Twenty years and nine states later, I’m right back where I started. My 41st birthday was last week. Twenty years ago I was living here in Tennessee working as a church secretary. Now, I’m living back in Tennessee, working in a minimum wage retail job. Not much difference. I deal with assholes and grumpy people all day, and the occasional nice person. I’m ignored, belittled, and treated like a minion much of the time. I just keep on smiling and saying hello, because that is part of what I’m being paid to do. It’s only when one of my favorite customers comes in that I am able to drop the act and genuinely smile and be happy to greet someone.
The funny thing is, that even when I’m grumpy and don’t want to be there, I still smile and act friendly. Even when I don’t want to. Sometimes I just want to snap at people because they are just so damn clueless. Because of this I’ve come up with a list of my pet peeves. These are things that people do when they are in the store that absolutely drive me insane and make me want to a) scream, b) cry, c) throw my badge on the counter and walk out, or d) all the above.
- Acknowledge the cashier or store employee when they welcome you to the store. This could mean saying hello or even just smiling back.
- Be prepared. Have your discount card, coupons, money, and/or ID ready before you get to the register. I’m trying to check you out in the friendliest yet most efficient way. Please help me help you.
- Get off your damn phone! Do be courteous, as I will do the same.
- Empty your basket. Again, help me help you as quickly as possible.
- Put your basket/cart back where you got it. I sometimes give the elderly a pass on this one.
- Control your children. Germs are real folks, and your children are not welcome to drool and climb all over the counters grabbing the scanner and everything else within reach.
- Be rude to the cashier. That includes being on your cellphone, not saying a word to the person helping you, throwing items or money on the counter (like throwing spare change at a beggar), and thinking the cashier is a mind reader.
- Be a snob. Just because the cashier is doing a job that you think is beneath you, just imagine what you would be willing to do to take care of your family and be able to feed them.
- Be “holier than thou.” One lady actually said to me, “Honey if you were perfect you wouldn’t be working here.” I hate the Sunday crowd the most. The so-called God-fearing Christians are usually some of the rudest, meanest, most judgmental people I have to deal with.
- Think we’re lazy and/or not intelligent just because we are working a minimum wage job. (At least I’m working. It might not be my dream job, but I bring home a paycheck and pay my own bills.)
- Give the cashier gospel tracts. I know that you think that they might be the one in a hundred who actually reads it and finds the Lord, but no. Save the sermons for the parking lot. They have a job to do and taking them with a smile, then throwing away your little cutesy tracts after you walk out the door is not in the job description.
- Tell us your latest racist or sexist or off-color joke. You will receive the death stare.
I guess that’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll have to add to this list later on. Just remember to be nice to cashiers. We have to do a lot of math and deal with assholes all day long. On top of that we have to go around a clean up after you. (I’m talking to you. The ones who like to walk half way around the store before deciding they don’t want something, and then just set it down anywhere before heading to the checkout.)
I’ll take a beer now please.
Peace, love, & happiness.