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  1. #1
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    grocery checkout with shop totes

    I have been taking re-useable bags to the grocery store for almost twenty years now, and where I live it's not all that common. So I've always had to provide instructions to the bagger folks: no, I don't want my chicken in plastic. No, I don't need my shampoo in plastic. No, plastic, please -- most of it is already wrapped in plastic!!!

    But when I got my Tom Bihn shop totes last summer, all of a sudden the baggers are like, "these bags are too nice to put meat in!" And they outright argue with me. I bought a bag of flour with a tiny hole in it, and I was like, "it's fine, I'll put it in this side pocket to stay upright..." and they were like "NO! YOU'LL GET FLOUR ON YOUR BAG!!!" I negotiated them down to putting a piece of tape over the hole instead of putting the flour in a plastic bag.

    I guess it's nice they want to be careful with my bags, but I just want to avoid disposable bags whenever possible (which is basically always).

    I also have to ask them to fill the bags ad go ahead and make them heavy, which they are reluctant to do.

    Does anybody have a grocery checkout strategy for helping the bagging helpers to use your bags???

    FTR, I lived in London last summer and did NOT have this problem there.

  2. #2
    Forum Member sturbridge's Avatar
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    I love my shop bags , but I would never use them for groceries, outside of maybe to a farmers market where I am only buying vegetables. I have cheaper ones I bought years ago that are made of cotton, and can be regularly washed (because that meat juice WILL escape). I'm on your baggers side, they ARE too nice for everyday grocery shopping. Sorry.
    Proud owner of: Pop Tote in cloud, Aeronaut 30 in steel/iberian, Travel Cubelet in Dawn, Travel Cubelet in Nebulous Grey , SE in steel parapack, SSB in black halcyon, Pilot in steel dyneema/steel, , Truck in Nebulous Gray, Small Zipped shop bag in black, Small Zipped shop bag in Dawn numerous pouches, 3D cubes, Q kits and straps, Cubelets and Ghost Whales!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lia View Post

    I guess it's nice they want to be careful with my bags, but I just want to avoid disposable bags whenever possible (which is basically always).

    I also have to ask them to fill the bags ad go ahead and make them heavy, which they are reluctant to do.

    Does anybody have a grocery checkout strategy for helping the bagging helpers to use your bags???

    FTR, I lived in London last summer and did NOT have this problem there.
    I live in California right now, so reusable bags are very common (and often required) so I don't run into resistance much here... I also tend to shop at places where we pack our own stuff into the bags...
    With that being said, maybe keep a couple small inexpensive washable nylon or leftover disposable plastic bags in the TB bags so that when they freak out on messy items, they can put stuff in there ....

    You can also try telling them that the bags are (hand) washable...

    Good luck!

    (and howdy hi Springfield, MA! I grew up outside there in Hampden)
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  4. #4
    Forum Member EmeraldYam's Avatar
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    I use mine for groceries every single time. They're absolute beasts, and wipe down easily. I've only had one bagger who was totally flummoxed by them: he insisted I would need more bags than the four I had brought, and almost made that prophecy come true with his somewhat inexpert packing of them. In general, I either find a cashier who I know is a good packer (they almost always comment on the brilliance of the Shop Bag), or offer to pack the bags myself (because I'm a sad adult who derives joy from packing groceries in the most efficient way possible).
    EDC: Side Kick/Medium Cafe Bag | WORK: Daylight Briefcase | GYM: Medium Road Duffel | TRAVEL: Smart Alec | EVERYTHING ELSE: Large Shop Bags

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post

    (and howdy hi Springfield, MA! I grew up outside there in Hampden)
    Holy cow, I live in Hampden, right on Main St. I work in Springfield. What are the odds??? There are literally only 5000 people in this town.

    Thinking maybe it'll be easier to switch to the grocery store with self check-out.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturbridge View Post
    I love my shop bags , but I would never use them for groceries, outside of maybe to a farmers market where I am only buying vegetables. I have cheaper ones I bought years ago that are made of cotton, and can be regularly washed (because that meat juice WILL escape). I'm on your baggers side, they ARE too nice for everyday grocery shopping. Sorry.
    I have gone through many machine-washable cotton bags, but they mostly fell apart after a mere six of eight years of regular use. The only one still in service since the beginning is a huge LL Bean boat tote I got like new from a Goodwill in the 90s when I was an undergrad. It's not pretty anymore, but it's sturdy as all getout. My Shop Totes are the only bags that come close to matching it in size and sturdiness, and they are WAY more comfortable for my now-middle-aged self to carry. I say, bring on the meat juice!

  7. #7
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    I get that with my LL Bean boat and totes at a grocery store that's only been open for a year. My strategy is to repeat myself over and over and over, no matter what reasoning they offer: "It'll wash, just throw it in there". Technically, the Bihn bags shouldn't go in the washer, but they don't need to know that.

    If one "pack it heavy" isn't enough, I point out that I carried everything to the register in the bags, so it'll all fit back in again. Obviously, that wouldn't work with a cart. There's one bagger who will carry on, so I revert to an endless loop of "pack it heavy". He gets sour and grumbles the entire time, but ultimately loads them up.

  8. #8
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    I've always had to provide instructions to the bagger folks: no, I don't want my chicken in plastic. No, I don't need my shampoo in plastic. No, plastic, please
    I have always had a reusable bag on me for as long as I can remember and I can't tell you how often the cashiers try to give me a plastic bag anyway, even though I tell them, "I have my own bag". I also let them know that I can bag it myself, thanks.

