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They had it in the bag

Local baggers compete for bragging rights

Local baggers compete for bragging rights

February 09, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Grocery-bagging contests can be menacing.

Just ask Brendan Creegan, an 18-year-old bagger at the Martin's Food Market on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown.

"The other baggers can be intimidating," he said. "You don't know what they're going to say. They can taunt you."

Creegan competed with nine other baggers from the Tri-State area Friday in the fifth annual Martin's Best Bagger Competition at the grocery chain's store on Wesel Boulevard.

He said the trick to bagging is to make sure the weight of the groceries gets distributed evenly in the bag.

"You have to watch how you bag it or the bag is going to break," Creegan said. "Go too fast, and you can get careless and ruin it. Do it too slow, and the customer will get mad and yell."

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Mike McCauley, a Martin's customer operations manager, said Friday's winner, Stephanie Nunemaker, 31, of Waynesboro, Pa., will move on to a regional competition later this year in Carlisle, Pa. If she wins there, Nunemaker will have a shot at advancing to the national competition in Las Vegas.

"The whole importance (of the competition) is to bring an awareness to customer service," McCauley said.

Two baggers went head-to-head in five heats, in which each contestant stood behind a table that was strewn with groceries, and began bagging when the judges started a timer.

They were judged in several categories, including skill, speed, separation of products and weight distribution.

More than 50 people gathered to watch the contest. Some of the contestants had their own cheering sections with fans who waved checkered flags, blew air horns and held banners that said, "Kickin with Kellie" and "Rick is the Man."

Nunemaker, a cashier at Martin's Food Market No. 32 in Waynesboro, said she joined the competition for fun.

"I didn't expect to win," she said. "It's basically about the way you build the bag ... To make sure your food and nonfood products are separated. It's about organization."




Top baggers

The following were the top three finishers in the Martin's Best Bagger Competition Friday at Martin's Food Market on Wesel Boulevard.

- First place - Stephanie Nunemaker

- Second place - Joe Bender

- Third place - Nikki Simmons

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