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randi86_gw

Used tissue found in grocery bag today...advice?

randi86
13 years ago

I went to a local shopping center this morning, and when I got home, I started unloading my items. I noticed used tissues were down in the bottom of the sack with my merchandise. I had bought food items, toiletries (tooth brushes and make-up), etc. I only had a few items, so all items fit into one bag. I am unsure of what to do at this point.

I have no idea what this person's illness was. I have been recovering from an operation. Therefore, my immune system is not what it has been in the past.

Isn't this against store policy, OSCEA, etc.?

Any advice is very much appreciated.

Comments (66)

  • angelaid
    13 years ago

    Good Lord. Wash your hands and get over it.

  • cynic
    13 years ago

    Around here only convenience stores keep bags behind the counter. The grocery stores all are set for self bagging even though some will bag for you. You put things on the belt, then pay, then move to the end and the end is where the bags are. Here's an example of a very typical grocery store checkout:

    To be so paranoid about this is silly. I understand the OP's concerns with immune issues but to refuse to take something because someone licked their fingers is flat-out silly. You touch carts with chicken juice all over it, baby vomit, people touching whatever, not washing their hands and then you touch everything. It doesn't bother you that they touch the items when they touch money, and their mouths are far cleaner than is money. They wipe their eyes and foreheads, that's far more gross. Not making light of the OP's condition but seriously, if you're that compromised you can't be out in public. I doubt that it's THAT bad that you have to live in a bubble. You have concerns and there's nothing wrong with that. But I think when you think about it, and all the other far more serious risks, this is relatively minor.

    And again, I'm appreciative of the OP's concerns (or Azzalea's or anyone else paranoid about germs) but if it's really that bad you shouldn't be out in public. Do you touch handrails? Carts? Do you HONESTLY think people don't touch other items in the stores?

    "I stand by what I said--no way would I allow someone to blow their nose on my food, or lick my groceries."
    You must not buy any fresh produce, do you? I'll bet people have licked their fingers before touching that. And who knows what those factory workers were touching before they handled the stuff in the cans. You can't even grow it yourself since someone may have touched the seeds and we all know what birds, worms and other animals do in the soil. You like eating a litter box? That's going a bit overboard.

    As I said, take it back if you're more comfortable. There's no need to become a germaphobe like some. But keep in mind, another trip to the store exposes you to a whole new set of germs.

    Everyone has their quirks. This has shown some interesting ones.

    Hope all is healthy with everyone.

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  • schoolhouse_gw
    13 years ago

    I took a shopping basket from the rack in the grocery store once and there was a wadded up tissue in it, I put the basket back and got a different one. Probably didn't make much difference (germ wise); but the one with the used tissue grossed me out.

  • oscarthecat
    13 years ago

    if there was any of my money in the bottom of that bag please forward. Steve S.

  • matti5
    13 years ago

    Dr. Oz had a show on recently where he placed several hidden cameras in the produce section of a grocery store. It was utterly disgusting what some shoppers were doing. I've always made a habit of washing my produce, but many people don't. Most would however after seeing the video. YUCK!!!

    I appreciate the stores that offer sanitizer wipes throughout. I know they don't kill everything, but in a pinch it's better than nothing.

  • minnie_tx
    13 years ago

    Why not take the bag and tissue to the store and tell the manager
    Then take your own shopping bags with you from now on.

  • angela_nor_calif
    13 years ago

    What angelaid said: Good Lord. Wash your hands and get over it.

  • bigfoot_liz
    13 years ago

    i would just take the bag back to the store, if i had the time, more likely i'd throw it out as my time is worth alot of $$$ to me. people don't even think about what germs and disgusting things are on the exterior of everything. obviously cockroaches, mice, bugs, etc...crawl all over everything in stores. babies w/ dirty diapers in the front seat...i never ever put my purse in the cart lol. microbiology was a second speciality of mine in college but i am not a freak about germs just very aware lol i won't even tell about a class study i did on local restaurants LOL. ~ liz

  • wine50
    13 years ago

    You exposed yourself to more germs just getting to the store, opening the door, getting a cart and shopping. Think how many people have picked up those cans and packages of stuff in the store. If you are that concerned and have any unwrapped products/produce... throw them away. Otherwise, wash your hands and take your own bags with you from now on.

