By Mir
October 25, 2010

The piano piece that Chickadee was never able to master before the recital-that-wasn’t is stuck in my head. Da-da-da-dada, da-da-da-dada, dadadadadadadadadaddaaaaaaaaa ARGH. There’s now a 50-50 chance I can play it better than she can, and I don’t even play piano. At the very least, I can da-da-da it for you, though I may need to rock in the corner while I do so. I have Exciting Follow-up Piano News for you in a minute, though, so there’s that.

At the moment I am looking outside and feeling decidedly weird. While I enjoy not having to deal with snow here in the south, I’m not sure I fully appreciated the weather alternatives to blizzards, before moving down here. For example: it’s the end of October. Back home, we’d be ready for the first big snow ’round about now. But here, when I took the dog out at 6 this morning, it was 65 degrees outside. And now, the light in the yard is hazy and yellow because HI TORNADO WATCH.

I’ll be sure to let you know if I have to abandon this post halfway through to go hide in the storage space under the stairs. Or—more likely—to go try to wrestle open the door to the storage space under the stairs, blocked though it usually is by laundry baskets and the electric broom. (Emergency preparedness: The preparations weren’t optional? Whoops!)

Whoa, the yellowness just gave way to a whole lot of darkness. The storm’s a-comin’, it just remains to be seen whether it’s just a good rain or if the house gets swept off to Kansas.

(Don’t worry, either way you’ll be able to find me as I hum da-da-da-dada….)

Anyway! Here’s a few things I’d better tell you before my house is destroyed. Or before it rains a little. Whichever.

Thing the first: I was doing my grocery shopping at Publix yesterday, as I am wont to do on a Sunday. Should you wish to stalk me, hitting Publix on a Sunday afternoon is the way to do it. I am nothing if not predictable in my milk-and-bread-buying habits. There are many things I love about shopping there, including the fact that I use a set of bags from this place and one of the cashiers is fascinated with them, and now yells out, “HEY! HOT SACKS!” whenever he sees me, which is entertaining, because it sounds like a young cashier is yelling HEY HOT SEX at a middle-aged patron. Scandalous! The expressions on the other shoppers’ faces make it totally worth the embarrassment.

Anyway, yesterday I saw something (again) that reminded me I keep meaning to bring this up.

In the tradition of true southern hospitality, after you’re rung up at Publix, the bagger offers to take your groceries out to your car for you. This is rather charming, no? I think it is. But I also always tell them I can get it myself.

Now. If you want help with your groceries, okay. They offer, you’re certainly allowed to accept. But. BUT. People. The store I shop at isn’t very big, which means the parking lot is small. Even parked as far away as possible, you’re not that far away. And you have a handy grocery cart in which to transport your purchases, so it’s not like the only alternative to the minimum-wage worker (who, by the way, you are expressly forbidden to tip for their assistance—store policy) assisting you is to strap those bags to your back.

In my expert opinion, here are the people who are allowed to accept the “take these out to your car for you” offer:
1) Old people.
2) People with disabilities.
3) Parents wrangling small children.

The rest of you need to MAN UP, and that goes double for the college students. Every time I see a Publix worker not just wheeling the cart out but then LOADING THE CAR for able-bodied people who are, most often, too busy texting to be bothered with such a plebeian task, I want to kick someone in the shins. Publix baggers are not your servants. It’s VERY NICE that they’re willing to take your groceries out. But c’mon. Don’t be a douche.

Thing the second: Licorice is in dire need of grooming. Life has been busy, the groomer we used to take her to did a terrible job last time, so I’ve been meaning to find someone new but haven’t gotten around to it. I’m a terrible doggie mommy, okay? Her face is disappearing and it’s all my fault.

That said, I’m actually the world’s greatest doggie mommy AND I WANT A MEDAL because I discovered yesterday that one side effect of her fur growing longer is that it tends to get a big tangled and matt-y in certain places. Like, on her butt. And so it was that I spent half an hour yesterday evening DETANGLING MY DOG’S BUTT HAIR. Because I love her.

