Updated on March 24, 2016
Bagging for Tips
Bagging for Tips
While i was recently in the local Kroger getting some groceries I overheard a couple of the baggers chatting about too many sackers, not enough people to take out and how they were short staffed on certain days. I was reflecting back on my days of hustling for tips and the data that i used to collect to get the most.
I started at a local grocery named Foodarama the day i was 16 which would have been in november of that year. I worked there for about 7 months then in late may i ended up taking another job at a bigger grocery store Randall’s since the other store wouldnt give me more than 40 hours.
But this article is more of a fun reflection of me remembering all of the things i used to do to get tips and make money while doing it. Obviously if you have a child that is a bagger, you are a bagger or you are about to these tips will help you get paid and out smart many doing the same job.
#1 Tip- Collect data for everything. I know when i used to bag groceries i used to split all of my sheet into 1 hour blocks. So lets say i was working 7 hours with the break. I would have all of the hours written down before i started and be watching how much i was bringing in tips on the hours. I remember i used to shoot for $5 an hour and usually got it. But that was also after tracking months of tips and adjusting my schedule to fit those hours.
#2 Be Prepared- I ALWAYS had at least $20 in 1s in my pocket before I ever started my shift. Everytime you take out a cart and then have a 5, 10 or 20 you would lose that game. I had a 3 second rule where if i was putting groceries in and was done I could see them fidgeting in their purse. I would say ” do you need change”… When they said yes.. I would look to see the bill normally a $5 and i would say do you want 2 or 3 dollars back… If you read between those lines than you realize i am getting a 2-3 dollar tips vs me ASKING how much change they want which would have been $4 back and a $1 tip…
#3 Keep moving- When i was a bagger I was always trying to engage the customer from the get go. I would ask them how are you doing? paper of plastic etc.. But once the bagging started I would purposely look out for items such as breads, eggs or other breakable items. Asking a customer would you like this bagged separate would also be a quick smile from them. I also realized that i didnt have a lot of time to get on the good side quick. Once the bags hit the cart I would start to push it towards the door. If even if the customer was on the fence at this point I was already taking them out anyways… Now in the event that a customer would say no thats okay… I would say ” i dont mind its okay if you dont tip”…. this plays on a persons psyche. They are like damn i have to tip him or they feel bad. Either way im taking them out and im ready to win…
#4 Running Mate- This was my key to making money at Foodarama. When i started there i was the only caucasian working in the front of the building and a large majority of our clients were not caucasian. Now I tell you that because the first 2-3 months nothing worked for me to get tips in this place. I remember making like $1 an hour where as others were getting 3-5$ an hour. I began to actual mark down which races would tip me and wouldnt. Shortly after I had a friend who worked there who was african american. He commented on how white people didnt tip him and i felt the same on other races. We agreed to work together and would pass off various races to each other to make it work. Shortly after our plan worked and we both profited greatly by profiling our clients.
#5 Remember your big tippers- When i worked at Randalls we had a pretty good clientele that would come in and spend quite a bit. We had a fair share of local athletes, ball players and people who were pretty wealthy I made a point to always track these folks and remember their faces. The important part of that was that I would get them when they would walk in the door and i would call them by name. So for instance as soon as I would recognize a person coming in I would greet them and Say welcome back Mrs Smith, anything i can help you with? More ofthen than not they might need some quick help or getting 40ln dog food etc.. The truth is that when you take care of people like that when they come up to the register they could request you to take their bags out. So taking 5 minutes out of the day was worth the $5 tip over the average.
#6 Keep the Kids Happy Get tips- I used to always have some dum dums in my pockets when I worked early shifts especially. What I always knew is that once the kids where on the other side of their parents they started fussing. The more they fussed the more the parents would want to just get the heck out of the store which lowered my chances of getting a cart out. As soon as I saw a kid with them i would say can they have a sucker? When they said yes and thank you all parties were happy. Happy Kids meant i was taking a cart out looking like a grocery hero.
#7 Stalking the dog food/cat food aisles- When the morning would start slow the “old guys” would stand around and talk about coffee or sports or anything else… There was always like 6 guys that were just gearing up for every cart available. They were grizzled and rarely let you in until the traffic became heavy. Well i started just checking out the 3 heavy item aisles. I would walk them and wait for something who needed some help getting items. Big bag of dog food, laundry detergent or something big. By helping them on the floor I would tell them when you come up to the front ask for me and I will put this in your car for you. So despite the old man land bridge I was always able to get some cart out before the rushes.
So there ya go on my tips on bagging groceries and making money doing it. I always really enjoyed bagging groceries, hustling for tips and crushing my friends on our nightly tip contests.