Life as a bag boy

Reading in Past Times this weekend about Barb Scafferi’s job at the movie theater when she was a teen brought back memories of one of my teenage jobs – bagging groceries.

My official job title was utility clerk, not bagger, that way they could get you to do pretty much anything.

Cleaning up the bathrooms was one of those things, which is probably why it doesn’t bother me to clean the bathrooms at home to this day.

I was also in charge of cleaning up any broken jars or messes in the aisles. It seemed like every week there would be several broken baby food jars in the baby aisle. I guess those things are slippery or just they fall into the wrong hands and eventually shatter on the floor. One of my most salient memories from working at a grocery store is picking up those tiny pieces of shattered glass from the floor.

Most of the customers were real nice. Every once in a while you would get customers that either watched you bag like a hawk to make sure you didn’t smash their bread or wanted to bag their food themselves.

I was also in charge of rounding up the carts outside in the parking lot, which was only tough in the rain. I did get a handful of change as a tip one time from a lady for helping her in the rain.

I want to make sure you know this is not a grocery store around here; it’s one in Illinois just in case you started guessing which one.

Overall, it wasn’t too bad of a job for my first ever job. I learned how to interact with all types of people and made a little money.

Break time was also fun working in a grocery store because I had a world of food open to me to munch on. I would love to buy frozen garlic bread and microwave it – which kind of sounds disgusting – but as a teen it didn’t seem too bad.

I often worked late into the night at the store and that sometimes brought with it an inebriated shopper or two.

One time, we had a couple of drunk guys convince the night manager to give them the keys to those motorized carts and they had the time of their lives riding around the store. I can still picture their huge smiles and glossy eyes as they scooted around the store.

To this day, I don’t know how they got those keys from the manager or how they didn’t wreck those carts.

Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or