Licorice wasn’t so impressed, by the way. She spent the entire time I was grooming her looking very put out, and then tried to eat the little pile of snarled butt-hairs I’d extracted. I am starting to think she might not be as smart as we’d originally thought.

Thing the third: Here’s the one you’ve been waiting for: Last night after dinner, the phone rang. It was Mr. PianoGuy, and he wanted to know if I had a couple of minutes to talk. I said sure. With great misery in his voice and amid starts and stops, he managed to say that it’s just been eating away at him, he thinks he owes me an apology, he was trying to say something else and it just came out all wrong, but he is so sorry that he said what he did about my family and me and Otto, it wasn’t what he meant and he wishes he could take it back.

I’m not going to lie, I was kind of impressed.

I thanked him for calling, and for the apology.

“I hope… well, I hope my having said that isn’t the reason you decided to stop lessons,” he said.

“Well, I have to be honest. It’s certainly part of it. But it’s more than that; they’re not enjoying it any more and I just think they need a break. Also, I think we need to try a different teacher. There’s something that’s not working there, anymore. You’ve taught them a lot and we appreciate it. But I think they need a different approach.”

He asked what I would change; I pointed out that Monkey, for sure, needs a gentler touch, and Chickadee’s resistance at this point tells me that she’s not motivated, either.

“I suppose that’s a failure on my part, too,” he said, sounding downright sad.

I thought to myself that HELL YES that was a failure on his part, but I also felt bad for him. He’d called. He’d apologized. I hadn’t expected him to even realize what he’d done, much less swallow his pride and try to make it right. So I replied, “Well, I think it’s a lot of factors. I don’t see it as a failure so much as just the current reality, and the reason doesn’t really matter.”

Had the conversation ended right there, I really would’ve felt badly about my prior diatribe and accompanying unkind thoughts.


Mr. PianoGuy couldn’t let it lie. The next thing he said was, “And… I know I said it wrong, I know I did, but what I was TRYING to say… I was trying to relate it to my childhood experience, and I didn’t say it right, but what I MEANT was that maybe Chickadee feels a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect, you know, FOR Otto. Because she cares about him so much. That’s what I meant.”

Oh, Mr. PianoGuy. If only you’d quit while you were ahead! While the feet were out of your mouth!

I managed to keep my voice light and point out that Chickadee feels a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect because she is a natural-born perfectionist despite anything anyone says or does, and thank you again for calling, we appreciate it.

[Otto: Do you think he read your blog?
Me: I… don’t think he does.
Otto: Then what do you suppose prompted that?
Me: Maybe he mentioned it to his wife and she was all YOU SAID WHAT??
Otto: Maybe.
Me: That’s how most men find out they’re wrong.
Otto: Hey!
Otto: I hear you just saying.]

And then, because I am a child, we called Chickadee downstairs. First, Otto apologized to her for breaking her home and told her that he hopes that someday she’ll be able to recover from the awfulness that is her current life, and she nodded along and did her best to look as pitiful as possible while agreeing that yes, it’s such a burden. And then I told her that Mr. PianoGuy had called and explained that actually what he MEANT was not that Otto was so awful, or anything, but that she probably felt TREMENDOUS PRESSURE to be perfect for Otto, and is that it, Honey? She nodded in agreement, then asked if he’d really said that. When I confirmed that he had, she slapped a hand to her forehead. “That is the dumbest thing I ever heard,” she said.

I have to say I hope that Chickie’s recital piece is stuck in Mr. PianoGuy’s head, too. Particularly if he’s been letting the Publix baggers load his groceries into his car.


  1. navhelowife

    Oh I don’t know – If its a nice day, I have three baggers practically begging me to take out my groceries for me…a chance to get a breath of fresh air :)It’s also a nice chance to talk to a teenager/early college age kid who is not going to devour the food I just bought. And who won’t roll their eyes at me! The manager insisted one day that I allow him to help me – that was strange till he admitted he wanted an excuse to step outside for a few minutes! Of course, my cart is usually loaded for bear, and I think they are scared it will roll away with me or something…
    I think they offer so strongly because it also helps with the whole cart thing – because apparently it is too hard to walk the ten feet to the cart corral.
    But I LOVE Publix. They rock.
    Although if the bagger is older than I am, I don’t usually accept their help. Makes me feel very guilty!!