  • ann_in_florida
    13 years ago

    The worst stomach bacteria I ever had was after eating at the salad bar of a national chain restaurant. My doctor told me that many restaurants just dump the bags of lettuce out into bowls without washing it. He explained how the lettuse is sometimes harvested and that the pickers sometimes are not allowed potty breaks and just "go" in the field. In addition, I have since been very observant of salad bars (refuse to ever eat at one again) and have seen people handle food with their bare hands and then put it back for others to eat. After this, a dirty tissue isn't a really big thing to me.

    Like others, I love the stores that offer the had sanitizing wipes for the shopping cart handles and I always try to use them. Not only do people's hands touch the carts. How many times have we all seen parents allowing babies to "chew" on the handles while riding in the carts???

  • lilliepad
    13 years ago

    I totally agree with what cynic said. If you already unloaded the items in the bag,the "damage" is done!
    As for the produce. DS is on his third round of chemo and his doctor told him not to eat any produce without first washing it thoroughly. So I guess that says something about what might be on it. They also told him not to eat anything from a salad bar or buffet so what does that say about salad bars and buffets? I have always washed produce anyway just because I figured it could be dirty just from being grown outside in the dirt. Who wants to eat dirt? LOL
    A story a friend of mine told me once after she had been to California. She said,"Don't eat celery".She saw workers in the field peeing on the celery. Every time I buy celery now I think about that.
    Moral: Everything we eat,touch breathe has some kind of germ on it! The best we can to is use proper hygiene and take extra care if our immune systems are not up to par. If I worried about germs as much as some people on this board I would never leave my house! Watching someone let their dog lick (grosses me out!) them or their children in the mouth or face actually bothers me more than the germs I might touch in a public place.
    If the OP is still worried about the products she bought,by all means take them back for a refund and tell the manager what happened,but I don't think it's something anyone should get irate about. I'm sure the person who checked them out was not responsible. Who would be looking for anything in the bag if they were checking and sacking as quickly as possible? I don't think I would have.
    I say get over it and get on with your life!

  • Georgysmom
    13 years ago

    Oh man, I wish I hadn't read this post. the celery thing really grossed me out. I say bring your own bags in the future. That's a good thing. Do you all eat in restaurants?...and yes, I'm putting all this out of my mind and will continue to eat celery. I'm going out to dinner tonight and won't give any thought to what goes on in the kitchen, and I won't give any thought to the door handle when I open the door. My point is, there are germs all around us....we have to live with them!

  • bulldinkie
    13 years ago

    Forget all that,take it back,tell them you want new.

  • jannie
    13 years ago

    When my Mom (86,woth COPD emphysema) goes shopping, she brings her own hand sanitizer and uses it. When she gets home, she washes her hands fully, then puts the groceries away, then washes again.

  • kacee2002
    13 years ago

    I echo the others that say don't worry about it
    And bring your own bags to the store next time
    We should all be doing that anyway

  • lydia1959
    13 years ago

    I think a used tissue would gross me out too, but I agree I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'd wash the items and go ahead and use them.

    Doesn't anyone else think it would be gross to just return the items? They'd just be put right back on the shelf... the person that bought them wouldn't know they had been in a bag with a dirty tissue.. at least the OP knows that and could clean the items before using them.

  • golfergrrl
    13 years ago

    I wish the OP would come back and comment.

  • dances_in_garden
    13 years ago

    The sane and balanced part of my brain says "wash your hands and items from the bag carefully and throw the bag away" and let it go after a shudder or two. The next time I shop there you can bet I would check the bag before it is loaded LOL.

    The part of my brain that sucks up Cipralex to keep from making me count things until I am dizzy and scrub my skin with bleach? That part is too busy short circuiting right now. *Snork!*

  • dilly_dally
    13 years ago

    "Doesn't anyone else think it would be gross to just return the items? They'd just be put right back on the shelf... the person that bought them wouldn't know they had been in a bag with a dirty tissue.."

    That would be illegal to do so with food items where I am from for the very reason that you describe...........the merchandise could have become inadvertently or purposely contaminated.

    The store does not need a lawsuit either, should the items have been tampered with. And if the item sat in someone's kitchen even for a short time, it could pick up cockroaches, or pantry moths or eggs, or other insect pests and bring in an infestation to the store. They already have a big problem battling vermin and don't need to expand it.

    Any food items that are returned to a grocery store are destroyed - not put back on the shelf. Even if an employee sees the item and says they are willing to eat that bag of chips or drink the returned soda, since they are going to be thrown out anyway, they are not allowed to do so.

    Do you really think that some guy is going to come in and say "I bought this Tylenol by mistake and really meant to buy Advil. Can I just return this? OK?" Seriously, they are not going to put the bottle back on the shelf.

