Author: whitneypaige2014

CARD DECLINED

Occasionally a customer will go to pay for their groceries but will get the most haunting words known to man – card declined – Thus, fury boils over by said customer.

Thankfully, I have come up with a few steps that will assist any and all cashiers from having these customers unload their anger on to you.

1. Tell customer card was declined and more than likely one of these following answers to this news will unfold.
-“I have money on here, I know it.”
-“I just used it somewhere else. It works.”
-“WHY?!”

There could be a limit they are trying to exceed, their card could be expired and they are still trying to use it, etc. There are a few very plausible reasons as to why their card is not working. All I know is, it’s not my problem and I don’t care. I’m just the middle man. Middle lady. Whatever. Therefore, I ask the customer to try their previously declined card one more time because you honestly never know. Magic could fall upon us.

If their card is declined again, blame the machine. I repeat, BLAME THE MACHINE. It will work every single time. Ask for another form of payment and give the credit card machine a swift and playful slap. Stupid thing. *wink*

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“DO NOT USE PEN”

Now, the credit cards machines are goofy, and all cashiers know that. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, who knows what is ever going in. One thing that will never change on a credit card machine is the fact that you have to sign your name. I do understand that some machines are different from others, but the concept is all relatively the same.

Swipe your card, hit CREDIT or DEBIT, either enter a pin or sign name based off of previous selection, and TA DA! You paid for your groceries.

Not so fast.

Some of my favorite customers are the ones that get confused over the “do not use pen” request that appears on the screen wen one is about to sign their name.

“Do not use pen?” they ask me, oh so confused.
“It means to not use a real pen,” I respond, soothing their anxiety.

Although, there is always that one customer who ends up trying to sign their name with their finger because they just can’t figure this darn thing out. What does it want? Not to use a pen? I’m going to try and write my name with my finger, that should do the trick.

But…I’m just going to let you finish writing your name with your finger before I speak up about the proper instructions because this is just my favorite moment of all time.

“Funny” Customers

Example 1:

*DING DING DING* goes the alarm on my till notifying me that the price of whatever monumental grocery item the customer before me has chosen has also decided to not ring up.

“It must be free!” Said customer exerts with oversimplified enthusiasm.

Ha.

No. And you are the approximately the 784th customer to try that.

Example 2:

Here I am, just staring off into space, enjoying some peace and quiet, which doesn’t happen very often in a grocery store, I might add. This is the calm before the storm.

“You look bored, we can’t have you just standing there doing nothing, can we?!” a voice booms from just a few feet in front of me, rattling my every nerve.

Stop and pause sir, because that is where you are wrong.

Example 3:

Cue sun, cue cloudless sky, cue light breeze, cue work.

“Wow, it’s gorgeous out there! Bet you are pretty bummed about being stuck inside on a day like today!”

…Cue steam spraying from ears…

Repeating Yourself

This has to be hands down and without a doubt my biggest pet peeve, not only at work, but in life.

Common Scenario:

Me: Your total is $18.46, please.
Customer: WHAT WAS IT?

Okay so, what was it about my eye contact, clear enunciation, and increased volume that cause you to miss what I just said?

What the customer if front of me doesn’t know is that my fingers are just grazing the top of the CLOSED sign that beckons to be put out. Therefore, I recommend you also look to your left, where there is a very clear screen which has displayed every item you have chosen to buy, the price of each of those items, and a bold and collective total, $18.46.

Otherwise, the CLOSED sign is going out and you are going down.

Small Tastes of Freedom

Depending on my mood, on the day, and on the shift, taking breaks at work can be either a blessing or a curse.

On good days, the paid thirty minutes we are awarded to go to the restroom, grab something to eat, and to sit down for once in right hours is actually like a perfect slice of heaven. However, on bad days, thirty minutes seems more along the lines of a meaningless five seconds. There isn’t enough time for me to take even a halfway decent nap, there isn’t enough time for me to eat my feelings, and there isn’t nearly enough time shaved off from my eight hour shift.

Whether I am complaining or enjoying it, at least I am getting paid.

Money HANDling

One thing I will never, ever be able to comprehend as a cashier is why customers cannot place their money to pay in our outstretched hands. Despite recent controversy, my favorite thing is NOT to pick up your scattered exact changed from the conveyor belt.

If you are the customer that flings your $20 dollar bill at me for your $19.98 dollars worth of groceries, yells at me to keep the change and the leaves the receipt I just handed to you floating upon the floor, I have nightmares about customers like you. Oh, and your two cents? HUGE dent in my bank account, so thanks.

Passing the Time

Time is but a virtue, or something. I’m not really sure. Time is really something strange though, because there is no actual happy medium. We either want it to speed up or slow down. In reality, time is the one thing that is a constant in our lives, yet we continue to take it for granted. Now, before I continue down the road I am going, which is quite clearly going to lead into me lecturing you on why you aren’t spending your time the way you should, I am going to share with you some ways in which I attempt to make the time go faster at work.

1. Horoscopes

This stuff is serious, okay? My moons have to be aligned and the planets need to just figure their junk out. I need to know what is going on and it is very important to my well-being as a human.

Not really.