  2. navhelowife

    Oh, and I meant to say that those same storms are headed my way, so be careful!

  3. dad

    Are you finding that conformation is comforting?

    Apology accepted..
    Thank you.

  4. Pam

    Sometimes when I shop at Publix and the weather is gorgeous outside or it’s particularly slow inside, I do accept the help with the cart because the baggers look bored and really want to go outside for fresh air.

    The storms just left me – enjoy!

  5. Patricia

    Oh, Mir. I’m so sorry that your Yankee upbringing has colored your view of the grocery experience. I’m just shocked.
    Now, I ought to mention that most grocery stores who have people to ‘help you to your car’ have a reason that isn’t all that altruistic — they don’t want their carts left in the parking lot all over the place. If they pay a kid to take your stuff to the car, you know what — he/she comes back to the store with the cart. No long lines of carts being herded back to the store; a parking lot kept neat and runaway cart free; and more parking spaces because none of them have to be converted into to cart parking.
    I get the whole idea that I’m an able-bodied adult, who can take my cart of milk, bread, and snacks (what???) to my very own car and load it up — but if offered the ‘help,’ I will take it 100% of the time. First, it reminds me that it is ok to be kind and helpful to others no matter if you think they are worthy or not. Secondly, it keeps the parking lot clear of ding inducing carts.
    That said, I’m sorry, I will NOT allow anyone OLDER than me to take my cart to my car — sorry, nope — we call that respect.
    (PS for those of your readers who might use a military commissary, there you not only have no choice to have some take your bags, you are expected to tip since it is the ONLY wage the baggers get — they do however make good money.)

  6. Mia

    I work at a large grocery store, and you’re lucky if there is a bagger on hand to bag your groceries – they are usually out trying to round up all the carraiges people leave in random areas of the very large lot!
    I try to have my baggers assist the elderly (stubborn new englanders who refuse all help) mommas with babies (stubborn super-mom’s) and anyone with disabilities (stubborn new england super-heroes) but it’s the pampered elitist college kids with the “munchies” who want the help…snork!


  7. Jennifer

    Just wanted to say that I love your blog AND your readers. The comments are always worth the time!
    Thank you–all of you!

  8. Burgh Baby

    I am married to a former Publix bag boy and he will tell you that the answer to the “Would you like help” question is YES YES YES. Unless it is absolutely miserable outside, they want to go out so that their day can go by a little bit faster.

  9. Katherine

    I had a Publix bagger practically insist last week. So I finally let him help me. I like the idea that maybe they were just wanting to enjoy our weather (beautiful that day). Unlike today, where we are getting the same storms you are – today if I go to Publix, there will be nary a bagger in sight to take out the groceries, especially if I can’t park near a cart corral.

    I used to get rather annoyed with that when my kids were very small and Publix was still refusing to have cart corrals in the parking lot. They were often there to offer assistance on a beautiful day, but never on the really cold or rainy days. I must admit sometimes I just left the cart by my car rather than run it back to the store in the rain with 2 small kids.

  10. elz

    Are baggers unloading groceries into cars a Southern thing? Another reason to live in the South. That, plus college football, pecans, etc. Thinking back, I can only recall using a bagger to unload my groceries once- when I was like 8.5 months pregnant with a toddler in tow.

  11. Tracy B

    I’m so glad that you held your cool with Mr.PianoMan and even though there were tons of things you could have said (or I would have said) but you held back. That is “class” and you, my friend, have that! I, also was wondering, if your FaceBook account is for true, real friend or admirers. I’d love to be your friend on FB.

  12. Jamie

    I like the comments talking about the fresh air and such; it never really occurred to me that way. I also think that the assistance is for the folks who have difficulties, but now I might think about it differently!

  13. KMayer

    WHOA PEOPLE. Forget the baggers. Piano man called to apologize! He manned up! Good for him. If he only knew when to stop talking. JUST STOP at I’m sorry, I screwed up. Anything after that is always trouble. ALWAYS. ps: Your kid is brilliant. Otto? not-so-much. But chicadee? brilliant. (Good luck getting music out of your head. I have hot cross buns from 1999 recorder recital tattooed in my long-term memory.)

