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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Checked Out: Guidelines for Interacting with a Cashier

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If I go home over a break, I typically work some hours at the job I have held for about a year and a half: cashier at a large retail chain. I’ve learned a lot about people from this job, and I’ve seen a lot of the ugly that comes out in shoppers. The following is some of my jaded wisdom compiled for your reading pleasure.

Don’t tell me how to do my job. They trained me, I promise. This includes telling me what change to give you, and which coupons are currently usable. It’s rare that I make mistakes because the computer you see in front of you does the math involved in transactions, not me. Also, I know which coupons you can use at the moment. It’s my job to know. I promise that if I don’t know, I will ask my manager. I’m not trying to cheat you out of your “promotional gift.”

I am not your therapist. It is inappropriate to bring up personal tragedies with me over the course of our two-minute acquaintance. I’m a human being with the ability to empathize, but we don’t know each other, and you’re making this pretty awkward for me. Furthermore, it is not my job to make you feel better about your shopping addiction or hoarding tendencies. I’m looking at you, woman who comes in every week to buy clearance candles and stuffed animals. If you make comments aimed at seeking my approval, expect me to smile in acknowledgement that I heard what you said. Do not expect me to nod my head and say, “Yes, good for you! I’m glad you got such a good deal on all of that stuff you don’t need.” (I would probably get fired for that, anyway.)

I don’t have any real power or influence in this store, let alone in the corporation. Part of my job involves asking you about your shopping experience, and I really do hope that it wasn’t terrible, but if it was, all I can do is listen to your complaints. I can’t change the fact that the dressing room was messy or the signage was confusing. I do not have the authority to determine what things cost. I’m sorry.

If your kid slobbers on something you expect me to handle, please be polite about it. I’ve done a fair amount of babysitting, but when I’m at this job, I’m not anticipating getting a whole lot of human saliva on me. Many a time I’ve had parents pull away an item a young child was clutching so that I can scan it only to find that it is covered in spit. Gross. If Dante had worked as a cashier, he would have written a special circle of Hell for these types of parents.

If you’re nice to me, I’ll do my best to help you. It’s pretty simple, actually. If you’re not rude or presumptuous and treat me like an actual person, I will do everything I can to make sure you get what you want with the best deals available to you. I want you to have a positive experience. I will get a price check if that’s what you want, even if I’m pretty sure you misread the sign. I will honor whatever coupons I can for you. When we’re finished interacting, I will sincerely thank you. Truthfully, most people understand this, but some shoppers tend to abandon all manners and common sense they’ve fostered

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