Gone in 38 Seconds: Missouri Grocery Bagger Places 10th at National Championship



Our boy appears at the 1:09 mark, wearing #3!
As Gut Check reported Monday, St. Louis native Scott Hall competed in the National Grocers Association Best Bagger Championship in Las Vegas this week.

The Missouri champ placed 10th out of 22 finalists at the national level, and while he's disappointed, he's by no means a sad-sack over the outcome.

The competitors had to pack thirty grocery items into three bags, then were judged on speed, weight distribution and bag-building technique -- or, as Hall puts it, "how well things were put in the bag."

The newly crowned champion bagger -- 24-year-old Krystal Smith of Burlington, Vermont, an 8-year veteran of a Hannaford Supermarket -- clocked in at 38 seconds. Gut Check spoke to Hall yesterday morning while he awaited for his return flight.

Give us a highlight reel of the competition. It was tough. Four or five competitors in each heat, next to big registers they had onstage. They took the top five scores from all the heats and did a finalists' round, but I didn't make it to that. But the girl who won the whole thing was in my heat, right next to me, so I pretty much went head-to-head with her.

How do you feel you performed? I had to bag totally different things than I had ever practiced with! Big boxes of cereal and Velveeta -- I heard that everyone did poorly on the weight [distribution criteria], so speed was the big factor. At the time, I thought I was going a lot faster than I was.

There were a couple of things I could have done better, but when you're on the spot like that -- I mean, ESPN was there! The crowd took up multiple ballrooms and there were tons of cameras. It was intense!

What did you think of your competitors? The girl who won was really nice. I was surprised by how everyone performed -- I kind of judged everyone when I saw them, and then when they competed, it caught me off-guard how good they were. This kid from Utah, who won third last year, literally brought a busload of people. He got third again. And two girls got first and second. He got showed up. [Laughs] I guess I got showed up too.

How did you score style points with the judges? I had fun with that. They went up to my family and friends in the audience and were kind of making fun of me. My best friend came with me, and she made these hot-pink shirts with black letters. On the front the shirts said "Scott Hall...," and on the back they said "...lasts only 33 seconds." They thought those were funny. I also dougie-d a little bit before I got up there. I did a little shoulder-lean onstage.

How do you feel about the experience now that it's over? I had fun. I mean, I went to Vegas, everything paid for. It's weird to think I don't have to practice bagging any more! I don't have to come in on my days off any more. I've been practicing for this since last summer, and now it's over....

What'll you do with all that free time? I'm kind of behind on my homework. I missed a finance test, so I have to make that up, and I've got a case study due next week. I'll also be begging for a raise.

In addition, Hall is looking to leverage his experience into a trainer gig for aspiring baggers. His goal, he says, is to get a fellow bagger from his Springfield Price Cutter to win the national title next year.

"I told the kids -- it's mostly seventeen-year-olds who work as baggers -- 'I'm going to make sure one of you wins. Then you have to take me to Vegas with you.'"

Bag Boys Bonus Video Footage!

Here's video of 2006 national champ Jason Zitko of the Lemay Plaza Dierbergs!

No word on whether Scott Hall used this video as inspiration in his training, but maybe he should have!

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.