when box boys were great

Not long ago I checked in on Facebook at my local supermarket and made the following comment:

Checkers and baggers don’t know how to properly fill a bag anymore. By gum, when I was a box boy we knew how to do it right, dag nab it!

I was surprised by the number of reactions I got. But it’s a sore point for me. I have some history there.

Alpha Beta signI was a box boy in high school. I first worked at Village Market, one of three stores owned by the Goodwin family of Crestline up in the San Bernardino mountains. I  then worked at the chain store Alpha Beta, which I enjoyed. There were several of us Hemet High seniors who worked there and we took pride in what we did. We developed a rhythm of keeping one hand in the bag to place the item while filling the bag with the other. Of course this was when we used paper bags. That technique was not possible with the advent of the single-use plastic grocery bag. Fortunately the voters in California last year voted to ban those single-use bags.

That means that people bring their own bags of different shapes and sizes, which, as one commenter suggested, is perhaps confusing the staff. But as I replied, “Put me at the end of a checkstand and I’ll fill each bag properly, no matter its shape or size.”

How hard can it be? Neither checker nor bagger seems to understand that if you put the milk and juice in first the other stuff will fit around it. But it’s easier for them to leave those items out of the bag. Over at Sprouts they have the same problem. They don’t understand how to position my frozen entrees so that everything else fits in the bag as well. sigh (Although I have to say that the fellow at Sprouts on Sunday did a really good job. I was impressed. I wish that was the rule and not the exception.)

But back in 1970-71 at Alpha Beta store #74 in Hemet, we knew how to bag groceries and how to bag them right.


2 Comments on “when box boys were great”

  1. Tahoe Mom says:

    I have a hard time getting the weight distributed correctly. They put the heavy stuff all in one bag. I have to carry it up lots of stairs and I would rather have three bags of the same weight than one that weighs a LOT and two that don’t. Sigh. Hard to get that to happen. Although women seem to understand it better than men do. Sorry about that, Mike, but that’s my experience.

    • If that’s the case you would have appreciated the box girls (this was the 1970’s – just barely) at Alpha Beta: middle aged women who very effectively held down the fort mornings and middays until we guys came on duty after school.


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