They are pretty fun though, and they all say something different which can be quite comical at times.

However, this “passing the time” act may have begun to get a little out of hand, as I know now there are exactly three weekly magazines that have horoscopes in them and they change on Wednesdays only. Also, there is one that changes monthly and it usually tells me my love life is starting to pick up. For some reason I always fall for that.

On slow nights I also text Amanda hers. Oops.

2. Cleaning

I am a self proclaimed neat freak by choice and I am proud. Thus, when it gets super slow into the very depths of the night, I clean like no woman has ever cleaned before.

One night I even dusted the dog food. Yeah.

And just for the record, people are gross.

3. Daydreaming

This is just a given. Sometimes I imagine I am a princess in a faraway land, hanging out with all of my fairytale friends and just living the dream. Other times I am more realistic, dreaming of not being at work and sleeping instead.

It’s pretty much a toss up to be honest, but hey, it makes the time go faster.

This time five minutes have gone by instead of only two. PROGRESS.

Getting Lost…Again (An Embarrassing Part II)

As I stated before, I have no idea where anything in the grocery store is. But let me rephrase that a little better, because while it is completely true, there are some items that have permanently been marked into my brain, sans removal. For example, I know chips are in aisle ten. I know frosting is in aisle three. Ice cream topping is in aisle six, and all candy hangs out in aisle eight.

As you may have been able to tell, I’ve got a real nasty sweet tooth.

However, moving on. Occasionally there will be the “Lost Customer.” One who does not have a clue, unlike myself, where the most important items in the store are. Good thing they found me to direct them, right?

Here are two examples of conversations between myself and a lost customer that actually happen more often than you think.

Conversation 1:

Customer: “Excuse me, can you tell me where the lemon juice is?”

Me: “Absolutely I can. Let me go ask someone quick. DON’T MOVE.”

*-Tip- If you instill fear within them they can’t get mad that you don’t actually know where their coveted lemon juice is.*

Me: “It’s at the end of aisle two, top shelf, left hand side.”

Customer: “Thank you so much.”

Me: *Beams like a ray shooting down from the sun*

Conversation 2:

Customer: “Excuse me, do you work here?” (my favorite question of all time)

Me: “Yes, yes I do.” (whilst filling jello)

Customer: “I’m looking for maple syrup, which aisle would that be in?”

Me: “Let me ask!”

-Sidenote- Everyone has since taken their lunch breaks, because I can hold down the fort for a few minutes anyways right? Wrong.

At this point I know it’s going to be bad because this gentleman will never find the maple syrup with my help. There is no way. But I cannot and will not return direction-less.

Me: “I’m pretty sure aisle five has the maple syrup, sir.”

Customer: “Thank you so much.”

And, cue run.

Not kidding. The thing is, that was just an educated guess. Maybe not even educated for that matter, because the truth is, unless I walk up and down all ten aisles while MSC (maple syrup customer) remains in the middle of the store watching me, I’m not going to give this man the right directions.

Thus, I usually hide for a good five minutes and avoid eye contact with anyone until I know the coast is clear and he cannot get mad at me for not knowing anything.

I’m the worst, I know.

And for your information I did recently learn that the maple syrup is in aisle six, right next to the ice cream topping, because apparently that was a good idea.

Getting Lost

On certain special occasions I will get a break from cashiering for a while and will put away stock on the main floor. I don’t usually mind when I get asked to be on the floor as time usually goes fairly quickly when you aren’t stuck watching the seconds tick by.

Now, I’m sure my managers expect a young and quick Whitney to bust out all the stock that needs to go out and stack the tomato sauce two at a time. And sure, I’m young and my knees are in good shape, but I don’t actually know where anything is.

I’ll stand in the middle of the aisles cradling a medium-sized box of Heinz ketchup for a solid 30 seconds before one of the managers hustles by me yelling, “aisle one, bottom shelf.”

“Um duh. I know,” I will yell back, but he’s already gone and he knows I didn’t know anyways. Thus, it is fairly easy to conclude that I am definitely more of a burden than a blessing in the stock department, but everyone still directs me where to go with a smile on their face.

I wonder what they do behind my back.

Co-Workers

Here is a little advice: Be nice to everyone, and in times of difficulty, at least try.

Now, here is the truth: You do not need to be friends with everyone.

I recently had a co-worker of mine tell me he doesn’t see it fit to be friends with any of his co-workers. At first I took this rather offensively. What’s your angle, man? Why don’t you think I’m stellar? But then, I thought about it a little more. He’s right. Because the absolute fact of the matter is, it is impossible, and I mean IMPOSSIBLE to be friends with everyone you work with. This fact actually stinks because it can make work upsetting to go to when you don’t care for the people you are working with on that particular day. I will truthfully admit there are some co-workers I would rather not associate with at all, while there are others who frequently brighten my day within seconds.

I’ve actually met some of my very good friends whilst working where I do, and I’ve met some people I will attempt to avoid until the cows come home. It’s inevitable. There will be arguments, maybe some gossip and drama, but it you are lucky, there will be friendship.

In closing, and to quote the always inspiring Ellen DeGeneres, “be kind to one another.”

You guys must be catching me on a soft day.