The other day Drew and I were at Safeway, and the woman ahead of us was taking a long time to get through the line. She was dressed kind of like I always picture Jen Lancaster – black capris, slides with a heel, some kind of top, and then a lime green scarf thrown over one shoulder. (Just over one shoulder, like a purse strap.) When the cashier asked pseudo-Jen if she would like some help out, she said, “Yes, actually,” and then the bagger finished loading her groceries into her cart and they began to leave the store.
After Drew and I had paid for our 2 or 3 items, we started to leave, except we couldn’t because she was kind of blocking the whole aisle while she clasped some other cashier’s hand and told her how she’d been thinking about her. I’m sure this was a lovely gesture to the clasped woman, but I don’t think the customer waiting enjoyed it as much. Pseudo-Jen then proceeded out of the store, followed by the bagger pushing her shopping cart.
They got to pseudo-Jen’s SUV, and she just stood by while the other girl loaded her 4 or 5 bags of groceries into the back of her car. By this time, we were pretty much back in our car and headed out of the parking lot, but I still tried to watch what was going on. I wanted to see pseudo-Jen give the bagger a tip.
I just thought this was weird. I know you never know people’s stories. But it seems like “help out” should be reserved for people who really NEED help out, not just anyone who doesn’t feel like pushing a shopping cart 250 feet to their car. Also, if the store offers help and you accept it, should you tip the person who helps you? It seems like you should. But then what’s an appropriate tip? A couple dollars? That would make sense if the store employee was spending all day helping people out, and they could then collect, like, $15 over the course of a day. But how often does that happen? If it only happens once, then a couple dollars seems cheap. But $5 seems like too much, and patronizing or weird.
This is why I just carry my own stuff to the car. If I can’t get it to the car, I shouldn’t have purchased it in the first place. Also, I can really use the three bucks.