Property Grunt

Monday, December 10, 2007


Yesterday morning I as in a jovial mood due to the runner’s high I was experiencing from the elliptical I was on and went out food shopping.

After gathering my items I headed over the checkout area and as I was placing my items on the counter in front of the cashier, I noticed one of the cashiers slip surreptitiously slip something in the hand of my cashier which turned out to be a cherry. She put it in her mouth and after chewing on the cherry she bent over in front of me to try to hide her actions but I realized once she put her hand in front of her face that she was spitting out the cherry pit in the palm of her hand. She had no gloves on nor did she have a paper towel in her hand. It must have been too strenuous to make that effort. Then she began to process my purchase. But before her infected hands could touch my food, I snatched all the items away from her grasp and tossed them back into the carriage and went to another cashier. She was completely baffled at my actions, which just shows how ignorant this person was. I mean if you spit a cherry pit in your bare hands in front of a person and then try to touch their food, you should expect a negative reaction.

Here’s the punch line. This did not happen at a bodega or a one of the Korean fruit stands. This happened at Whole Foods. Unfortunately they are not the only offenders.

A couple of months ago I was Trader Joe’s at the checkout when the cashier was having trouble opening up a plastic bag. So right in front of me, she stuck her large tongue out and dragged her finger down her tongue and then used her saliva on her fingers to get a better grip on the bag. A year ago, a Trader Joe’s cashier coughed all over my groceries as he was bagging them.

This type of behavior I expect from a Key foods in Queens not from Whole Foods or Trader Joes. It is not just disgusting but in this age of communicable diseases and schools hosing down locker rooms due to staph infections it is just plain dangerous. There needs to be more sanitary protocols, particularly at the points of purchase for consumer good, implemented.

At A&P and Food Emporium the cashiers usually wear rubber gloves and have sponges to help them open up the plastic grocery bags. At the A&Ps they even have disinfectant wet naps for the cashiers to use. This is not brain surgery. All it takes is a little common sense.

Unfortunately for any type of health protocols to be instituted for all grocery stores, some type of public health crisis will probably have to break out where the source of the contagion is from the unsanitary practices of cashiers at supermarkets.

I used think those automated checkout machines were annoying but now I use them all the time since they are quicker and they won’t spit on your food.

No pun intended, I don’t mean to bag on cashiers. It is a tedious job that where you have to constantly be on your feet and you are at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. It is also probably very stressful since every customer that comes to them might the one that blows up in their face because of a price check. I have done my bit playing the cashier in my past so I am aware of the pitfalls.

But for now, I think I will be shopping at the Food Emporium.