An observation on categorizing

There's a bagger at my local market who frequently packs my groceries. He's very organized.

Here's a breakdown of today's purchases to illuminate his orderliness:

3 Fettuccine Alfredo Lean Cuisines
3 Macaroni and Cheese Lean Cuisines
2 pints ice cream (don't judge)

Here's how he packed the items:

1 plastic bag: 3 Fettuccine Alfredo Lean Cuisines
1 plastic bag: 3 Macaroni and Cheese Lean Cuisines
1 plastic bag: 2 pints ice cream

Then he packed the three bags into a brown paper bag, and then the paper bag went into another plastic bag for a grand total of five bags for 8 items, but only one bag to carry.

Now, I suspect that the bagger in question has a compulsion or something else going on. But, that's beside the point. The lesson in this story is for information architects, and that lesson is twofold.

1: How you categorize or group items may not match how the user would group items. If I were packing my bags, I'd put it all in one or two plastic bags, jumbled together.

2. You could be going overboard, categorizing and consolidating for the sake of imposing order, rather than usefulness, resulting in an unnatural effect for the user. 5 bags! 8 items! Enough said!

Now, back to that ice cream...