  14. Nelson's Mama

    We don’t have a Publix in our small town – I only get to shop there when I’m at the beach or visiting my daughter at college, but I remember the days when almost every grocery all over the South, no matter the size, insisted on helping you take your bags out.

    For years my Mom did her shopping every Friday afternoon and the same gentlemen would take our groceries to the car, I have fond memories of them.

  15. Jean

    I’ve always lived in the West, all over the West, and everywhere I’ve shopped for groceries the baggers offer to take the bags out for me. I thought it was a universal thing.

    That said, the only time I’ve ever accepted was when I had a broken bone in a foot. Which is more than once, sad to say–I’m either clumsy or a slow learner or both. But not for any high-minded reason. Oh no, it’s the inner toddler–“I’d rather do it myself!”

  16. MomCat

    We have a wonderful free service at our grocery called, so creatively, “Curbside.” The bagger takes your groceries to a spot in front of the store, you pull up and they load them for you. When I’ve bought more than two or three bags and especially if the weather is bad, I go for it. Then again, I’m more than ten years older than you and a little bit disabled.

    I think it’s awesome that Mr. Pianoguy phoned to apologize, and also awesome that he swallowed his foot again, because now you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you made the right decision.

  17. MomQueenBee

    We changed piano teachers after two years of whining when Boy#2 finally said, “Mom, you know how much you hate helping with kids’ group at church? That’s how much I hate taking piano lessons from Mrs. Anonymous.” We changed piano teachers, I quit helping with kids’ group, and all were happier. And the piano teacher told me the reason the boys were not progressing was because “it’s like you quite caring when you went back to work.” Well, alrighty then. If that helps you sleep at night.

    Also, as the mom of a former bag boy, I ALWAYS ask for help to the car because it helps with student job security. Employment for teens is hard to come by in these here parts (out in the boonies) and everyone carrying their own groceries? Bah.

  18. mamalang

    As Patricia said, when you shop at a military commisary, they have baggers that take our groceries and load them for us, but they work soley for tips. So if I refuse (which I am able to do), then they don’t get paid. If I use self checkout (which I do when I don’t have much), then I load them myself and the baggers don’t get paid. I understand that I am spoiled, and therefore I tip well. Unfortunately, they haven’t done a very good job of training them to bag and/or load vehicles….I have to guard my bread so it doesn’t end up smooshed, and they load heavier stuff in the carts first and forget to put it in the car early in the loading process.

    But in your situation, I agree. I don’t text while they are loading, and I feel guilty as heck standing there watching them.

  19. Carol

    When a Mr. PianoGuy comes into my life, I always use the opportunity as a very concrete example for my son with Aspergers. My son has to learn social skills, they do not come naturally to him (duh!) and sometimes it’s very hard to get him motivated to learn. He has no idea why the way he interacts with people might make them uncomfortable. Along comes Mr. PianoGuy and I can say, see, if you have poor social skills people will dismiss you when you are an adult. Even if you have a skill to teach, your heart is kind, you mean well… if you don’t express or present yourself well people will dismiss you and label you as mean, stupid, uncaring, etc. Maybe Mr. PianoGuy is all of those things, or maybe he is none of them but his poor expressive skills have convinced us all he is. My son gets this, he wants his brilliant mind to be appreciated, and it helps motivate him to learn how to interact with others. I feel sorry for Mr. PianoGuy–not sorry enough that I would continue to employ him, but his follow-up phone call makes me think his heart may be in the right place, but his ability to know how to express himself may be lacking.

  20. Sheila

    Carol, that was a most astute comment.

  21. Aimee

    I do give Mr. Pianoguy credit for calling to apologize, but OH, wouldn’t it have been splendid if he’d quit while he was ahead?

  22. Brenda

    Wow, that was very nice of Mr. Piano Guy to call and apologize. Yes, he should’ve just left it at the apology. And, I don’t think he reads your blog. If he did, he would never have said such things about your family.

