No Frills, No Tears

I was in the checkout at the local No Frills store and was packing up my groceries into my own cloth grocery bags, when a lady passed by me and asked, “Why are you smiling?”
I didn’t know I was smiling.
I said to her, “Well, if I don’t smile, I will cry!”
And that about sums it up.
Because packing one’s own grocery bags is SO stressful, that I must have been smiling to avert the alternative.  Having a complete meltdown!
There is so much pressure to pack every single item that you have purchased into bags.  Whether they be your own cloth bags, the environmentally friendly choice; or the plastic bags (“How many do you need?”) that No Frills provides, for a small fee per bag.
I am daunted that not only do I have to wheel the grocery cart around the corner to the end of the conveyor belt, but then speedily and hastily cram every single item into said bags.
It is so stressful!
Especially when the next person’s groceries are coming down the conveyor belt as you busily pack away your own items.
There is so much pressure!
You don’t want the next person’s items to blend with your own – lest you inadvertently pack up some of their groceries.
And you don’t want them to scoop up some of your groceries as they get busy starting to pack their groceries.
You can’t put the bread, bagels and hot dog buns in the bags just any old way.
They have to lay flat on the top, so as not to get crushed.
And you can’t put the eggs on the bottom of the bag.
They have to have their own bag, or be carefully placed on top so as not to get broken.
The boxes of frozen pizzas and hamburgers and other items should go together to keep everything cold.
The heavy cans of soup and plastic bottles of apple juice should also go together.
The bags of salad, carrots, apples and bananas can go together.
And what about those large bags of milk?  Do they get their own cloth bag?  Or do you risk putting them in with something else, and perhaps they will be pierced?
The toilet paper and paper towels and container of litter are thankfully so large that the checkout girls put stickers on them and you can just put them directly into your shopping cart.
And all this has to be speedily carried out, all the while keeping an eye on my wallet that I have placed at the end of the conveyor belt so as to have two free hands to do all the packing.
There is so much stress!
At other grocery stores, where there are actually employees who help pack your groceries as they are sent down the conveyor belt, or the checkout girls and boys pack them as they ring the groceries through the register, it is such a luxury!
They are unsung heroes – the packers – who effortlessly make sure every grocery item is carefully tucked into the grocery bags so as not to break or get ruined before the trip home.
I salute them – and am amazed at their prowess at their job!
Do they receive special training for that?
Thankfully, the deep discounts at any No Frills makes me feel like I have made off like a bandit.  And that almost makes up for the stressful end to my shopping excursion.
And so, to the lady who was wondering why I was smiling while I was packing, I say it was because I was dreaming of having someone else help me pack up my groceries!
And perhaps, next time, I will go for the frills!

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