Post # 1
For those of you who have shopped at commissaries in the U.S., would you tell me what the proper etiquette is for the checkout lane and grocery baggers?
This probably sounds stupid, but I’m relatively new to shopping at commissaries. The few times that I’ve been, I’ve always gone with my husband, who has no problem telling the grocery baggers that we don’t need help to our car. But I”ve noticed that the baggers always seem a little upset when you say this, so I wasn’t sure what the deal was.
I’m not trying to be cheap and just avoid tipping the baggers for their help to the vehicle, it is just that I’m horribly awkward having someone else follow me to my car, pushing my cart and unloading my stuff, when I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself. :/ I am a quiet, keep-to-myself kind of person, so even given the choice between self-checkout and a regular lane, I’m the type to use the self checkout. Heck, I’d even tip the baggers to stay IN the store and let me take my own stuff out, to be honest! Yay for social anxiety… This is why I choose to shop off-base most times when I’m alone, just to avoid the awkward “what am I supposed to do?” feeling…
But when I googled this, I found a site that said that the commissary baggers don’t get paid AT ALL, even when they just bag your groceries! The site said they work soley off tips, with no base hourly wage, regadless of whether they take your crud to your vehicle. Am I supposed to be tipping them anyways for just bagging my groceries? I feel like I’ve been making a huge etiquette faux pas everytime my husband and I have gone and taken our own cart to the car, because we didn’t tip the baggers in those cases…
Do most of you accept the help to your vehicles? Am I the only one who feels weirded out by that, given that I”m used to doing it at every other place I shop?
Post # 3
@mrs_pugetsound: I pushed my own cart, but always tipped a couple bucks. I heard they didn’t get paid, either, but I separated in 2005.
Post # 4
Also, I started shopping at HEB in San Antonio, because compared to the commissary on Lackland, it was like entering heaven.
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
This blows my mind simply because where I live in Florida the grocery stores and commissary have signs posted explicitly saying not to tip the baggers. Apparently I need to pay attention to this when I shop in other states.
Post # 6
At other grocery stores, I worked as a service clerk in high school we were told we could not accept tips if people gave them to us, same with my friends who worked at safeway and albertsons, I mean they still pocketed it if a nice person gave them a tip but it is in no way expected or required.
As a service clerk, you push carts to the front, janitorial duties, and restock get paid an hourly wage (minimum). I’ve been to commisaries before but I never had that problem but it was in San Diego?
Post # 7
@mrs_pugetsound: When we’ve gone we usually push our own carts but tip the person who takes our carts afterward. At the bases I’ve been to they can’t ask for tips, but they don’t get paid that much and really appreciate the tips if you slip it to them quietly.
Post # 8
Thanks for chiming in, everyone! This has been something that has stumped me for awhile. I shop at the Bangor base in Washington, as this is the only base my DH has been stationed at I wasn’t sure if it varied from state to state either. I know when I used to work in retail, though it wasn’t at a grocery, we were told we could get fired for accepting tips! But life on base seems to be like a whole different world…
I just get torn, as I have no problem tipping someone to bag my stuff if that is how they earn a living…but it feels so very, very weird to have someone who is typically a woman much older and smaller than me doing the lifting/pushing that I’m perfectly capable of doing! Either way (skipping the help or accepting it) I end up feeling bad.
No one ever asks outright for tips, but I can definitely feel that they are grumpy or disappointed if you let them know ahead of time you’ll be taking your own cart. I guess I’ll just get my own cart and leave a tip for them anyways if that’s standard…but how much do you tip?
Post # 9
They can’t ask for a tip but it is polite to give one. We also push our own carts but tip the baggers/ people that take the carts 🙂
Post # 10
@mrs_pugetsound: At the commissary here in Newport, they work only off tips so we tip them. You are saving boatloads of cash by shopping at the commissary and giving them a few bucks is very customary.
Post # 11
I feel so awful now…I had no idea before today that they weren’t paid hourly like baggers at civilian grocery stores. I’d have never known, but I can completely see now why they’d seem disappointed at “do-it-yourselfers”. I’m glad I finally asked!!! Thanks guys!
Post # 12
My mom hates how they pack the groceries in the car, so she’ll usually leave them a buck or two at checkout and then roll it out herself. 🙂
Post # 13
@LilRhodyGem: At Ft. Hood the baggers work only for tips, so even if they don’t take the groceries to the car I still tip a couple bucks.
Post # 14
I feel so awkward with someone walking my groceries to my car… I pushed them/carried them all over the store so I think I can get them outside lol. I get that it’s their job and it’s definitely nice for people who want/need it but I am not one of those people. I specifically do not shop at places like Publix because it weirds me out to have them come to my car with me and makes me feel bad to say no thank you.
Post # 15
I live in MI and we have no commissaries – well except for one that is a 6 hour round trip from my home… We have no active duty bases at all.
When I go “down home” to OH (less than 10 miles from Wright Patterson AFB) I hit the commissary just because I can. I have always known they work for tips only so I tip them a couple/three bucks and let them push my groceries to my cart (or pull it up front where they have a designated area). You know, I’m a 53 you retired vet and some of those women could be my much older sister or very young mom. If they want to do the job and engage in the physical activity, more power to them! I got over feeling wierd about it decades ago.
Post # 16
the baggers on my base don’t work for wages, just tips. i know a few of them personally and they say on average they get between $3-5 a trip….i usually give them $2, more if i have a lot of things.