EASTON -- No matter which Thanksgiving ingredient you may have forgotten, there is no one who will get you out of the store and back to your kitchen quicker than Ernesto Daveiga. The Roche Bros. employee has won company-wide and state competitions to become "Best Bagger in Massachusetts."
Next up: nationals in Las Vegas, where he'll be judged on technique, weight distribution, and speed.
"Just don't throw stuff in. I'll be watching [other baggers] throw everything. The bag will look a mess; my OCD will be kicking in, I'm like 'no,'" the 20-year-old explained.
The National Grocers Association has been holding this Best Bagger Championship for 35 years, to show just how important this role is in exceptional customer service. Roche Bros. has made it to nationals before, but they've never taken home the big prize.
"It's $10,000 on the line! That's what I'm really in it for!" Ernesto said, laughing.
Despite all the hoopla, the Brockton native stays humble. When signs congratulating him went up around the store, he jokingly changed his name tag. "No, my name's Kyle!" he pretended, as a customer noticed the sign and applauded him.
And even in the holiday rush, Ernesto never cuts corners.
"Nobody wants to take out the groceries after shopping. I just make it a little easier for them," he said, of the task.
That's the Roche Bros. way. "It's always good to have somebody like him have that last impression on our customers. We just want to make sure he knows we're proud of him," said assistant store manager Carlos Acosta.
Ernesto's 21st birthday is a week after the February competition in Vegas. He would love to bring home bragging rights for the store, and the cash prize to go toward a new car.
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