  23. Sherry

    I think my son’s former piano teacher was manic/depressive. We never knew if we were going to get “You’re one of the best students I ever had!” or “You are just wasting everyone’s time when you don’t practice!” whenever we took him to lessons.

    He had been practicing like crazy for his upcoming recital and had not put too much effort into his lesson book. She flipped out. Stomped around the place, slamming stuff around and telling him she was done with him. She refunded my money for the rest of the month, told him he could play in the recital that weekend, and to not come back.

    He was the ONLY student that performed his pieces PERFECTLY. A big “Up Yours!” to her.

    We have never heard another word from her since. (Fine by me.)

    His new teacher is the best. I wish we would have found him first. He knows the former teacher and has told us what a nut-case she is. (She chewed him out for not coming to a her current students’ recital even though he was in the hospital.) He said she even yelled at a kid DURING the recital.

    I’m glad we are rid of her.

    I hope your kids find a wonderful teacher.

  24. Rocky Mountain Woman

    We are having our first big snow storm out here and it’s freezing!

    I remember Publix, I alway shopped there when I lived in So. Fla.

    Men can never just quit while they are ahead, it’s hardwired into them to just keep on going!

  25. Karen P

    Good for Mr. Pianoguy. At least he apologized.

    Greg used to play pieces for a whole year. My other two kids were so tired of hearing Swiss Shepard. I was in a store at Christmas time and recognized the music as a Mozart piece he had played. The clerk wasn’t too interested in my excitement at knowing the name of the piece.

    As for baggers….I refuse since I am perfectly capable of doing it myself. However, last time I was at Safeway I took the groceries out to my car. An older gentleman that is a bagger was rounding up the other carts in the parking lot. He stopped at my car and waited for me to unload all the groceries. Then he asked me to turn the cart around and push it into the ones he had been pushing. I came home shaking my head. Since they offer to take the groceries out to the car it seemed that he would have at least helped me. But he couldn’t even grab the cart himself and add it to the other three carts he was pushing. That just seemed odd.

  26. Katy Byg

    Mr. Piano Guy reminds me a lot of my dad (not that my dad grew up with a step dad that he felt like he had to please), but that my dad is not able to think outside himself. He thinks that every single person in the universe is just like him and will always benifit from his sage advise. Even though is sage adivse often has nothing to do with the actual situation. Often his sage adivse misses the mark entirely and is actually just obvissive. My dad means well… he really does, but he just has no concept of reality. I’m not makng excusses here. This behavior pisses me off to no end and I avoid talking to my dad because of it, but I’m just saying, I think Piano Guy probably means well. And yes, his wife told him to call… and will probably yell at him for not just shuting the hell up a second time.

  27. Jennifer Morgan

    I hear you on the PianoGuy thing — taking a stance and then being remorseful about its consequences, even though you absolutely made the right decision. I had a similar thing happen in the last month — I got fed up with my Girl Scout council (finally) and wrote a long, articulate, as-objective-as-possible letter about multiple issues that I believed needed fixing, one of which was related to an individual who was not doing her job well. I *knew* she was not doing her job well, and I knew I wasn’t the only one who not only believed she wasn’t doing it well but was also obstructed by the fact, and yet when I found out she’d been fired, I nearly died! I have to believe it wasn’t the last straw, but I feel your pain with the regretting unkind thoughts. I wish you all luck in moving on with piano lessons!

  28. MelissaB

    I live in Publix’s home town, we have them every couple of miles it seems. I often have a cart that is so completely filled when I finished shopping, it’s like playing Jenga to get the groceries onto the conveyor. I usually end up with two carts to go out because they can’t pack the groceries into the bags like I can in the cart. If the bagger is a teenage guy, I always have them help me out, even if I don’t have a lot of bags. I use the Publix reusable bags and they hold a lot, the teenage guys load those things like it’s a competition to see how few they need. I end up being barely able to lift some of them. We frequently have to half unload a bag in the garage to get the stuff into the house. I won’t complain after hearing from two sisters and a niece that have worked there about how some of the customers behave. I’m just going to appreciate their efforts and leave it alone. Good luck with the weather, we sure could use it here. My lawn is crispy.

