By Marguerite Cleveland
Absolutely! Baggers work for tips only. As far as I can remember baggers have been a part of the commissary culture. For tons of military kids, this rite of passage has been their first job and for many retirees it is well needed additional income.
It is a great job for kids to help teach them a good work ethic. My son spent a summer working as a commissary bagger. He quickly found when he hustled and didn’t take too many breaks his income increased proportionately and when he took Burger King breaks, his income decreased especially when he factored in the cost of French fries.
For many retirees on a fixed income the bagging job provides additional income, exercise and a sense of camaraderie. I had one older gentleman whose wife had passed away tell me, “I just needed a reason to get up in the morning.”
Why don’t commissary baggers get paid by the commissary? The big reason is too keep expenses low. At civilian grocery stores, the baggers are paid employees. So no you don’t have to tip but you will typically pay more on your overall bill.
Commissaries now offer lanes where you can bag your own groceries or you can use self-checkout if you don’t wish to pay a tip to a bagger.
According to my son, $5 is considered a good tip. When tipping, consider being generous. Many of the baggers are good kids starting to save for college or a car. How nice to help them meet their goals. I usually tip $5 but if I have a super large load or maybe there is a very compelling story I will double that. So should you tip your commissary bagger? I say yes and generously.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com