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Grocery Bagging Champ: 'You Just Sacked As Fast As You Possibly Could'


Every Olympics it seems like people turn into overnight experts on whatever event happens to be on. Who knew that we could so easily master the subtleties of 4x10 cross-country ski relay and...


SHAPIRO: ...Then curling. Well, while the world has been focused on Pyeongchang, you might have missed this competition in Las Vegas last week for an activity that most of us do regularly.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Baggers, are you ready?



SHAPIRO: Bagging groceries. And the 2018 best grocery bagger in America is Trevor DeForest, a 35-year-old assistant manager at Fairway Groceries in Maquoketa, Iowa.

TREVER DEFOREST: Everybody out in the crowd just went crazy. And you literally just - you sacked as fast as you possibly could.

SHAPIRO: Just sacked as fast as you could. DeForest has been sacking since the age of 14. His dad's a grocery manager, so he's had plenty of opportunity. What's more? He's from a state with a strong sacking tradition. This is the seventh time Iowa has won the National Grocery Association's best bagger honor.

DEFOREST: It was a really big deal. I mean, there's 23 states that are involved in it. It's a big bragging right.

SHAPIRO: The challenge - bag identical grocery orders, putting about 35 items into three grocery bags. Competitors were scored on speed, weight distribution and proper arrangement.

DEFOREST: Style is a big portion of the competition. So you know, the way you put your stuff in the sacks really matters. You got to build a foundation and then - with like your canned goods and your boxes. And then you kind of lay the eggs and chips and bread all on top and stuff like that.

SHAPIRO: DeForest also knew to avoid a rookie mistake.

DEFOREST: Putting glass along the edge of the sack, so then if something were to bump into it, it would break.

SHAPIRO: The prize - $10,000. DeForest now has something to help pay for his own groceries. And that'll come in handy. He has five kids.


STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN: (Singing) Well, the house is a rocking. Don't bother knocking. Yeah, the house is a rocking. Don't bother knocking. Yeah, the house is a rocking. Don't bother. Come on in. Walking up the street, you can hear the sound of some bad honky tonkers really laying it down. They've seen it all for years... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
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