  • pump_toad
    13 years ago

    I am wondering if they could be used hand sanitizer tissues. Most of the stores have them now and when dried they would look like a Kleenex.

  • dilly_dally
    13 years ago

    That's a good thought! Maybe the groceries are actually cleaner than when they were put in the bag. :)

    At some of the stores I shop at the cashier has a bottle of spray cleaner and paper towels to wipe down the conveyor belt occasionally like when meat juices might drip or or something like ice cream leaves milky rings. The used paper might have inadvertently fell in one of the bags.

    I don't expect someone to peel apart dried paper to see if it is a tissue or a cheap paper wipe, but maybe it won't seem so bad thinking of the other possibilities defining the crumpled paper at the bottom of the bag.

  • lydia1959
    13 years ago

    Any food items that are returned to a grocery store are destroyed - not put back on the shelf. Probably true.. I was just thinking a makeup item like this one:


    Would they throw this away since it is sealed?
    I honestly don't know.

    Do you really think that some guy is going to come in and say "I bought this Tylenol by mistake and really meant to buy Advil. Can I just return this? OK?" Seriously, they are not going to put the bottle back on the shelf. Nope, I'm sure they wouldn't, but the OP didn't say anything about Tylenol... just makeup, a toothbrush (which I am sure was well packaged) and some food items (perishables? canned goods? OP doesn't say).

    The Aldis near me sells Televisions (seriously, my parents bought one! lol)... so if someone returns a tv... they would resell it right? There have to be some items the store would resell... who decides what is okay and what isn't?

  • randi86
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thank you for all of your replies. It is interesting to see all of the differing opinions. I do not think that I am "going overboard" or "being paranoid."
    The store mentioned is in a small town with a population of less than 900. It has only 2 check-outs (that are back-to-back), and the bags are kept behind the counter. There were only 2 employees in the store at the time of purchase. In the bag where my merchandise was packaged, there was a cardboard cut-out of a Puffs tissue box and at least 8 tissues. Obviously, an employee had used this bag for waste and not a customer.
    I have lived in this town my whole life, and this store was recently opened in late 2009 and has new employees. It is the store's responsibility to train their employees of the proper disposal of waste.
    I will not use these items because the risks outweigh the cost. There are far too many infectious diseases out there. It is important to me to make sure that this does not happen again. There are people who are in worse health than I am in this town, and a dirty tissue brings a person into direct contact with another person's mucous, which is not only a carrier of germs but also simply gross.
    Again, thank you for all opinion, including ones that differ from mine.

  • lisa_fla
    13 years ago

    When I worked in a grocery store, items were returned to the shelf all the time if they were unopened.

  • evatx
    13 years ago

    Randi, I'd tell the manager so he/she can speak to the employees and stop it from happening again. And no, I don't think you're being "paranoid."

  • cynic
    13 years ago

    It would have been nice to have had this additional info from the start. In that case, yes it was obviously used as a waste basket and likely used by an employee but nevertheless, I still think it was a mistake rather than some planned attack.

    Of course it's your choice to use or not and I respect that. Again, not knowing more, can only speculate but to side with caution is often wise and you sound like you understand that and it apparently wasn't a large amount.

    I'm curious. Did you call the store and mention it to them?

    Incidentally, I don't think anyone was calling you paranoid or overboard. You expressed a concern and asked advice. I do think walking out because someone licked their fingers is, well, strange! I wonder if they have seen tellers count money or people turn pages in a book in the library! But I know I wasn't calling you overboard and I didn't interpret anyone else to suggest you were either. Hope you understand the advisories on the exposure to contamination everyday.

    Here's wishing you good health.

  • dilly_dally
    13 years ago

    "Would they throw this away since it is sealed?
    I honestly don't know."

    Returned make-up is suppose to be destroyed. Always. There is no way to know if that mascara was taken out of it's sealed packaging, used, then replaced and re-glued. Then the next person could contract conjunctivitis. I've seen manufacturer's packaging like what you show in the photo, containing other types of items that have obviously been opened and re-glued or even taped, but never for any product that could become contaminated and dangerous. If you ever see packaging for make-up that has been opened you should alert a store employee. Some shoppers think they are entitled to 'testers' for the cheaper brands of make-up sold at drugstores.

