Grocery store etiquette question.
I have a few questions about grocery shopping.
Several times now when I have been grocery shopping during visits, a young man has taken my cart out to the parking lot and loaded my groceries into the car. I have always tipped the person who has done this $2 - $3. Is this an appropriate tip amount?
Also, while I appreciate this extra level of service, I am wondering if I am always obligated to allow someone to take my groceries out to the car for me -- or is this optional?
Often I don't have more than a few bags of groceries and really don't need the help. I also even sometimes have a husband along with me to help load the groceries into the car. Therefore at times it would be easier and quicker for me to simply handle my groceries myself.
I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the general custom is regarding this service. It is not something I have encountered before in other places.
I've found that the usual tip amount is $1. $2 if there is a lot of stuff. They are definitely optional if you can carry all the stuff by hand on your own. I don't think customers aren't allowed to use those hand carts, so if you have a lot of stuff, the baggers are your only option. It's a nice way of helping out my fellow youth.
We were wondering the same thing on our last trip. We had gone to one store (our first store) and maybe had less than 6 bags and when I went to reach for them the bagger told me I wasn't allowed to carry them out, that he HAS to. I thought that was pretty odd that you don't have an option. I don't mind when I have alot of stuff but when it's something I could handle myself, it struck me as odd. Maybe it varies by store...
Chances are that the bagger was eager to get a tip and figured you wouldn't know better. The stores won't let you use the outdoor carts. If you have just a few bags (or multiple people to carry what you've purchased), then you are free to handle your own grocery hauling. The baggers aren't paid a wage by the stores. All they make is whatever tips they can collect. I see most people give them $1-2. If you send them running into the aisles to find something you couldn't come up with before you got to the checkstand, you might tip them a little more.
I have a lot of respect for the kids who take on this role and are trying to perform a service and earn a little pocket money. They could be doing far worse things with their time after school. I do stop to wonder about child labor laws now and then when there is a new bagger who can't be more than 12 or 13 and can barely lift the case of soda or beer to put it on his cart. Most the baggers don't seem to last long in the role. I rarely see the same faces for longer than a few months. Perhaps some of them graduate to stockboys.
I would rather disagree with you when you say that the young baggers aren't paid wages. I do believe that they are "on the books" as minimum-wage employees since the majority of them are out of school and getting into adulthood and dealing with life in general (as in leaving school with a limited education but having the get-up-and-go to make a living for themselves.)
I applaud many of our local supermarkets in taking on disadvantaged and partially handicapped (either mentally or physically) youths, giving them basic training and instilling within them a work ethic.
There will always be some of the rough ones who think they can "con" a newbie shopper but they don't last too long.
Getting back to the tipping routine and general politesse, I've had some baggers put a minimal purchase of, say, twelve very light items into six bags into the cart in anticipation that I'll need to have them take it out to my car. Quite capable of hefting a few bags, I simply just grab them up, say thank you and am on my way.
Maybe some people on this board know of some supermarkets whose owners simply don't allow customers to take a cart out into the parking lot but I've never come across that circumstance and could only venture to guess that it's a basic "bagger scam."
The most that I ever have in my cart when shopping at supermarkets is a couple of cases and a bunch of bags and I always tip $1 period. The bagger bags my stuff and it takes him or her max 5 minutes to trundle the car to my cart, dump everything into my car and then return to the store with the empty cart to do the same routine again.
A good bagger can make a lot more money than I do and you'd be surprised at what they actually can make during a day.
I'll sometimes tip more to a bagger with a really pleasant disposition and I have a couple of tales to tell about baggers who went on to much greater things but that's for another day.
My two cents has run out - but it certainly was a good question and one that I don't recall having been asked before!
What the stores do might be different on STT than on STX. On STX, only the baggers can touch the outdoor carts. I've asked several of the baggers if they are paid other than tips and they've all replied that they work for tips only. Most of them are in school uniform on weekday afternoons. Certainly the morning/day staff must have stopped attending school. I have no doubt that some of these young men make a pretty good wad of cash during an afternoon shift. Two of the checkers were talking the other day after one was handed a tip by a customer and they were remarking that they only get occasional tips and the baggers often make more than they do.
This is probably one of the higher paying jobs these young men will find and yet most don't stick with it more than a few months. I wonder if they leave for another job and soon wish they were back bagging groceries.
ummmm.... as a bartender I love it when people come to see me at work but Iris, I might have to ask you to stay at home. It is a "store rule" that I have to serve people drinks, but does that mean I shouldn't get tips?
Life's too short to be cheap. I assure you that while people here have talked about how much cash these kids can rack up, chances are they're doing far more work everyday than you are and are still making less money.
I agree with DL, Tipping a young person for a job like bagging and taking your bags out to the car is really an opportunity to spend a few minutes with someone whom you could make a small but meaningful difference. I really take my hat off to those students who give it a try. Believe it or not the interaction these young people have with the customers helps to build the soft skills that employers are looking for. Many students laugh at those who take those jobs. It is really a challenge for those of us who work with kids to get them sold on it being ok to gain experience on the beneath the ground level and that it will pay off in the long run. There is alot of competition out there which suggest that there is a much quicker and more lucrative alternative means to achieving the things that represent success to them. AS we all know , those ways do not always lead to successful outcomes. So whether you tip $1 or $2 or none at all ( which I have had to do on a couple of occasions), make sure you tip them also with a word of encouragement. It might actually make a difference.
I agree. It all starts with our youth and saying thanks and being polite is such an easy way to let a kid know that you appreciate what he or she is doing. I understand that in order to work at Plaza Extra the kids have to show their report cards and maintain certain grades. Living by myself on the island I find it great to have someone get my cases of water to my car. Now if I just had someone to bring it into my house and put it away for me.