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BEING A GROCERY STORE CASHIER...
I had written an article a while back regarding my work in the retail industry. I wanted to write another one specifically focusing on my experiences/thoughts as a cashier. Any one of you out there who works as one will recognize the crap you are putting up with on a daily, as well as the rewarding aspects of doing this job. I will list the rewards first as I believe in starting off with the positive whenever possible, so here we go...
Having the ability to create great relationships with your regular customers. The particular grocery store chain that I currently work for caters to many local business owners, places I have visited myself as their customer in the past. In the beginning, we really didn't know each other at all but over time I developed a rapport with them so whenever they came in to shop and saw me, they would always come into my check stand, even if they had to wait a bit longer in line. Doing this has helped me enjoy my job far more than if I hadn't cared enough to get to know them. Many cashiers do not bother at all to get to know any of their customers, even the regular ones. This is where I believe they miss the mark on how to create a much more enjoyable working experience
Honing your skillset to make doing your job as a cashier much easier. The longer you do this job, you learn how to master certain things that in the beginning seemed difficult. You will find that you are more open to change when it occurs. And it WILL occur. New POS systems are always coming into play and once you master one, a new one doesn't seem as daunting a task to learn. It can even be fun if you allow yourself to be open to learning and growing. But therein lies the key...you have to be willing to do this. If you have a lazy attitude are don't care about what you're doing, nothing will ever seem easier. It will just be a drag.
Receiving compliments for your work. Okay, I saw your eyes roll on this one. Yes, while there are many, many times you will feel that your hard work doesn't get the acknowledgment it deserves, trust me, SOMEONE is noticing. Even if they don't say it to your face. Managers today do not typically give a whole lot of pats on the back for jobs that are being well done. But that doesn't mean that your hard work goes to waste. Remember, YOU are building your own reputation/work ethic. It can either be one that people will remember and respect or one that you don't really give a shit about, the choice is yours. But you better choose wisely because it will follow you your whole working life. It may sound trite, but hard work has its own rewards with regard to your present and/or future endeavors. It may not come in the form of monetary value or spoonfuls of honey dripping off a spoon from your manager but hard work WILL get you where you want to go eventually. So, keep at it whether you get compliments or not. Go home and compliment yourself for your job well done!
Being able to help fulfill a need. We all have to eat right? Which means all of us at some point, have to go to the grocery store. Unless you are doing every stitch of your shopping for food online which can mean another whole set of issues. I myself have been one of those customers that have felt the frustration of never being able to find what it was that I needed. Possibly having to go to several stores before I found the thing that I needed. All of that unnecessary travel, wasting my time, and all of the hassle that goes with it. Well, that's sometimes where a cashier might be able to help. We see everything that leaves our stores. We are the end game of your shopping experience. Chances are if we don't carry it, we may know of another one of our stores that does. I know how appreciative I have been while shopping to have had either a cashier or an associate help me out with finding what I couldn't and pointing me in the right direction. A great example would be, my particular store does not sell whole roasted chickens. But some of our other stores do. I know which ones they are and where they are located. So, if a customer wants one and doesn't know where to go I can fulfill that need and save them time and trouble searching. This is just one example of my own experience. There have been many times I have been able to fulfill a need for a customer. When you see how much the customer appreciates the extra care you show to help them out, it's a great feeling. Plus, they will end up being a repeat customer. Which is what you want.
The crap you deal with:
Customers in your line talking on their phones. THIS is my #1 complaint. I wish people could truly understand just how RUDE doing this is. IF your call is that important, step OUT of the line and by all means, take the call. I get it. Your Aunt Sally may be dying. You might have a problem with one of your kids. You might even have an emergency situation. Life happens even while you are buying your groceries. But that does not mean that you continue talking while the cashier is trying their best to do their job. And part of that job might involve having to speak to you and ask you questions. For the love of God, put your call on hold and finish your transaction FIRST. If that is not possible, do NOT start loading your shit onto the conveyor belt, completely ignoring your cashier, and continue your conversation. Excuse yourself, Step OUT of the line and allow all of the customers who are patiently (or in some cases, very impatiently) waiting behind you to get through the line and out of the store. Trust me on this, we are NOT interested in hearing your side of the conversation you are having. We are interested in finishing your transaction as well as everyone else's as quickly and efficiently as possible. You talking on your phone is hampering that effort in a very huge way. So STOP doing it NOW!!
