Ready, Set, Bag!
Posted by Dennis Calhoun, employee training specialist
Monday, March 5, 2012
The place was fabulous Las Vegas. The crowd was cheering. The music was blaring. The “Great Blake Westling” was in the spotlight.
Every year, the best of the best grocery baggers from 24 states across the country gather in Las Vegas for an intense showdown of their bagging skills. This year’s event marked the 4th time in 5 years Lunds and Byerly’s represented Minnesota at nationals.
Blake Westling competed for Lunds and Byerly’s this year at the National Bagging Championship. He has worked at Byerly’s Eagan for five years and has been a part of our local Lunds and Byerly’s competition every year. In 2011, Blake won the Minnesota Bagging Championship and earned his position in the national spotlight.
The National Bagging Competition highlights those who bag our groceries every day. Every bagger has to bag 31 random groceries and is judged on four categories – speed, distribution of weight, technique and attitude/style.
This competition emphasizes the great pride we at Lunds and Byerly’s take with each and every one of our customers and the daily customer service we offer, all while efficiently bagging their groceries. At Lunds and Byerly’s, we believe bagging groceries is such an important factor that every new carryout receives training immediately following their company orientation. During this time, they hone their customer service skills, learn bagging techniques and practice mock “real-life” sessions so they’re ready to serve their customer.
Not only did Blake juggle a job, working out and weekly participation in intense “Skype” bagging practices with me, his trainer, he also had a full-time job as a student. Blake is a junior at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, studying biology no less. Needless to say, this young man put in extra hard work week in and week out with an incredibly good attitude every single day.
Blake’s hard work paid off: he took 2nd place in the National Competition! He won a $5,000 cash prize and still holds the title of Minnesota’s Best Bagger!
If the world had 10 million more Blake Westlings working, it would be a much better place. Today, Blake has “bragging, bagging rights” that he will never forget!
I truly believe that if you put your heart into what your hand is doing, it can make a big difference. Whether it’s bagging groceries, studying for school or just relaxing – Blake is a great example of one who gives it 150%. Thanks Blake and all of our carryouts, for proudly representing the grocery industry and leaving a lasting impact on our customers – every day, every customer, every time!