Reader-submitted: ‘Taking a Licking’ in Lakewood stores

grocery-tlsThere is a repugnant and unhealthy practice which has become the norm at many Lakewood stores, and it amazes me that people are complacent or oblivious to it.

We all shop in food stores daily, and watch our purchases being placed in those ‘stuck together’ plastic bags. What happens very often (especially when not wearing rubber gloves) is that the employee doing the bagging cannot easily pry apart the ‘stuck together’ plastic bag, so he/she resorts to the following unsanitary solution. They hold their open hand to their mouth, and roll their wet tongue over their fingers. Now, with their fingers moistened with a bodily fluid called ‘saliva’ they proceed to pull apart the ‘stuck together’ bag, and place your ‘soon to be eaten’ food inside it.

Now you proceed to pick up these bags with your hands touching their saliva.

News flash for food/restaurant store owners: There is a simple product called a ‘fingertip moistening pad’ (a wet sponge in a bowl) whose function is ‘just that’, to moisten ones fingers with water. This product has been around forever, and is available at any office or restaurant supply store and costs all of 7 dollars or so.

Spreading germs in this way not only makes the food unappealing, it is unsanitary (and rude to boot).

So please, ask your local store to invest in moistening pads and to have them placed at each and every register. And most importantly, insist that they enforce their use.

Or, is it only me?

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  1. What I find more repulsive is when there is food displayed without packaging and customers feel the need to touch each one to decide which one they want. I don’t know what you’ve touched since you washed your hands and I don’t need all those germs on my bagel. Why do people find this an acceptable practice?

  2. Agreed. Licking your fingers to separate bags or even to turn pages is quite unappetizing. However, the finger tip moisteners, especially the sponge/water models harbor as much or more bacteria and the stuff used for counting money dries out if open. I am not sure it’s too yummy to slide hundreds of fingers in that either. probably the best method is to dispense bags with a latex glove that has good fingertip control.

  3. their saliva is only on the OUTSIDE of the bad & doesnt effect any of your food products or your hands holding the bags as the opening stuck together is not by the handles of each shopping bag & therefore you never come to touch their saliva

  4. It is kinda gross, but I’ll admit that
    Sometimes I just can’t get the bags open so I lick my finger to open the bag. I do think about the germs that are on my hands from touching the shopping cart. Then again people had stronger immune systems before all the antibacterial sanitizers came into use! May we all be gezunt!

  5. PS: “There are a number of components of saliva that have been shown by scientific research to act against infection or to promote wound healing.” Have you never seen a parent lick their kid’s pacifier clean after it has fallen on the floor. (Yuck, but it’s done)

  6. In the service industries, anything that makes you wince as this practice certainly does should be eliminated. When you spend your money to purchase anything at all, it should be pleasant…. unless the clientele you are dealing with is crass and don’t respect themselves.
    It is true that there may be some properties in saliva that are anti bacterial but there also properties in saliva that spread disease. No thank you.
    I agree that this is gross. A solution might be the rubber fingertips that many postal workers and office workers wear in order to move paper.

  7. I mamash agree with your zug. I think that we should compile a list of all stores that engage in this abomination, and boycott them. We need to send a lesson to store owners everywhere that we will not sit back in the face of such injustice. The word will go out in lakewood and across the globe, that licking will not be tolerated whatsoever.

  8. what about the workers who wear gloves in restaurants but they touch money with the gloves which has germs which defeats the purpose of wearing gloves??

    why cant restaurants use proper hygiene!? i refuse to eat out in most restaurants

  9. How about this one. I was in a bakery and someone ordered a birthday cake with words on it. I was watching the employee and he used his mouth to make a wide tip to write the letters. I told the person buying the cake and he walked out without buying it.
    Licking a bag is the least of the issues

  10. How about washing your food before you eat it?
    Anyways all of your food had been sneezed on multiple times by the time it reaches your kitchen. Do you really think a little saliva on your bag will make a significant difference?

    Don’t forget not to leave home without a surgical mask!

  11. Teshuva, Rabbosai, Teshuva!

    Hold on. I have Yossi Green on the line. We are working on a new niggun: One less licking and we’ll all be free.

  12. There is also the even sadder practice of people wasting their time writing stupid stories on the Internet.
    But the most disgusting thing is that people make passive aggressive comments (laced with sarcasm) on the aforementioned stupid stories.

  13. I was in a store and by each cashier was a orange cut in half that they used to open the bags. Smart solution fairly cheap. Other options would be to mix water in cup and sugar.

  14. Hygiene is important but seriously you need to live! There is a fine line between being clean and sanitary and being neurotic to the point which affects your quality of life. If u take issue with the bagger licking his finger, tell him no thank you and bag your own groceries. No reason to get others involved. We all have immune systems for just this reason

  15. Seriously, you’d more likely be damaged by your car driving home than the saliva that may not be affected by any bad germ, may not be touched by you, may not enter your body, and may be killed by your immune system. Ask them to box your groceries…. Oh, they might bite the packaging tape. Wipe everything down with alcohol when you get home and destroy the boxes on Lag Baomer or Erev Pesach. V’nishmartem Meod Lenafshosaychem!!!

  16. Seriously, get real please. What is the big deal abt someone licking their finger to open a bag which is touching you food which is probably wrapped in 2 layers of plastic.

  17. Totaly aggree a lot of these bagers are illegals coming from 3rd world countries without proper immunization but why’d you bring it up? I never thought about it now I’m gonna be nauseous every time I go shopping…what about going to the library or even in shul all those pages were licked yuck!!

  18. You know, the real problem is THE SHOPPING CARTS…

    Think about it. Who knows what germs are on it?? The handles are touched by many, some of whom have germs, and even kids with sniffles sit in them….
    Also, if shopping in ShopRite or other stores that carry non-kosher meats, etc, shouldn’t we be concerned about “treif germs” that might get transfered to our kosher food?….
    this is SERIOUS….

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