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Tips from a Cashier

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I work as a cashier at a very large and popular retail store. Opposed to what some might think, it can be a difficult job. Help us keep our sanity by considering these tips:

1. We are human. Say hello if we say hello. Don't just ignore us.

2. USE A BAR TO SEPARATE ORDERS! We can't read minds. We don't know when your order starts or ends.

3. Don't come in with lots of kids and buy lots of stuff and expect us to help you out with it or unpack it from your buggy.

4. We don't give out gift boxes. This isn't Sears.

5. Time to time we HAVE to ask if you would like to "donate to" on your bill. If you don't want to, just say no. Don't yell and scream at me about how everyone is after your money. I have to ask.

6. Yes, I do need a barcode. The price of the object isn't good enough. Either check to made sure your items have them, or be patient when I have to call for them. I don't like it anymore than you.

7. If we ask for your postal code (or zip code), it is for marketing research, and again, we HAVE to ask. Don't get snippy - I'm not going to come and rob you, and it's not a big conspiracy.

8. The answer to how are you is "good" or "ok". I really don't want to know about your need for these laxatives, condoms or anything else you are purchasing.

9. It is never ok to throw anything at a cashier - credit card, money or items.

10. If you recognize me shopping when I'm not working please don't ask me for help.

Thanks, just needed to vent after a stressful day.

By Liz from Ontario

Feedback Forum

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By lenaheaven04/05/2013

I have been a cashier for a year now and I actually enjoy it. There are days, but God is my helper and strength. I always say "Have a blessed day" to every customer and it makes everything so much better!

By Lou (Guest Post)09/12/2008

I have been working at distribution warehouses for almost 10 years. The only job I have done is loading and unloading merchandise for delivery. I had never had to worry about customers or being working for a retailing place and served as a cashier. However, I was laid off from my warehouse job because of the bad economy.

I had applied to many places among them I applied to Walgreens and I will start soon. The problem is that I have NEVER worked in retail before and I am AFRAID of working as cashier for walgreens. I am NOT good in dealing with angry customers, and having a line of people waiting. I cannot see myself being a cashier. Yet, if I get hired. I CANNOT afford to quit. I need the money and I am under pressure to get over my phobia to a cashier, but I do not seem to do it.

Will someone give me some advice on how to deal as being a cashier. I am a warehouse guy, not a cashier guy. I need HELP!!!

By soon to be a Cashier (Guest Post)06/05/2008

Wow, I'm sort of afraid of what to expect now. I was just hired a couple of hours ago for my 1st job as a Cashier at a retail store. I hope I can do it right and still deal with people. What's the hardest math that you've had to do? I need to practice.

By soon to be a Cashier (Guest Post)06/05/2008

Wow, I'm sort of afraid of what to expect now. I was just hired a couple of hours ago for my 1st job as a Cashier at a retail store. I hope I can do it right and still deal with people. What's the hardest math that you've had to do? I need to practice.

By Jake (Guest Post)02/13/2008

I got my cashier training done today. The day before valentines day and for some reason it was so much harder than I expected when they threw me onto a register. I don't know if it was the backed up lines and difficult customers stressing me out, or if being a cashier just isn't for me, but I made mistake after mistake and had a lot more trouble than I thought anyone could have with a cash register! I have a new found respect for cashiers everywhere for putting up with disrespectful customers.

By rick (Guest Post)11/23/2007

Actually I've been in the business for over 27 of my 42 years and I must say that I have no greater joy than having elderly people know that I actually do care how they are doing. Many are simply lonely and although, as im a manager who works on the floor, I may have more time to interact with them. At first many shrug it off as nothing but when I can pick up a few details and interact with them on that level they seem to appreciate it truly. Try it. Remember that life is tough. And those that are older than us have probaly been through or seen more than us. Stop and listen for a little while. You will be surprised. Anybody who finds these words inspiring please email me at thomrick747 AT hotmail.com

By Shereen (Guest Post)07/02/2007

I agree with the suggestions 100%.
I am a Walgreens cashjer and I hate it. I wanted to go to college ever since graduating from high school but I never got to do it because of personal issues , some beyond my control. I was second to valdictorian in my senior year, took 4 years of art, AP Literature, AP Government, a member of the National Honor Society, otherwise, a complete nerd.

Yeah, thats not the customers problem, but it becomes my problem when customers treat me like brain dead loser that cant do any better because I didnt graduate from school or Im too stupid to find any other kind of work.

