How fast can you sack?
Albertsons’ sackers show skills in second annual competition
If you get Cristal Herrera to sack your groceries after shopping at Albertsons Market, then you should know that she’s one of the best sackers the store has.
That’s because Herrera proved victorious Friday morning outside Albertsons Market as she bested five co-workers to win the store’s grocery sacker challenge.
Classic rock music from AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses blared as Herrera, 16, and other contestants bagged eggs, bread, bottled drinks, bags of chips, cereal, cookies, canned goods and more groceries into three sacks as quickly as they could. Mock customers conversed with the sackers as they worked and thought out where to put what while getting timed. Afterward, the grocery bags were weighed and inspected by judges.
Herrera and Atiya Mackey, 15, competed against each other in one round and both agreed the sacker challenge is fun and that jars were the hardest to sack. Putting groceries into bags and talking to the customers was the most challenging aspect for Herrera, while for Mackey it was making sure the bags weren’t too heavy.
“I feel great winning,” said Herrera. “I thought somebody else was going to win. I thought they were better than me, so I’d just give it a try and I guess I won. I was never the first and then I felt nervous and I thought I was going to shake.”
Herrera, who received cash for her winning effort, said she’ll keep trying and trying her best on bagging when it comes to the district competition next month in Odessa-Midland. Herrera plans to work on talking to customers, which was advice given to her by judges after the winner got announced.
“Talk to more people like they said,” she added. “I need to start a conversation with them because I was shy at first. But I’m not actually shy, I talk a lot, but today I was shy.”
Friday marked Albertsons Market’s second annual sacker competition and featured judges from the community: Hobbs Fire Marshal Shawn Williams, Hobbs News-Sun editor Todd Bailey and United Way of Lea County’s Kim Wheeler and Janelle Blain. The sacker competition starts at the store level first. A winner then competes at the district level in Midland-Odessa, explained assistant store manager Steven Luna, and the winner there advances to the divisional competition in Lubbock. From there the winner competes in Las Vegas at a national sacker competition.
“And they’ll be competing in Vegas for a chance to win $10,000,” Luna said.
Contestants are judged on several factors, like time and weight.
“Time is obviously a big one, but that’s what I was trying to stress to these guys,” Luna said. “It’s not just about time. It’s also about how you’re sacking. It is correct? Is (there) glass next to glass? Make sure there’s no glass on the outside, it’s protected on the inside. Bread and eggs aren’t getting crushed. Stuff like boxes aren’t laying down flat. They’re standing up, building walls to protect what’s inside of it.”
They’re also judged on appearance, like if they’re wearing a uniform, name tag, shirts tucked in and wearing belts.
“The overall performance and how they interact with a guest as well,” Luna said. “We want to make this as realistic as possible. Yes, it’s fun. It is a competition, but at the same time it’s a learning experience. This is the exact same things they do on a day-to-day basis. They’re constantly bombarded by different questions, different situations and they not only need to be able to sack quickly, professionally, but also correctly.”
Store director Jubel Patterson called it good training for sackers, saying it’s fun and it “helps build teamwork and excitement” at work. He said it’ll hopefully make the sackers better and praised judges for their critiquing and evaluating.
“I’d just really like to thank the judges for their time,” he said.
Herrera and Mackey were joined by four other competitors: Jayce Lewis, 15, Elko Sanchez, 16, Omar Sandoval, 15, and Deah Duskey, 15.