    Even at my local organic store, they are surprised when I don't put my fruits & veggies in one of those long, thin, greenish plastic bags. I don't want it, REALLY. Don't need it.

    Thought I would throw in a pic of my TRUCK, SCBFS and my other indispensable grocery shopping tools:


    grocery checkout with shop totes-img_0033-jpg
    grocery checkout with shop totes-img_0036-jpg
    grocery checkout with shop totes-img_0034-jpg
    grocery checkout with shop totes-img_0035-jpg

  9. #9
    Forum Member b1gsky's Avatar
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    In Germany you have to pack away your stuff on your own, they couldn't care less what you put it into. And if you want a plastic bag you have to pick one up yourself to place it on the conveyor belt and pay for it. I found it very strange the first time I was in a country where I had my groceries packed for me. So I guess it's easier for us! (We still have a plastic problem though.)

  10. #10
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    I always bring my TB large shop bags to the grocery store in Florida. I have to explain 3 times to put the bottles in the side pockets because for some weird reason the bag boy or girl gets swapped out THREE times during my checkout. I don't buy that much stuff.

    They always want to overstuff the bags, and I always tell them not to fill them so high. I don't want the bottom veg crushed, and I have a lot of bags, so I don't want them so heavy. I will overstuff if I didn't bring enough bags, though.

    I would put meat in a plastic bag, even if I brought that bag myself, just because E-coli is hard to wash off other items and the bags.

    I give my bags a bath every now and then, but it's a quick handwash, and they are not run through the washing machine.

    I always get compliments from the cashier and the bag boy or girl on how nice the TB bags are and where did I get them.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 11-28-2018 at 10:41 AM.

  11. #11
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    Except for one local chain (shout out to Woodman's if there are any Wisconsinites here) where they happen to do a really good job of bagging, I'd usually rather pack my groceries myself. I'm probably too picky about it, especially when I have different types of reusable bags, e.g. one from REI that holds two 12-packs of cans perfectly so the cans MUST go in there. Once I repacked in the cart before loading my car because the bagger didn't listen to me about where to put things.

    I've never yet had someone balk at putting any of my purchases into my Shop Bags, but I don't buy meat. I do get compliments on them quite often, especially when I demonstrate the pockets or flip the bags inside out to fit more.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares. ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  12. #12
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    I would tell the baggers that they're washable, and very sturdy so pack away. You could point out the padded handles for making heavy bags a little easier to carry.

    That said, no one ever comments on my bags when I hand them to the grocery store baggers. It's happened once in the past two years. No baggers use the side pockets either, I think they are in too much of a rush to notice them. This reminds me it's probably time to give them all a wash...

  13. #13
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    I think what tends to throw my local grocery store baggers is the quality of the bags. Most people around here still don't bring their own (boooo), but when they do, they tend to either be canvas schwag bags or those thin rectangular bags that the grocery stores often sell of indeterminate fabric content. (Likely plastic/Tyvek? They tend to shred when they rip.) Often I find people look at me like I've just dumped my luggage on the conveyer belt, rather than my grocery bags.

    No one ever believes just how much they'll carry, though.

    I do bag likely leaky things in plastic (like meat) first, but I try to minimize such things when possible or (when I have sufficient bags on hand) segregate the leaky-likely things in their own bag. I admit it sometimes depends on how lazy or not I'm feeling that day to wash/hose a Shop Bag down in the shower.

    One thing I can warn to all: Shop Bags, on a supermarket floor, are idiotically slippery. A few market trips ago, one of the bags (still empty) slipped off the counter and hit the floor next to me. Before I could react, I'd already stepped on it, and the next thing you knew, I was on the floor in a near split. (Haven't done one of those in years.) Slippery little buggers!

  14. #14
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Half the time I forget to bring my Shop Bags to the grocery store, ironically. (It's because I can't leave them in the car - even though it's a nice neighborhood we get people rifling through our cars about once every three months, and they are not going to get their hands on my LE Shop Bags, no thank you!). I * do * put my meat in a plastic bag before I get to the checkout counter - I like to use my Shop Bags for more than just groceries, and don't fancy getting meat juice on my books or outerwear. But I don't buy meat that often. (Also we have a puppy, so the plastic bags get used for puppy patrol after we get home with the groceries.)

    Strategies for packing SBs with groceries: I'm sure these are not unique to me. I try to strategically put things on the conveyor belt in the order I want them loaded - first, heavy things (cans, bottles) and uncrushables (I don't care if the carrots get dogpiled on the bottom of the bag). Then frozen/cold things - usually these are pretty sturdy as well so it's okay if they end up with the cans. I also color-code if possible - meat/wine go with the Iberian bag, produce etc. in the Wasabi bag. I don't usually buy more than two SB's worth of groceries - we are pretty close to the store and I find if I shop too far in advance, things spoil in the fridge, as I lose track of what I was planning to make.

  15. #15
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haraya View Post
    I try to strategically put things on the conveyor belt in the order I want them loaded
    I totally do this, too! I'm also the person at IKEA who makes sure everything goes on the cart with the barcodes "fronted" so the cashier can scan them all at once, quickly. Can you tell that I overthink my shopping experiences? (And that's before I get started on my customized lists for each different grocery store I go to, where the categories are in the order of movement through the store so I never have to double back!)
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares. ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

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