Ive had people yelling at me about things that the "higher ups" should have taken care of: prices not entered in computer, prices ringing up wrong, shortage of items on sale, ect ect,. A few days ago a woman purposely dropped her receipt on the floor when I gave it her and made sure I saw it, When I politely asked her if she could give it to me so I can throw it away, she said "Wait a minute!!" and then picked up the receipt and harshly and rather violently threw it onto my hand , hurting my hand for the next few hours. That was completly uncalled for. I responded to her audacity with "Damn!". I was praying for a rebuttle so I could tell her what I really thought of her and I deserve respect despite my name tag and vest.

The thing is I am smarter than most the customers that come in and choose to treat me like brain dead scum of the earth. My IQ has been considered in the gifted range on various colege entry and school tests so anyone that truly knows me knows I can do better than what I am doing. But the problem is, not everyone was privileged and born with a silver spoon in their mouh so I am stuck doing what I am doing to pay my rent, pay for the car, co-support my husband and myself, buy food for my orange tabby and 2 parakeets, food for myself until a bloody miricle comes along that I can do something better like computer programming which I had my eye on for a while.

By Kelly (Guest Post)08/10/2005

I have been a cashier for 10 years and I believe in the saying" kill them with kindness". I have experenced all of the examples of rude customers. I do know 60% of my customers on a first name bases becouse they are repeat customers due to the good service they get at my store. Working with the public is a very hard job. Hang in there!

By Lynn Marler [39]05/08/2005

Dear Liz, it's been a while since I worked in retail but I do still work a little bit with the public and you are right on! I sympathize with you so much; I think people are getting ruder and ruder these days, especially toward people in retail or any kind of service work or dealing with the public. And it's not just the kids who are ruder; a friend of mine works in a doctor's office and says that 99 percent of the rudest patients are the elderly ones! She found out that one patient who had been particularly rude was someone that her husband knew. She told her husband about and he confronted the rude patient about it. The patient said he was sorry, didn't realize that was your wife, etc. My friend's husband said "the fact that she's my wife's got nothing to do with it; you were rude to her and all the other gals who work there in that office; you ought to apologize to them all the next time you go in. People who work in offices like that work really hard." The patient said "I'll apologize to your wife but not those other gals; I find that for the most part, women who work in jobs like that are where they deserve to be." Can you *believe* that kind of cruel, idiotic thinking?! I think that overall, people are just getting ruder and more self-centered and arrogant these days, possibly due to the horrible economy and the war and the high gas prices, here in the States anyway. Well, hang in there, Liz; some of us appreciate the hard work you do!

By Liz From Ontario (Guest Post)05/07/2005

Don't get me wrong- you could come through my line and never think that I felt this way. I am very good at my job and very patient. I just simmer quietly if I'm annoyed.

By aeromama (Guest Post)05/06/2005

I've worked in the grocery business for over 20 years now...I completely agree with everything you said. sadly, the fact remains that when you work with the public, you are bound to have to tolerate rude people...some are really JERKS! I've found that the majority of customers are frendly and even nice. The others I stopped letting it get to me...they;re not worth getting stressed out over.Hope this helps! :) aeromama

By Annie Rios Hill [12]05/06/2005

Liz,
Hope you know some of your customers really do
care and realize how hard you work. I see how hard the work at the stores I shop. I do not work anymore and my husband is disabled therefore we
shop early or late and avoid weekends. Once I gave the cashier an extra $20.00 and she chased me down to give it to me, it was stuck. I joked and said
'well maybe it should be your tip!" she said "No people like you make my day easier, you are alwyas so nice and cheerful' WOW ! I usually let people with kids or small items ahead of me, I am not usually in any hurry. Now she asks if hubby is ok
and I hear about her grandkids.
I have a girlfriend who thought all "service workers"
are idiots. I tried for years to fix her thinking till the one day I blew up and asked her quite heatedly and loudly , perhaps the waitress was working her way through college, single mom or whatever but first
she was HUMANE and she should treat everyone with
respect if nothing else.
My beef is fast food the breakfast ends at 10:30 and
if you are in line and wait and time comes and you miss getting your order in 'too bad' these same people who think nothing of showing up late for dental appt. and making the hygienst work into lunch hour!! ugghhhhhhh
well take care Liz ! ;)

By floppy4me (Guest Post)05/06/2005

I too worked retail for over 10 years. I agree 100% with Liz. I do not think that she was out of line. If you are friendly and courteous to your cashier you will probably brighten their day!! Yes, it is difficult to shop with children in tow, but I must take my 3 toddlers with me when I go or I just don't go. I still manage to be polite, and friendly at the register I have even made friends with the cashiers that I see weekly.
Here is a tip. If you have small children or just wish to avoid long lines and crowds go early in the morning. I do my grocery shoppig every monday at 7:30am. My kids don't bother anyone, I get the best deals on meat items and I have the same cashiers who are happy to see my kids and I.
If you are friendly and smile you will be amazed at how it can affect those around you.

