This Troy Can Really Sack 'Em
Athens, Ga., grocery bagger prepares for competition in the Kroger's Bag Off.
His years on the football field and the basketball court at Clarke Central have served Troy Yerby III well. The recent graduate will compete on Wednesday in the Statewide Division Championship in Dacula, and he’ll be using his hand-and-eye coordination like crazy, to bag grocers fast and well.
He’s hoping to advance to the next stage and represent Kroger at the Georgia Food Industry Association’s competition in July. The winner of that will go up against the country’s top baggers at the 2013 National Grocers Association Best Baggers Contest in Las Vegas.
Troy has worked as a bagger at the Alps Road Kroger for the past 18 months. He’s fast, efficient, and “a real bouncer,” says Vickie Stout, the store’s front end manager.
“I’d been watching him and there're no complaints about him,” she says. “We’re hoping he can win money for college.”
To pack three plastic bags with typical grocery items in under 35 seconds. If that’s not daunting enough, Troy then must pack the same stuff into two reusable bags in 45 seconds or less.
Contestants are judged on speed, placement, style, attitude and weight. The bags need to be balanced, and the grocery items can’t be crushed.
The Alps Road Kroger has sent a district winner to the Division Bag Off for the past three years, Stout said, but no one has won the bigger contest. She’s counting on Troy to do it—earlier this month, he blew by 12 other contestants at the competition in Augusta. He won a $100 Kroger gift card and a gift bag.
He’s heading to Valdosta State in the fall, where he plans to study mechanical engineering.
“I’m going to do my best to win,” he says. He practices every day for two hours, using both hands to place the groceries into the bags. "I'm ready."