What I'm learning as a cashier at a big discount retailer.
My summer job foray into the retail world.
- •Manning the self check registers doesn't give me much hope for our future.90% of the people who come through will screw it up. And of that 90%, at least 80% will be rude to me when I have to come over to fix THEIR mistakes. And yes, I am totally judging your sacking skills while I'm waiting.
- •On that note, unless you are already a cashier at a store that sells groceries, there is a special place in hell for anyone who goes through the self check with a ton of produce.Seriously. Seriously.
- •I don't like strangers calling me by name.This was a surprise to me. I guess before now I've never had a job where I wore a giant name tag on my chest for everyone to easily read. My reaction when the first person called me by name was a nearly physical balking. Like "Ohhhh...I do not enjoy that. At. All." Not sure what that says about me psychologically, but I know I don't enjoy it.
- •Every time a customer makes a joke about something being free because it didn't scan, I die just a little bit inside.Please. Just stop. Don't make me pretend to laugh.
- •Tobacco users are not patient people.Turns out, when you're at a store to purchase your nicotine fix, you have a bit of a short fuse, and you find it difficult to be patient with someone who's had zero experience with tobacco products pointing randomly at different boxes saying "These?... These?... Uh... These?"
- •People will tell you anything while checking out. Aaaaaaaanything.I've heard some deeply private things from my customers while scanning their groceries. My bland response is no indication of the "Holy shit I can't believe they just said that!!" moment I'm having in my head.
- •The moving conveyor belt is not a great place to set your money. Or credit cards. Or anything else you don't want to potentially have sucked up into oblivion.I will say that it's building my reflexes and peripheral vision.
- •People are both kinder and more awful that I imagined they would be.I have watched people pay for a family's entire grocery bill who were short on cash. I have heard encouraging words spoken from total strangers to grateful mothers who are struggling with screaming infants. I have also heard casual blatant racism and homophobia spewed that left me shaken and with my mouth literally agape. I wish I could say the good wins, but honestly, it's about 50/50. Which makes me sad.
- •It's hard work.You wouldn't think standing essentially in one place for 8 hours would make you so sore, but it does. Not to mention the bending and lifting. Trying to be quick and efficient. Remembering all the stupid codes for everything. Making sure we didn't miss anything or overcharge you. Making conversation while trying to listen over all the other noise. And we're expected to do it all with a friendly, helpful attitude, no matter how they are treating us. It's exhausting. So please be nice.