injury, or injury to insult, after passing inspection the woman asked me if I had heard 'the good news of His salvation' or something to that effect. I replied with my standard 'Why yes I have, thank you for asking!' delivered with a big smile, then a quick dash for the door.

                                                                                                                                          Worked like a charm as it always does but I won't be going back there again!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: thingmaker

                                                                                                                                            That is bizarre about checking the receipts at a grocery store?! At Home Depot, I get it, but at a supermarket...

                                                                                                                                            Not to offend anyone, but I've come up with a surefire way to get out of those situations with people preaching... There are a lot of Jehovah's witnesses in my neighborhood the last few years. They're always the sweetest old ladies, though they're quite aggressive.

                                                                                                                                            They'll ask me if they can come in and talk to me about their Lord and savior, and read their book. My response now is "Yeah, come on in, but let ME do the talking. I have a God I want to tell you about."

                                                                                                                                            I've never once had them take me up on the offer.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                              Our BJs checks every receipt at the door, is not done everywhere?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                They do that at Costco (my store is Nashua NH). I told them that I consider it an insult, not that the person doing the checking is the person who made the policy. The excuse the checker gave me was that they were making sure none of the customer's purchases were missing from the cart. Yeah, right. It would actually be difficult if not impossible to sneak an item that was already in your cart through the checkout. I think all they are really doing is making sure you have a receipt and aren't just headed out the door without paying for anything. They check that a few of the items in the cart match the receipt, so it's not easy to just pass someone else's receipt off as the shoplifter's own.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, I think they do this at all Costcos. I understand in a place like Costco, where they also sell very expensive items, like electronics and power tools and whatnot.

                                                                                                                                                  I don't know if BJs sells big ticket items as well; we don't have BJs here. But I would definitely find it strange at my local grocery store... What am I going to "smuggle" out that's worth the extra manpower checking receipts at the door? A filet? Some crab legs?

                                                                                                                                                  A lot of the grocery stores and pharmacies here in L.A. do keep a security guard or employee milling about the alcohol aisle. I look young for my age, and even though I don't drink, I've been stopped while walking through the alcohol section several times or eyed suspiciously. Once a couple years ago, a security guard at CVS told me to "keep walking." I was 27 at the time and told him to mind his own damn business.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, BJ's does the same receipt check. Since they have self-checkout lines, I believe that's a way to avoid things being left in the cart and not passed over the scanner to ring up the charge.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                      we're getting OT, but at a large grocer near me, the cheap liquor gets the security caps and the expensive doesn't. the poor clerk always needs help from the manager to get the stupid thing off. and if I were going to shoplift, I'd go for the premium.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                        similar thing at the large grocer near me.
                                                                                                                                                        the expensive liquor gets locked up and, if you want to buy it you need a PERSON to retrieve it for you.
                                                                                                                                                        the cheap stuff sits on the shelves with a security cap.

                                                                                                                                          2. talk to the manager.

                                                                                                                                            or if you don't want to do that (but you should), just smile and say, "i really can't chat, i've gotta run. thanks!" and she persists? "really, i must go" with that expression on your face of "i'm indulging you with a slighter smile 'cause you're getting annoying now."