    That does not mean that a store won't slip it back on the shelve though. I work in restaurants and I can tell you that restaurants reuse items that were served on people's plates. Everything from uneaten mushrooms that came with a steak, to lemons, to parsley and whatever they think they can save and reused. Even a dollop of butter on a persons plate is scrapped off by the dishwashers to be saved for the cooks to be used for frying. Those bowls of salsa that people dip their chips into are dumped back into a pot if there is any left. BTW steak knives with wooden handles are not put through the dishwasher. They are just wiped down with a rag. The same rag. Over and over for all of them.

    As far as putting sealed items back on the shelves of stores.......One time I bought some tortilla chips. I realized I had purchased the salted ones and I returned to the store to ask if I could exchange them for unsalted. The guy told me to go get a bag off the shelves and come back. I did. I held up the bag and he said "OK" and then punched the bag of salted ones, crushing them and shot the bag into the wastebasket. I felt bad not knowing they would be wasted like that when I asked to exchange them. I would have just kept them otherwise.

  • randi86
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Cynic, you said "To be so paranoid about this is silly." Another poster said "there's no need to go overboard with caution." I was merely replying to these comments, but I want to assure everyone that no offence was taken to these comments. I asked for everyoneÂs opinions and they are appreciated.

    I agree that this was not done on purpose but still think it should never have happened and that the store is responsible for training its employees about the proper disposal of bio-hazardous waste. These tissues should never have been disposed of in a shopping bag (a trash bag or red bio bag should have been used) and the bag should never have been left so close to the packaging area.

    I work for a large company in a nearby town. We manufacture snack packaging and the policy is that if there is the slightest chance of contamination we dispose of that product. I have been trained in CPR and First Aid by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. They instruct us to treat all bodily fluids as infectious.

    I did speak to the manager of the store before this was ever posted, but wanted to see what comments I would get from everyone. I was told by that manager that their cashiers would never put merchandise into a bag that had been used for tissue disposal, but that they receive their bags in large quantities and are not responsible for what is in them because they cannot be expected to inspect each bag.

    To all of you who thought this was gross-well let me tell you that I was very grossed out when I looked down into that bag and realized what I was searching through. I cringe to think about it now!!!

    Thanks again for all the comments.

  • angelaid
    13 years ago
  • lilliepad
    13 years ago

    Sorry randi,but in your OP you did make it sound like there were a couple of used tissues in the bottom of your bag,not a box with used tissues! I think a lot of the responses,including mine,would have been different had you gone into more detail.
    Dilly dally-Where do you live and what restaurant do you work in? I'll be sure never to eat there!LOL

  • FlamingO in AR
    13 years ago

    It wasn't a box, it was the little football shaped piece of the box that tears out when you open it. And 8 used tissues. Which tells me that the checker has some kind of health issue going on and is busy contaminating every item bagged for every customer. I just hate when people go to work or school or a movie, whatever, when they are sick. Have a care for the rest of us, sheesh.

    The store manager sounds worthless and doesn't want to accept any responsibility for this. So I'd take it right to the checkers and tell THEM that you were thoroughly disgusted to find a bag full of THEIR used tissues when you got home. Obviously the manager isn't going to do it.

  • dilly_dally
    13 years ago

    Posted by lilliepad: "Dilly dally-Where do you live and what restaurant do you work in? I'll be sure never to eat there!LOL"

    Hon, ALL restaurants do those things. All of them. I can guarantee that you have gotten a recycled garnish or eaten food sauteed in someone's leftover butter. You've probably crunched down a cockroach in something too or eaten something drenched in rat urine. And even worse. LOL.

  • gardenspice
    13 years ago

    I have to disagree. I worked in restaurants for years in highschool and college and I never once saw any food or garnish being recycled.

  • lydia1959
    13 years ago

    Dilly... you must work in a dive. I worked in restaurants for over 6 years and NEVER did we take anything off a plate and reuse it.

    Cockroaches and rat urine?? Don't you have health inspectors where you live?

  • Georgysmom
    13 years ago

    Angelaid....loved the dead horse! If you don't stop beating it I'm reporting you to PETA.

    Dottie

  • dilly_dally
    13 years ago

    Posted by lydia1959: "Dilly... you must work in a dive."

    No. I have never worked in a "dive". Ever. LOL. I have only worked in fine dining restaurants. Always.

    You should hear the stories I hear from nurses about the deplorable conditions in hospitals. And no, the hospitals they work in are not the ones that are "dives".

  • amyfiddler
    13 years ago

    LOL angelaid. Lordy.

