Honest Shopping Bags

I am an honest person, and I don’t like to make sales staff nervous.

Ever since I was a teenager, reading about how you can’t trust teenagers in stores, I’ve been very careful to make it easy for the staff. I keep bags behind me or zipped. I stand well back from the shelf and keep my cuffs back. Little things that shop-lifters wouldn’t do.

On Saturday, I took my re-usable bag to the yarn store. It’s a reasonable shopping bag, except for being free advertising for a major grocery chain. The straps are the right length for carrying, which means they’re a bit short to go over my shoulder. I needed both hands, so I slid the straps to the crook of my elbow. Then, just as at home, or when grocery shopping without a cart, when I found something I wanted (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, for son’s socks) I dropped it in and kept browsing.

The store owner helped me look. We moved on to yarn for daughter’s blanket (how did I let daugther talk me into that?) and a few minutes later she asked, “Where’s the alpaca?”

In my bag. Black wool in a dark bag.

In the grocery store, the natural flow is past the tills to exit. You stand in line, then unload your cart or bag or basket onto the belt, and load it up again on the other side. No worries. There’s even enough time while ringing up the order to double-check that everything from the bag went onto the cart.

The usual flow in a yarn store is you put some things on the counter. You go back to the shelves, put more on the counter, and put some back on the shelves. Eventually, you put a last ball on the counter, pay for most of what’s there, theatrically pat the things you aren’t paying for, and put your purchases in the bag.

Note the absence of emptying your cart or bag.

Did the staff think I intended to skip that step? I hope not. I like the staff. They’re very helpful, and know their stock and are full of ideas.

In the thrill of ringing up the order, would I have forgotten that step? (I often zone out at that point, exhausted from the shopping. Not good.)

I don’t like handing my bag to the staff when I go into a store. It’s one more thing they have to do, and I have to remember to pick it up. I should put my name and phone number on all my bags, too, just in case. It’s also awkward when the counter is at the back of the store, and I just want to check out the stuff at the front.

How do the rest of you handle it?

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