By George05/06/2005

Working the register in a convenience store I would like to add a few tips of my own.

1 Please do not hand me cash wadded up into little balls. I do need to count it.

2 Do not get offended that I count what you hand me. Four eyes are better then two and far more often a customer has handed me too much money then too little.

3 When I ask you if that will be all, please do not say it is if you want more things. If you want other things but rung up as a seperate purchase, please just say so.

By Missy05/06/2005

You have made some good points, and I appreciate you bringing these to my attention. I think a lot of us have the tendency to think of service personnel as sometimes being part of the woodwork. We all just need to treat others as we want to be treated! I know that from now on I'll try to do better to remember that the person assisting me has feelings too.

By cindy (Guest Post)05/06/2005

I agree with you 100%. I worked retail for 14 years and I agree with everything you are saying. An awful lot of customers are brain dead when it comes
to simple manners and dignity (ever find some childs dirty diaper that the parents left after they were done with the cart?). That being said, now that
I dont work that job anymore, I go out of my way to
be nice to cashiers and some of them seem just as
brain dead! They ring up my order from start to finish without even saying a word or they are too busy flirting with the boy who is bagging. Just remember you are doing a necessary job and if you
act with manners and dignity maybe the people will
take that as an example and your job will be secure
since they will continue to shop there.

By Jo Bodey [1]05/06/2005

You must have had a very bad day - either that or you aren't cut out to be a cashier and need to change jobs! I can appreciate that you have to put up with some pretty rude people, (my best friend worked in retail and told me some hair raising stories), but also you are the representative of your store and paid to offer good service. I make that point because helping customers who are overburdened with groceries and children is very good PR for your store, although maybe not your direct responsibility. I was struggling with a very full trolley one day and my cashier at Woolworths offered to get someone to assist me. A young man came and divided my trolley into another and helped me push them to the car. I have used that service once since, (when I wanted to buy some canned drinks but couldn't fit them in my trolley with the groceries). I was very inpressed with the thoughtfulness of the cashier who suggested it in the first place and wrote to the store to thank them, and draw attention to her service. I did notice on my last visit though that there was no bar to separate my shopping from the preceding customers!

The answer to, 'How are you?' is how you are........ if you don't want to know, don't ask. The superficiality of asking how people's day is or wishing them a good day or a good weekend is just so artificial. I know your bosses probably require you to ask but it is so false as you pass through the checkout and hear the cashier ask the next customer the same question. You know they have absolutely no interest in your day or anything else about you so I actually always tell the cashier exactly how I am, in detail sometimes! In fact I'm thinking of starting a world wide campaign to get everyone to tell their cashier how they really are!! lol! Then there will be a national uprising of cashiers and this ridiculous practice will be stopped.

Having said that, yours is a hard job - as is any job working with the public. There is never any excuse for rudeness to the cashier if s/he is doing the job well. If you have a gripe about things outside the control of the cashier write to the store manager with your complaint and send a copy to the head office of the company. Stores go to remarkable lengths to keep/increase their market share and if enough people complain about something, and threaten to take their business elsewhere, they will change, and hopefully make Liz's day a bit easier.

Regards

Jo

By pw (Guest Post)05/05/2005

Please! I'm just a customer! I've never done any of those things! but I'm kind of scared now to interact with my next cashier! You definitely have some legitimate gripes, but please give allowance for human frailty and imperfection. So many of the customers don't know any better, and some of the older folks think that you really DO care when you ask them how they are doing. Going shopping in your store may be the high point of their day.

PS--I have never thought your job is easy. I have always been amazed at the complexities of a cashier's job and have great respect for your profession. Hang in there -- maybe tomorrow will be better!

By Crystal (Guest Post)05/05/2005

These are wonderful suggestions for people who have never worked in this industry!!! I use to be a cashier also and these suggestions are right on!!!!

By (Guest Post)05/05/2005

Very scary! Please let me know when you are working. I live in Ontario!

By KPC. (Guest Post)05/05/2005

My wife works for a major retailer. It is hard work. I appreciate everyone who waits or works for me in retail, restaurants, hotels etc. Thank you!

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