Monday, December 12, 2011

The lost art of competency

When I was growing up the local Lucky Supermarket mostly hired mentally challenged people to bag the groceries. It was one of the two jobs where mentally challenged employees were routinely seen, the other being working at McDonald's. This is still a fairly common practice although it seems to be less prevalent as it was in California. In all the years of having my groceries bagged by a mentally challenged fella I can count on one hand the number of times they screwed up. For the most part they have always done an excellent job; bags not too heavy, double bagged if even sort of heavy, heavy stuff on bottom, light things on top and food separated from hazardous things. I bring this up not to give kudos to baggers I have encountered in the past, although they do deserve a tip of the cap. No, I am discussing this because 94% of the time that I have had someone with an IQ in triple digits bag my groceries they have thoroughly failed at their job.

The Jewel that I frequent does not appear to employ anyone as baggers except for lazy ass teenagers and idiotic old women, so the success rate is hovering around 6%. Bagging groceries is not a difficult job. There are 4 or 5 things you need to do (listed above) and that's basically it. I admit that there is a small amount of skill involved; less than a cashier and more than a ditch digger. Other than being general manager of the Bears no job offers more job security for those who consistently blunder their few tasks.

I hate to bitch about such a trivial thing. Actually, that's a lie. I thrive on it. In actuality this isn't trivial, this shit is of the utmost importance. I have to walk 4-5 blocks and take the train after I go to the store. If the bags are overweight they break. Like they did on the bus today. Everything goes all over the damn place including an onion that rolled most of the way to the back (impressive!) and I have no other recourse but to shove everything from the broken bag into the other bags that are in just as much danger of breaking. So I get off the bus and what happens about 10 feet away? Another bag breaks. GODDAMNIT. About this time I'm running out of bags so I am forced to carry everything in my arms for the block until I get home. The incompetence of the moronic old woman that bagged my groceries turned my joyous trip to the store in to a throwdown war hell ride. If she put 1 less thing in each bag the problem is averted.

I know that I could be the guy who looks at her with eagle eyes as she bags everything so she doesn't fuck it up but I made the mistake of assuming that there would be at least a shred of competence in her pea brain. It seems that whenever I make that assumption it bites me in the ass. Is it too much to ask that people do a mediocre job? I'm not demanding A+ work here, I'd settle for C-. Instead every time I get treated to a showcase of ineptitude. If the moron who bagged my groceries tried to do the worst job possible I'm pretty sure my bags would finally be correctly packed. I can't imagine her being able to accomplish a single task she attempts, this woman is only capable of complete failure. She is the Marion Barber of Jewel employees.

I can't stress enough that this job is always done successfully by the mentally challenged. Why can't people who are blessed to not have a handicap accomplish this simple task? Using our good friend logic one should assume that they would do an even better job. Sadly we don't live on Vulcan and logic fails more often than not here. I don't know if it's laziness, lack of training, general idiocy or a combination of all three but something needs to be done about it. I say we start by going to the bagger's homes and packing all of their prized possessions into one flimsy plastic bag. Then we'll hold it off the top of a tall building and jostle it around for a while. When it breaks and all their precious valuables crash to the ground maybe they will learn a little something. If this fails I'm afraid we'll have to go directly to the Kornheiser solution: heads on pikes.

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