This evening I ran into town for groceries at two different stores. I'm a little particular, some might say neurotic, about the way my stuff is sacked. I've had sackers put large cans of pineapple juice on top of my bananas. If I'd wanted bruised bananas, I'd have gotten the black ones to begin with. I also like to keep refrigerated items together, especially when it's 80 or 90 degrees outside. I figure the cold stuff will stay cold longer if it's all huddled together. Also, when I get home I let the toilet paper and soap loiter in the trunk until I get the milk and butter safely stowed in the fridge. It's easier to do this if it's not mingled with non-refrigerated items. I rarely have too few shopping bags (I always take reusable ones), but just in case I were to have a shortage, I place those items on the belt last that are easiest to carry without a bag, like milk or bags of potatoes.
Because of my idiosyncrasy and my skepticism of the intelligence of some cashiers, I have a habit of placing my purchases on the conveyor belt in the order in which I want them bagged. I always leave eggs and produce for the end so they aren't crushed by heavier items, unless I anticipate a bag shortage (as mentioned previously), in which case the milk and potatoes are banished to the end of the line. I put all the refrigerated/frozen stuff together. I group things like soap, toilet paper, and tooth paste. This usually works well. The typical cashier scans the item closest to hand, bags it, then repeats. However, tonight I did not have the typical cashier. In fact, I had two atypical cashiers.
I spent some time in the parking lot of the first store rearranging my purchases because the cashier had desegregated my cold items and bath products. One bag held butter, tooth paste, and soap. Another held butter, cream, and apples. While I loaded my groceries from the second store I noticed the sacker had bagged my 3 gallons of milk (which were at the end of the line!) and put all my produce in one bag - lettuce, tomatoes, two avocadoes, bananas, two containers of strawberries, and two containers of raspberries.
Maybe next time I'll separate my purchases with bags so the cashier can fill up the first bag until she gets to the second one. Then she can fill up the second until she gets to the third, and so on. To be fair, I should mention that some sackers are excellent. If only I could tell by looking at them...