Kirkland courtesy clerk to compete for best bagger title
By RAECHEL DAWSON
Kirkland Reporter Reporter
October 18, 2012 · 2:47 PM
Kirkland resident Alex Lavinthal will compete in the “Best Bagger State Championship” next Thursday for a chance to battle at nationals in Las Vegas.
The PCC Natural Markets’ cashier won the store competition between nine Washington PCC’s and will make his way to the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center on Oct. 25.
“I really want to win the state competition,” said Lavinthal, who spends his time off playing sports, poker and listening to hip-hop music. “I’m ready to represent Washington and PCC.”
The contest is an annual event that invites contestants representing grocery stores statewide to compete for the title of Best Bagger. The statewide winner gets an all-expense paid trip to participate in the national Best Bagger competition in Las Vegas in 2013. The winner receives a $1500 cash prize.
While Lavinthal, 27, is confident in his abilities, he said PCC’s products may not be the same size or weight as the more conventional items he could be bagging.
Lavinthal said he will train by getting specific “sample items,” setting up a training area at home and having his roommate stopwatch his time. His eight years of experience as a courtesy clerk with PCC and his attention to speed and weight distribution will also be on his side as he competes.
This is Lavinthal’s first time competing at a state level.
He said if he wins national he hopes the cash prize will help make his all-expense trip to the national competition in Vegas that much more fun.
Lavinthal and 11 other contestants will be graded on speed, technique, weight distribution, attitude and appearance.
PCC joined the Washington Food Industry Association’s competition three years ago as a way to put more focus on the importance of bagging.
“Speed is not the main issue for us (at PCC),” said Mimi Simmons, PCC customer service manager. “(It’s important) people make it home with their groceries in good shape.”
She did acknowlege speed will be a factor in the competition.
President and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Jan Gee agrees with Simmons.
“Believe it or not, bagging groceries is an art form,” Gee said in a news release. “A well packaged bag of groceries ensures the customer will get their groceries home in good condition and a courtesy clerk’s positive attitude is integral to ensuring that a customer comes back again.”
The Washington Food Industry was founded in 1899 and it represents the state’s independent grocers. Growers to grocers collaborate to promote the principles of free enterprise to ensure a competitive and economically healthy food industry. According to the association, the grocery industry provides about 50,000 jobs in Washington State.
For more information, visit www.wa-food-ind.org.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Reporter Raechel Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 X5052.