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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rosauers bagger revels in his brush with fame

David Tochinskiy in a photo from Facebook
David Tochinskiy in a photo from Facebook
Michael Guilfoil Correspondent

When it comes time for job résumés, 19-year-old David Tochinskiy already has several impressive accomplishments in the bag.

Not only is the part-time Rosauers employee this year’s National Grocer Association Best Bagger, he also beat former boxboy David Letterman in a “bag-off” viewed by millions on air and more than 10,000 on YouTube.

Tochinskiy discussed his brush with celebrity during a recent break at the Five Mile Rosauers.

S-R: When did you start working for Rosauers?

Tochinskiy: I started two years ago in high school with Super 1 Foods in Colville. Now I attend Spokane Falls Community College, taking prerequisites for their cardiac sonography program.

S-R: What’s your job title?

Tochinskiy: I’m a courtesy clerk. I bag groceries, carry them out for customers and bring carts back. If there’s a spill in an aisle, I clean it up.

S-R: Do you like it?

Tochinskiy: I love interacting with customers.

S-R: What does it pay?

Tochinskiy: Minimum wage. ($9.47)

S-R: Tell me about the Best Bagger award?

Tochinskiy: Four months into my job in Colville, I won $100 in a super sacker competition at my store. Then I moved on to a companywide competition and won $1,000. Then I won the state competition, which included a $1,500 prize and a trip to Las Vegas to compete at the national level. Last year I won state, but didn’t win in Vegas. This year I won it all, including the $10,000 national prize and a trip to New York to appear on Letterman.

S-R: How is the competition judged?

Tochinskiy: There are four categories: speed, weight distribution, technique – how the bag is organized – and personality.

S-R: Who were the contestants?

Tochinskiy: They came from 25 states and Alberta, Canada. Most were around my age, but some were in their 30s and 40s.

S-R: What was your secret for winning?

Tochinskiy: It’s all mental. Last year when I came up on stage, I looked at the groceries and all the people in the audience, and it was nerve-racking. This year, I canceled the crowd out and focused on my technique.

S-R: When customers come through your line at Rosauers, do they realize their groceries are being bagged by the national champ?

Tochinskiy: You’d be surprised how many people recognize me after the Letterman show.

S-R: Do they ask for your autograph?

Tochinskiy: (laugh) I’ve signed a couple of bags, just for fun.

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