bag groceries vs. bag shopping (AE vs. BE)

zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
Say my daughter and I are at a checkout and I'm asking her to help me bag the things we've bought. Is this how BrE and AmE could put the request?

AmE: Can you help me bag the groceries, please?
BrE: Can you help me bag the shopping, please?
 
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  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I wouldn't use 'bag' as a verb for this. What I do, or what the checkout person does, is put the items/groceries/shopping in the bag.
    I haven't shopped in the UK much in the last few decades but went by the WRF Collins first entry for the verb "bag" meaning to put into a bag. I often wonder how much my memory of BE from way back still holds with all the changes i've missed :D
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Can you help me bag?" would be fine by itself in the US. (We wouldn't say "bag the shopping," but we could say "bag the groceries" if we didn't think that what was to be bagged was self-evident.)
     

    Seiryuu

    Senior Member
    Canada; English
    Bagging is a prominent phenomenon in the Western hemisphere that some grocery stores have the position of bagger for the main purpose of helping a cashier bag groceries for customers.
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    SSBE (Standard Southern British English)
    We talked about this a few weeks back here, from #10 onwards:

    A bag/ the bag please

    "Bagging" is mainly a North American thing, as far as I know. We don't have baggers in the UK and I've never seen them anywhere in Europe, either.
     
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    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    SSBE (Standard Southern British English)
    But not so prominent in the UK.
    Not prominent in the slightest - the practice doesn't exist here. Or anywhere in Europe, as far as I know. Even though we're still in the Western Hemisphere, the last time I checked.

    I don't think you could get away with calling anyone a bagger in Britain or Ireland. It sounds too much like 'bugger'. 'Bagger needed at checkout 5, please' ? I can't see that happening here.

    And in answer to the OP, I wouldn't use the verb 'bag' in this way. Like Lingo, I'd probably ask her to help me 'pack'.
     
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    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Not prominent in the slightest - the practice doesn't exist here. Or anywhere in Europe, as far as I know.
    Do people in some countries buy less stuff at a time? That would result in less use/"need" for bags to carry what they buy, but would also mean needing to go to the store more often.

    Even though we're still in the Western Hemisphere, the last time I checked.
    Well, the line goes through Greenwich... :D

    And in answer to the OP, I wouldn't use the verb 'bag' in this way. Like Lingo, I'd probably ask her to help me 'pack'.
    "Pack" here would sound like you're preparing to travel for days... maybe to a foreign country where people bag their groceries.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    AmE: Can you help me bag the groceries, please?
    This wouldn't happen where I live in most grocery stores. Either there's a bagger bagging your groceries (generally if you're in the full service/no limit line) or the cashier/checker does it if you are in the ten items or less line or you do it as you go if you're using the self-check out system.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    And in answer to the OP, I wouldn't use the verb 'bag' in this way. Like Lingo, I'd probably ask her to help me 'pack'.
    This, in turn, would not be used in the US in this context.
    I see. That's what confused me a lot. So these two sound fine, right?

    BrE: Can you help me pack these?
    AmE: Can you help me bag these?

    But what if do want to use nouns? Would it differ if the things I bought are just food or other stuff as well?

    Scenario one. Only food at a check-out.
    BrE: Can you help me pack the shopping?
    AmE: Can you help me bag the groceries?

    Scenario two. As well as food, I also bought a bulb and a ladle. I guess British "shopping" works fine, how about groceries in AmE?
    BrE: Can you help me pack the shopping?
    AmE: Can you help me bag the groceries?
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Help me with the bags, please. My son hears this very often, almost invariably.

    I have not seen baggers in Europe either and having them would be a dangerous thing because in some countries the word would be mispronounced as 'beggars' rather than 'buggers'. I am not sure which one I prefer :D

    The occasional shop assistant that condescends to help me pack is an angel in my eyes or is simply flirting with me and the shop is empty* :D

    * And my wife is definitely not there... :)
     
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    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I think some BE speakers would indeed use “bag the groceries/shopping”. It certainly doesn’t strike me as odd (but where I lived growing up the nearest supermarket was a US chain which had baggers, so perhaps that influenced things locally).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Not prominent in the slightest - the practice doesn't exist here. Or anywhere in Europe, as far as I know. Even though we're still in the Western Hemisphere, the last time I checked

    At one time (so far back that I can't remember when) the big supermarkets here in Athens had staff to help customers pack their purchases into plastic shopping bags and even help them with their trolleys. I assume that the practice was discontinued when they found out it wasn't cost-effective. One large supermarket also had the cashiers asking customers whether they were satisfied with their shopping experience, but that was annoying and it didn't last long.
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    But what if do want to use nouns? Would it differ if the things I bought are just food or other stuff as well?

    Scenario one. Only food at a check-out.
    BrE: Can you help me pack the shopping?
    I'd ask whoever was with me "Can you help me please?" plain and simple. I wouldn't talk about "packing" "bagging" or "shopping". Why ask a longer question when you can be succinct and the context is totally obvious?

    If I had to ask the person at the till, I'd ask "can you help me pack please?"

    You're standing there with a pile of shopping, whether food or other items. It's so obvious what you want packed that you don't need to specify what they are.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd ask whoever was with me "Can you help me please?" plain and simple. I wouldn't talk about "packing" "bagging" or "shopping". Why ask a longer question when you can be succinct and the context is totally obvious?

    If I had to ask the person at the till, I'd ask "can you help me pack please?"

    You're standing there with a pile of shopping, whether food or other items. It's so obvious what you want packed that you don't need to specify what they are.
    This is exactly what I meant back in #3. The made-up questions in #16, for example, don’t reflect how people talk when actually paying for their shopping at a supermarket checkout. It’s only when discussing or writing about such a situation that terms like “bagging groceries” or “packing shopping” are lkely to be used.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    Do people in some countries buy less stuff at a time? That would result in less use/"need" for bags to carry what they buy, but would also mean needing to go to the store more often.
    In Sweden more and more people use self scanning and/or self-checkout and pack what they buy while shopping in their own reusable bags at supermarkets and larger shops. It means there's no longer any stress to put/pack items in a bag at checkout. There haven't been "baggers" here.
     
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