The blank labels that adorn deli market bags don't stay that way for long, customized on a price per-pound basis of the turkey, salami, ham, cheese or other luncheon meats that grocery shoppers happen to be buying, occasionally priced at a "buy now" discount.
But for New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, who frequents the deli section at his local grocery store, it wasn't the price on the labels that he was concerned with, but where the labels were positioned.
As reported by The Union Leader, earlier this summer, Gov. Sununu received a lot of social media buzz after starting a conversation about why deli employees at Market Basket – one of the New England area's leading supermarket companies – were placing the price tag labels for luncheon meats directly over the zippers customers use to open and close the bags when containing their packaged deli meat slices.
He learned he wasn't the only one when he logged on to Twitter, only to find a fellow lawmaker, Kevin Smith, town manager of Londonderry, was experiencing the same frustration.
"Dear @MarketBasket, I love you. But PLEASE stop putting the price tag over the zipper part of the deli meat bag," Smith tweeted at the time. "It's nearly impossible to open it without destroying the zip lock and bag, defeating the purpose of such," Sununu tweeted.
What the Bags Are Used For
Aside from serving as a handy vessel to store luncheon meats, the bags with the attaching zippers help to preserve freshness. But when the bags tear, as Smith referenced, it increases the susceptibility to meat spoiling due to its exposure to the air.
Smith, evidently, wasn't alone in his vexation either, as followers aside from Sununu "liked" his tweet well over 100 times shortly after the town manager's initial post Aug. 2, the paper reported.
Speaking to Seacoast Online, Sununu initially thought he may have been the only one.
"I do my fair share of grocery shopping, especially at Market Basket," Sununu told the newspaper. "You think you're the only one who deals with this every week, when the thing tears and you have to re-seal your cheese."
Sununu stated that when he saw the tweet that Smith made, he knew he was on to something, and ultimately took to Twitter shortly thereafter to thank Smith for his message.
"I have to re-bag the cheese every time in a ziplock, which defeats the cost advantage of buying at MB in the first place," Sununu wrote, as reported by Seacoast Online. "Love the store and the people, but just want fresh cheese."
Labels Have Since Been Repositioned
It didn't take long for the lawmakers' lighthearted irritation to reach some of the decision makers at the Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based supermarket chain. Officials at Market Basket tweeted in response that it would speak with its deli departments about it so a resolution could be reached.
Several weeks removed from the apparent labeling snafu, Market Basket deli workers have since repositioned the labels so that the bags don't errantly rip.
Sununu says he likes to think he's partly responsible for the policy change.
"I will take credit for getting Market Basket to move the labeling on their ziplock cheese," Sununu told reporters at an executive council meeting in Salem, The Union Leader reported. "We asked the question, and I couldn't be more excited that one of my favorite employers in the state, Market Basket, listened to the concerns of Kevin Smith, myself and a variety of other folks."
In addition to the price per pound and product type, label printers on deli bags often detail the "sell by" dates and bar codes for checkout purposes.