When it comes to bagging groceries, technique can be surprisingly important. If you aren’t careful about the way you handle the grocery bag, you could make the unloading process much harder for the customer… and they’re bound to think about that as they’re going through the long and laborious process of getting everything put away! Getting groceries bagged is the last customer service interaction of the day any time you go to the supermarket, and it’s one with long-term implications. Not only must the bagger be quick and courteous, but he or she must follow best practices in bagging groceries. Some mistakes are so dire they can seriously damage the customer’s goods! Let’s look at five of the most serious peeves when it comes to the grocery bag:
1) Not Offering Grocery Tote Bags
These days, the choice between paper or plastic isn’t enough. Plastic bags have a negative impact on the environment and are a lot less sturdy than their paper or cloth counterparts, despite being easy to carry. Reusable grocery tote bags can provide a much more organized and stable bagging experience and will help the store to reduce its waste and, ultimately, its expenses. Many customers prefer these totes, so be sure they’re available and encourage their use.
2) Eggs on the Bottom
This is my personal biggest pet peeve! Fragile items need to be safeguarded and kept away from larger, heavier things that could crush them. While it is important not to overload bags with the heaviest items, you need to make sure that fragile items are kept at the top of the load. Use a small amount of heavier items to create a “base” where your more fragile items can keep steady. Ensure that eggs, fresh fruit, and other small perishables are arranged carefully.
3) Frozen Items in Every Bag
As soon as a customer gets home, he or she will want to unload cold items and put them in the freezer. This is especially critical in the case of ice cream and certain other frozen foods that can spoil if left out for as little as a few extra minutes. Make sure that every frozen item is consolidated into one bag whenever possible. Never make the mistake of distributing frozen items across many bags, even if that’s how the customer unloaded them from the cart.
4) Poorly Staffed Checkout Lanes
In The Grocery Store Pet Peeves that Drive us Crazy, Houston Press blogger Katharine Shilcutt notes that grocery store shift changes often take place during the busiest time of day. To avoid slowing down or even closing down lanes with shift changes, organize your schedule in a way that accounts for the patterns of foot traffic at your store. As the manager, be ready to jump in and open an extra lane at any time. Don’t just wait for more cashiers to get there!
5) Unclear or Incorrect Pricing
By the time an inaccurately priced item gets to the checkout line, the damage here is already done, but consequences are usually felt throughout the line. As What’s Your Biggest Grocery Store Pet Peeve tells us, people will often refuse to buy any item that does not have a price on it. Since price checks can add minutes to the checkout experience, be sure that prices – including sale prices – are regularly updated and clearly available to everyone.
BONUS: 6) Not Helping the Customer to Their Car
Most stores allow baggers to help carry the bags to the customer’s car. As seen in The Art of Bagging Groceries, this can be every bit as important as proper bagging techniques. Make sure baggers remember to ask each customer if they would like assistance – although they may sometimes be turned down, the extra customer service “boost” is worth it. When loading a customer’s car, pay special attention to items that can roll – make sure they’re “boxed in.”