I’d always thought of supermarket packers as being a uniquely 1950s America thing – in old movies there’s always a middle-aged man (usually just out of prison) packing groceries into paper bags. We British spurn such profligate behaviour – we didn’t make it through the Blitz by having someone else pack our shopping for us, and anyway, it has to be done a certain way.
Thus my heart sinks a little when I walk into Sainsbury’s and each checkout is manned by a teenager with a bucket. Usually it’s a school group fundraising for a trip, hoping their offer to pack your bags will result in a small donation.
I support their enthusiasm, I really do. Here, have £2 to take the school jazz band to Sweden, just don’t touch my shopping. I organise it by size and weight and which cupboard it’s going to end up in. Also, there are girl things in there. And most importantly, if there’s an adolescent packing my shopping, what am I supposed to do?
- Give directions, like I’m their mum
- Organise my handbag
- Interrogate them on where my money’s going
- Play with my phone
- Stand there and watch, like some kind of bag-packing overlord.
It just all feels a bit uncomfortable, and I’ve yet to find a way to say “I’ll give you a donation, but I’d rather pack myself” without sounding a bit passive/aggressive. Suggestions please.