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Farmer will have his hands full in regional bagging competition

By Raegan Loftis,
Published on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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Jason Farmer of Greer Quality Foods explained his bagging technique while practicing in the store's stock room.
 

Jim Fair

Jason Farmer of Greer Quality Foods explained his bagging technique while practicing in the store's stock room.

 



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The National Grocers Association has a manual of rules and scoring for baggers in the competition.
 

Jim Fair

The National Grocers Association has a manual of rules and scoring for baggers in the competition.

 



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Multi tasking is a necessity during competitions.
 

Jim Fair

Multi tasking is a necessity during competitions.

 



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The competition ends when a bagger completes placing the items in the bag, transfers them to a shopping cart and holds up his hands.
 
 

Jim Fair

The competition ends when a bagger completes placing the items in the bag, transfers them to a shopping cart and holds up his hands.

 

 



Jason Farmer will have his hands full this weekend.

He is the fastest Quality Food bagger in the state won in a competition in Hartwell, Ga., against seven others last month.

The stakes are higher, competition stiffer and pressure intense this weekend in Amelia Island, Fla. “I’m not nervous now, but when I get in a competition I am,” Farmer said. He will be competing against 400-500 other baggers, all with their own credentials as the best at what they do.

Farmer works at the Quality Food store at 508 North Main Street. He practices in the stock room with a table full of suggested items, plastic bags and a shopping cart. When he is in competitive mode he is virtually a blur of activity between bagging the items and eyeing the size and shape of the remaining products.

Farmer, at the June competition, had to bag 15 different items including cookies, eggs, cereal, Reddie Wip and tomato paste. His times were 51 seconds for reusables and 32 seconds for plastic items.

Contestants are judged by National Grocers Association (NGA) rules, speed of bagging, proper bag-building technique, weight distribution in the bag, as well as style, attitude and appearance. The NGA has a manual of rules and scoring for baggers in the competition.

“It’s not good if a bag splits or a top comes off a product,” Farmer said. “You want to be careful no top is loose that it falls off. That can cost points.” 

Technique requires the baggers to have boxes on the outside, seasoning packets and cans in the middle. No glass can be touching, cans cannot be on top of cans and nothing can be on its side.

“We don’t bag like we do at work. You always have people asking to double a bag or another specific way. At the competition that’s not the requirement,” said Farmer.

“The bags are supposed to be neat and tight and keeping the reusable bags open is the hardest part. I had to change it up a couple of times to get it right.”

A bagger’s competition is completed when the groceries are precisely put in the cart and hands are held up.

A $1,000 award goes to winners at the competition.

Also at stake is a trip to the national best bagger championships, a $10,000 award, Golden Grocery Bag trophy and a “Best Bagger Golden Lane”, a special checkout stand that is installed in the winner’s store. The champion earns recognition in the National Grocers Association National Champion Hall of Fame.

Georgia’s Tina Tasso of The Kroger Co. is the only bagger from the southeast to win the title, in 2004, in the 27 years of the contest.

 

 

 

 

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