The shopper took to Reddit to share his experience and the unexpected response he received from the Woolies employee when he asked why he'd need to pack his own items.
"The cashier told me to bag groceries myself (had about $130 bucks worth)," wrote the Sydney man. "When questioned whether this was their job or Covid measure, cashier responded by stating it 'made the process faster'. I obliged but was left curious whether this is accepted, tolerated and normal nowadays? I should also highlight this is not the self checkout area."
The shopper wasn't the only person left confused by the incident, as other Woolworths cashiers replied that it's much quicker to pack bags without interference from customers.
"I go faster when I pack myself (I'm a cashier) why they thought you packing is faster is beyond me," the staffer commented. "I work at Woolies and really she shouldn't have asked unless you have dirty bags or something like that. We have a sign on our register to answer the question of packing bags saying the process is faster if we do it."
Another checkout operator agreed, saying the request would only be acceptable if a customer's bags were unhygienic "Nope. The only time we can do that is if your bags are dirty or have something wrong with them, then we can refuse to touch them," the supermarket employee wrote. Yahoo News understands that Woolworths cashiers can offer customers a replacement bag in such instances.
Other Sydney shoppers said they'd be annoyed by the request too, pointing out if they wanted to pack their own bags they'd use the self-serve checkouts or shop elsewhere.
"Yeh that would annoy me, if I wanted to bag my own groceries, I'd go to self checkout or Aldi," one shopper said.
Even customers who were confident they could scan and bag faster than checkout staff said the cashier's request would rub them up the wrong way.
"If I've gone through an actual checkout it's for a reason," one woman commented. "Usually because I’m struggling with my baby who always screams her head off in shopping centres unless I'm holding her in a specific way, so if I was asked to bag my own groceries when I had my kids with me I'd flat-out refuse.."
Although replies to the original post were overwhelmingly supportive, one Redditor suggested the customer was being precious, commenting, "Oh poor thing... hope you didn't break a nail."
In a statement to Yahoo News, a Woolworths spokesperson clarified the company's policy when it comes to bagging groceries, admitting that the cashier in this instance didn't follow the correct procedure.
"Our team work hard to serve thousands of customers to the highest standard every day, however, we don't always get it right," the spokesperson said. "Our checkout operators are expected to bag groceries at our manned checkouts if that's the customers wish, as per our bagging policy. We encourage this customer to reach out to our friendly Customer Service who'll be able to further assist them."
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