Customers using your grocery store as their ATM. I hate to break it to these types of unique customers but grocery stores are NOT run the same as banks. Although some grocery stores do have banks inside them, which can be immensely helpful, mine is not one of those. No, I cannot sell you five rolls of quarters so you can do nine loads at the laundromat. No, I cannot give you more than $50 cashback on your transaction because it is not allowed. No, I cannot accept your $20 in loose pennies to pay for your purchase (that much coin should be rolled). And while we're at it, paying for your purchase with 10 rolls of quarters is also not cool. In that case, it requires us to call a manager and have them take all of that rolled coin to be put in the safe. That many rolls of quarters in a till will weigh it down and quite possibly break the whole drawer mechanism that helps it to both open and close. Here's a thought: GO TO THE BANK FIRST and cash those rolls in for bills!!! Also, another one that happens more often than not, please do not come into the store at 6 am with your $100 bill and expect us to be able to break it for a $1 purchase of gum. What I want to know is why it is so hard to go to the damn bank FIRST? Especially if you are one of those who only deal in cash? This is always an issue with cashiers and it is the bane of our existence. It is NOT our job to do your banking for you.
Customers putting what they don't want in places where it doesn't belong. If you change your mind, trust me, we don't care. Just as long as you give whatever it is that you don't want to the cashier or any other store associate. Please don't shove your frozen popsicles into where we keep the gum and candy at the registers so it can melt all over them and create more work for us having to clean up after you. Please have some common courtesy. Doing this can not only cause the store to lose money (which is why prices of what you are buying can go up) but it is also nothing more than total laziness. And when you take your cart out to your car, please notice that we have cart corrals for them to be housed in. Leaving your cart next to your car or in the space next to your car could possibly cause damage to another person's car while pulling in or backing out. If you are that lazy, find a space right next to a cart corral next time you go shopping if you can't take the time to walk three feet to where one is. It takes a village people!! Why can't we all work together rather than making other people's jobs harder??
Customers not having their wallet or form of payment ready. We have all been there, right? That person who the cashier rings up and totals and then whammo! No wallet. No cash, no nothing. Frantically fishing around in their purses or pockets for their wallet or card or money or whatever. And then they tell you that they can't find it and they ask if they can run to their car to get it. Ugh...This has to be the biggest gripe of all. How does one NOT know if they have in their possession the method of exactly how they are going to pay for the shit they are buying BEFORE getting all the way to the final checkout?? To be that dense completely escapes me. And leaving your money in your car?? Really?? That's never a good idea considering how many cars get broken into on the regular these days. Please know where your money/card/form of payment is BEFORE you hit the end of the cashier's belt and ever-growing line of people. And please don't blame the cashier if your card declines. We have no way of knowing why your card is declining or do we care. All we know is that it IS. Another form of payment, please. And we do not check balances on EBT or any other type of card. That is YOUR responsibility, not the cashiers. Your balance is none of our business. And if you are one of those chosen few that appear years younger than you are, please have your ID ready if you are buying alcohol. And please, do not give the cashier a hard time about it. Hell, I am 64 but don't look it so if ANY cashier asks me for mine I can't whip that bad boy out fast enough and profusely thank them for asking!! Take it as a grand compliment, not as an inconvenience. The fines for selling alcohol to anyone underage are STEEP. Plus, we can be FIRED for that.
Anyway, these are only some of the good and the bad sides of the cashier/customer experience that has been from my own experience. I'm sure many of you out there are doing the same job and can relate to at least some of what I spoke of here. I want you to know that I stand with you in solidarity and know how you feel. There are days that it can seem like a thankless job and be overwhelming and frustrating as hell but then there are other days when it has been an amazing ride! I would love to hear from some of you out there who have your own stories to share!
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