  29. Anna Marie

    I love your dad. His comments are the best.

  30. Megan

    Heh – there’s an old Britcom, called May to December, and one episode revolved entirely around ‘thah leuuuk’ (one of the main characters is a Scotsman), that magical glare of death by which males and small children are informed of their perfidy and inner failings. I like to think that Piano Guy’s significant other heard the story and turned ‘thah ‘leuuuk’ on him, but good. Of course, now she’ll have to do it AGAIN when she hears what he said this time…

  31. kim

    I agree with on the baggers taking groceries to the car, but on the otherhand they always seem so dejected if I don’t let them. I get the feeling that the managers at the store I go to, tell them it is their duty and privledge to schlepp groceries to the car. It does seem sorta silly though. I don’t need help getting the groceries to the car I need help getting them out of the car at home. Now if they offered that I’d be pretty excited about it.

    Regarding Mr. PianoGuy – I actually think that was pretty neat that he called you. Not likely to change your mind, but this world could use more people in it willing to apologize and take responsibility for their actions.

    Best to you.

  32. Aly

    I think Piano Guy obviously has some stepfather issues of his own he might want to work through before he goes around projecting them on the well adjusted students who just want to learn to play the piano. Know what I mean?
    And while I totally agree with Mir about who should and should not be helped out with their groceries…from now on if they aren’t really busy at Publix, I will let the young healthy ones out for some fresh air.

  33. Heather

    I really want the hot sacks and meshy hot sacks too haha. Plus they get bonus points in HeatherLand for being a Canadian company. Obviously.
    It was nice of PianoGuy to try, but I think his continued dumbassery definitely proves that you made the right call!

  34. Chana

    Relax about Publix. You can’t always tell if somebody is disabled. I have tendinitus in both arms, chronic. So far, I load my own groceries, with my toddler, but sometimes its kind of painful, and I can see a time when this might be hard to do. If you looked at me you wouldn’t think I was disabled, but I actually found that pushing the cart hurt out my arms sometimes. Just think to yourself that someday, it might be really nice to have a bagger even if your infirmity is invisible- and they won’t question you about it.. It’s not the norm here, but if I ask for help with something really heavy (it has happened) people will help, and when I need it I really appreciate it. From the comments you can see there are lots of reasons to use a bagger beyond disability.

  35. mr. piano teacher's wife

    He is a jerk

  36. Darcie

    Maybe my Publix is unique, but many times the person who bags my groceries starts rolling my cart towards the door as I am finishing my payment with the cashier. I don’t even get “Can I help you with your cart?” .

    If I want my groceries, I better trot after him/her and show where my car is. :)

  37. Flea

    Huh. A jerk, huh? Interesting.

    I’m not one who like the Publix so much when I lived in Florida. I like my aunt’s Publix in Duluth, GA, because they always card when I buy liquor. But the other groceries in the south take groceries to the car. There were days, before I knew it was my thyroid trying to kill me, that I was always exhausted and would just let them help me out.

  38. karen

    We don’t have that “Out to the Car” service around these parts… but I can tell you I would find it revolting if I saw young able bodied people taking advantage of it.

    Now, after calling Piano guy an A**, I feel sorry for him. I really do think, because of his hideous experience, he was trying to help… with the apology.. sort of.

    Glad you’re done with it.

  39. Mamadragon

    I sometimes wonder if the children’s piano recital pieces will still be floating around in my head when I am ninety years old and living in a nursing home. The staff will wonder what is that bit of nonsense I’m always humming and I likely won’t even remember…but those simple little songs will still be there in my brain.

  40. Jen

    Can we add enormously pregnant people to the list that need help with their groceries? So far I’ve refused it at the grocery store, but I broke my vacuum and had to go to Costco for a new one last week. At 38.5 weeks pregnant my arms are not long enough to reach beyond my belly to the bottom of one of those huge carts and then lift a large box. They offered help getting it into the car and I GLADLY accepted. But I did load the other things, like a caramel covered apple, that I could easily lift myself! :-)

  41. jessica

    Whoa, people want to take your groceries out for you!? We don’t even have grocery stores with baggers up here; it’s all “Bag it yourself, lazy bum, and then carry it out and load it yourself, too. What do you think we are? Store employees? Ha!” ;)

  42. Jenn

    More than once I have stood in front of my husband (who was on the phone) waving my hands frantically, trying to stop him from saying what I know he’s about to say. He must think I’m trying to flag down a plane for all he pays attention. But I try. Then he’ll be shocked when I explain how his words were most likely interpreted. It’s never what he means. Bless him!

