Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I wanted to title this post "Things the Kid Ringing Up Your Groceries Wants You to Know", but that was just too long, so I'm going to call it what it is: a public service announcement.

I've spent this summer enjoying learning about the things that come along with working a real, actual job. I've learned not only a myriad of different numbers that represent different fruits and veggies, but I've also learned that shopping carts can be dangerous, Wellness mats are the bee's knees, and sometimes, people can be difficult.

Most of the people I've encountered through my job have been simply delightful individuals. Of course, there are always those few that make my job less fun. So without further ado, here are some things I wish everyone in the world knew/adhered to.

Talking on the phone is rude. Talking on the phone while getting your groceries (or merchandise) rung up might not seem like a big deal,  but to the person behind the register, it is. When your attention is elsewhere, your cashier feels as though they are interrupting something when they just want to ask how your day is or inform you of your total. That's what they are there for. Suspending your call for the short amount of time needed shows that you at least recognize that there is a face-to-face interaction at hand. That's helpful.

Dividers are there for a reason. When you don't use one of the provided dividers or make it explicitly clear where your things begin and someone else's end, you run the risk of unwanted overlap. Dividers are your friend. If you aren't going to leave a space roughly half the length of the belt, please use one...a couple of inches isn't enough differentiation. Just because you know where the dividing line is, doesn't mean the cashier does.

I don't know the price of everything in the store. If you tell me that your kid drank a single-serving bottle of milk and threw it away before you got to the register, I'm not going to be able to ring it up. Even if you tell me what brand it is. Bar codes, folks. Bar codes.

It's not my fault. Cashiers don't make the rules. They don't set the prices. They don't stock shelves. They don't program things into the computers. If there is a discrepancy of some sort, please don't take it out on us. Don't get mad that I don't know the price of your kid's milk. If you look like you're 16 and don't have a valid photo ID, I can't sell you cigarettes. I just can't. Also, if you aren't willing to abide by the coupon rules, you can't get the coupon price. That would be anarchy and a complete disaster. If you don't like our promotions, that's okay, but don't go off on the cashier telling them that the system is a scam and they need to fix it, because it's not, and they can't.

Pay attention to the light. If the light for the register number is off, that cashier is unavailable. No, you can't just sneak in because you think it'll be quick--because other people see you and try the same thing. The next thing you know, the cashier has been there for an extra 20 minutes. Your cashier probably has had to pee for a couple hours and needs to go on break...or home after a 10 hour shift. They turned the light off so they could indicate they are just finishing helping the customer they are with.

Please don't yell at us. Occasionally, we do screw up. I'd like to tell you we don't, but that would be a lie. When that happens, please be gracious about it. It was more than likely an honest mistake. Going off on us will not help the situation even a little bit. Also, we aren't allowed to yell back, so that gives you an unfair advantage. We have a lot more going on that we have to be mindful of than you might think. When we have bad encounters, it makes being pleasant for future guests that much harder, and it isn't fair to them. This one boils down to simple Golden Rule stuff.

Now, I realize that I live in a broken world, and to expect everyone to be friendly and understanding all the time is impossible. But being aware of the other side of things can't hurt.

Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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