  • good36
    13 years ago

    Dily Dally.... Don't believe everything you hear!! I have worked in many hospitals and None were "deplorable", honestly that's just stupid. As far as resturants Just where are you talking about??? You must have worked for a dive or live in an area that does not have inspections?

  • msmarion
    13 years ago

    I don't know what restaurant you worked in but in the ones I've worked in (fine dining and greasy spoons) NEVER EVER would anyone EVER recycle food and no one was allowed to take home a steak bone for their dog.

    As for the used tissues. I'm sure it was a mistake, but I would let the manager know. Geez we are all human. Bio-hazard...come on.

  • angelaid
    13 years ago

    Sorry, I can't help but find this ludicrous. I guess I need a hazmat team to come in after every load of soiled undies and hankies I wash. Or snotty nose I wipe. Or soiled bottom I clean.
    And, I've worked in a lot of restaurants over the years and I've never seen as much as an unopened cracker recycled, much less food or garnishes. Cockroaches? Rat urine? Sounds like hysteria is going rampant over some isolated incidents the press blew way out of proportion about a disgruntled worker spitting in food or something.

    *still shaking my head in disbelief*

  • Marigene
    13 years ago

    Uh, maybe she lives in an undeveloped country that has no health board to do routine checks on the restaurant she works in...sure isn't one of the 50 states in our country!

  • sheesh
    13 years ago

    Certain posters are always full of extreme stories. Haven't you noticed who they are? I have. They are often misleading, if not just plain lying.

  • matti5
    13 years ago

    Dilly dally, please do not say ALL restaurants recycle food. I owned and worked in my restaurant for 42 years and we NEVER did such a thing.

  • pump_toad
    13 years ago

    I am quite certain Walmart does not put items back on the shelf. I was in the check out line behind two young girls that had their grocery items on the counter but they didn't have enough cash between the two of them and so the clerk took some items off their bill. I asked her later if they put those back on the self and she said no, they are not allowed to do that.
    Lois

  • magic_arizona
    13 years ago

    I can't seem to get the image of out of my head of a rat walking up to my dinner as it's sitting under the warming lights, and lifting it's little rat leg on my Prime Rib.

    Seriously Dilly Dally, your statements are rediculous. Like someone else said, if that actually happened, and I don't believe it did, but if it did it surely wasn't in the USA.

  • dilly_dally
    13 years ago

    No, I do not tell lies. Ever.

    There are books out there and other resources that can be used to educate yourself. There is YouTube which will even give you visuals so that you can "see it with your own eyes". There are many fine dining restaurants with disgusting conditions and there are many, many, many fine dining restaurants that have their staff recycle food among - other things.

    Check this Gordon Ramsay vid out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr3MGCmd03U

    Google for more. :)


    But I see that this thread has now turned into yet another "pile on". I am not going to be baited into saying anything "back" no matter how many accusations are tossed at me. I live in a Third world county? Really? :rolls eyes:

    Bon Appetit!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Fine Dining Place with Roaches and Rats

  • lilliepad
    13 years ago

    When I had my little Cafe we were not allowed to even serve something left over from the day before,much less recycle condiments and butter! Guess our health inspectors were a little more conciencious than dilly dally's.I am not so naieve that I don't believe we get things in our food that shouldn't be there but I doubt any (much less EVERY) reputable restaurant would allow the practices she describes.LOL
    OK think I'll let this one die.I really am feeling bad for that horse.LOL

  • dilly_dally
    13 years ago

    Matti5, you are right. I have not worked in every single restaurant that exists, so I should not have said "all". I meant to say all the places I've worked and all the restaurants that my friends have worked.

    Kudos to you for running a restaurant the way it should be run. They sure ain't all like that.

  • wildchild
    13 years ago

    I known people in the refrigeration business (they see the real gross stuff) and in the restaurant business. My own brother was a cook for a very well known Bay Area chain for 19 years. My son is good friends with the head chef of a very high end San Francisco restaurant. I've been in many a restaurant kitchen. I'm also the type of person who sees things around me that most people miss. Believe me if some of you really saw/knew what goes on in the restaurant biz you would never eat out. Some of the priciest places can be the worst. Some dives can be the cleanest. It all depends on the owner and management. Larger areas haven't got nearly enough food inspectors to keep up. Even when citations are given they only have to fix them for the recheck and then most places know the inspector won't be back for a year or more. It really comes down to the ethics of the owner/manager and cook who runs the kitchen.

  • Marigene
    13 years ago

    Do you really believe everything you see on You Tube?

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