    My home town has an upscale grocery store that has drive through grocery pick-up. Your groceries are placed in a bin and loaded on a conveyer belt to the pick-up area. It was so wonderful!

  43. Crisanne

    I don’t know whether to thank you or smack you for not giving us the title to the song…I just can’t follow all those da-das.

  44. Leanne

    We’re same as Jessica over here.

    Baggers haven’t existed in supermarkets since I was 16 or so. The checkout boy/girl packs them for you as they scan them through the register. You take them out and load them in the car yourself and it don’t matter if you have kids, walking sticks, whatever.

    There are contracted trolley companies who fetch the trolleys from the carpark and surrounding suburbs in some cases.

    And hot sacks! Who would have thought that someone would actually sell those? You can pick them up from the supermarket while doing your grocery shopping for a couple of dollars if you run out, and a lot of stores give you a smaller version instead of plastic bags. Amazing.

    Mr PianoGuy is also … gobsmackingly amazing. :)

  45. Brigitte

    I am impressed that Piano Guy apologized, even if he is still a clueless idiot. You don’t get many professional apologies these days!

    There’s an IGA near me (CT) that makes their baggers offer to bring the stuff to the car. Usually it’s just offered by rote, and I AM able-bodied, so I refuse. But there have been the gorgeous days where the young baggers ask with pleading looks in their puppy eyes, dying to go outside, so I let them.

    And one time there were like torrential monsoons out, so they let me drive up to their store’s sheltering overhang to load the trunk there (which made me feel nostalgic for the A&P of my childhood, as that was how it was ALWAYS done there).

  46. jwg

    I read somewhere that the way to get rid of an earworm is to go through the entire song, to the finish, in your head. Seems to work for me. Glad the guy apologized. And my solution to the grocery thing is to use the delivery service offered by one chain. You order on line and for about 7 bucks plus a tip it appears at your home and the delivery person carries it into your kitchen.

  47. Debra

    I’ve lived in the South all my life. All during my youth I had someone bag the groceries and take the groceries to the car and load the groceries. I thought it was like that every where. I’m shocked that it’s not. Now normally the bag boy is just that… a boy. Still in high school and taught to say “yes M’am” and “no M’am” at every sentence. He would get a little tip for his time. A dollar or two depending on if you knew his Momma and Daddy.

    Times have changed and we have more retirees supplementing the income by bagging groceries. However, these are Southern gentlemen and having a lady lift heavy bags of groceries is just unseemly and just not right in their minds. They are doing their Southern gentlemanly duty by helping you out with and little that heavy gallon of milk for you and that 25 pound bag of dog food. It doesn’t matter if you can do it yourself or not. Lifting heavy things should be a “man’s job.” And for some of them it may be the only way they can feel “manly”

    Now I quit letting the bag boy take my groceries out when I moved out of my Momma’s house and was too poor to tip. I even take my own groceries out at the military commissary. I will tip those baggers but if they don’t get $1 or $2 PER BAG in the parking lot they get nasty. I hate their bagger policy and rarely shop there anymore. (My thought is that they know the wage when they accept the job. Most of the time the baggers are military spouses looking for a little extra spending money so they can take a wife’s night out and I feel zero guilt!)

    By the time I was at the point in my life where I could tip the baggers again they had quit taking the groceries out. I felt cheated. Now it just feels strange to have someone else handling my stuff and I would rather just do it myself.

  48. lizneust

    The recital piece I’ve never been able to lose is, “trot along my PO-nee, CAN-ter into town, trot along my PO-nee, UP the hills and down.”.

    Kudos to Piano Guy for trying. At least he was sincere.

    My small town has a grocery where the baggers out number the cashiers (and great produce). The manager watches very carefully to make sure each is helping customers. Even though most of them are older than me (40+), I let them take anything over two bags because the grocery offers health benefits to all its employees. However, I still seethe when I see able-bodied college students being followed to their car by an elderly african american woman with 2 little bags in their cart.

  49. Em

    I am shocked and encouraged! Whichever commenter said you were classy hit the nail on the head. I truly thought he should have been told to go to hell without any “bless your heart” added. I thought you should have knocked him out and kicked him while he was down. I was wrong. He was wrong, no doubt but I am very impressed that he apologized. And I am very impressed that he was left knowing he offended you, knowing you weren’t coming back but shown mercy and forgiveness. You took care of it. Man, I have to grow up.

  50. Sheppitsgal

    Ha! Like I’ve told you before, here in the UK, I just order my groceries via the magic of the interwebs and they are delivered – to my door – at a date and time of my choosing. We don’t usually have baggers in the grocery stores, unless there is a scout troupe having a charity event, in which case they pack your bags and you make a donation!

    Also, I reckon PianoGuy was just hoping he could ‘guilt’ you into changing your mind, cos he’s lost income. Well done on not caving in x

  51. Meri

    Ack, people! There are loads of invisible disabilities that affect people of all ages. You can’t tell by looking.

  52. Shannon

    I have only accepted help out with my groceries one time. I was holding my screaming infant. They asked me if I wanted helped, I started with my standard “no thanks, I’ve got it” but then the clerk either said “You sure?” or else she just said it with the expression on her face and I said that yes, I could use some help with groceries that day.

    And can I say I love the “customer with child” parking? (With an icon of a parent pushing a child in a cart) I actually get disappointed when I don’t have my son with me because I can’t park there. I thought about what exactly they meant by “with child” when I was pregnant, but never used the spots at the time. I rationalized that I was having a normal pregnancy and thus, walking was good for me and I didn’t need the spot as much as someone wrangling their kids. I still agree with my assessment, my son was much easier to tote when he was on the inside.

  53. kathy

    It isn’t often that you get it wrong but you got it WAY WRONG on this:
    “In my expert opinion, here are the people who are allowed to accept the “take these out to your car for you” offer:
    1) Old people.
    2) People with disabilities.
    3) Parents wrangling small children.”

    I am 50 years young, have 4 kids (16 to 9) and do triathlons. I run 20-23 miles per week and swim 7 miles per week. So I’m definitely ABLE to take my groceries out. But I ALWAYS let the guy offering to take them out do it. (it is different here in Mexico, these guys work for tips and not only return your cart but help you back out of your parking space, we call them the “viene viene” guys as they chant “viene viene” and wave their red rag to instruct you out and other cars to stop). Even if these guys didn’t work for tips I’d let someone take my groceries to the car. They’re asking for work and they must have a reason for it.

    I guess I don’t understand what is so wrong about allowing someone to do their job. Must be an American thing.

  54. Erin

    The cashiers at Wegmans will frequently offer to have someone help me with my bags and like you, I’ve only accepted on a few rare occasions. However, think about how much they would make if the grocery stores offered a Bag Boy To-Go option – he takes the stuff out to your car, follows you home and helps you unload them into the house. Because that’s when I *really* need the help! I can manage just fine when the kids are confined to the shopping cart, but at home, I have to deal with them AND the dog. An extra set of hands would be … well, handy.

  55. BethB

    Okay, you’ve just made me wonder why after months of piano once a week my 5 year old can’t even crank out friggin’ chopsticks. For $35 a month, even at age 5, chopsticks is not that much of a stretch. She’s begging for a pink electric guitar these days. Okay, but NO AMP, Sister.

    At least I am not the only one Monday-morning quarterbacking the piano dude.

  56. Schoolie

    I have been a lurking fan of your blog for about a year now and heard of your blog through something that a mutual friend (I think you called her “Foodie” once) posted. I think you are fabulous and hilarious. Working in a middle school myself, I see a lot of kids going through the things Chickadee is going through now, and I just wanted to say that I think you are right on the mark about her!

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