Cigarettes

Thanks to years in the field of customer service at a grocery store, I know any and all brands in the wonderful world of cigarettes. To be honest, I know more than one should for someone who has never even held one between two fingers. In this time I have experiences all of the negatives that come alone with selling cigarettes.

I’ve been there with the customers as they count out the change needed for a fresh pack.

I’ve been there as the prices have risen from “a reasonable amount” to one “outrageous beyond belief.”

I’ve been there through the semi-convincing claims of that very carton being their last one.

I’ve been there with the hopeful customer as he/she attempts to purchase their new pack with leftover EBT money.

Thus, with all of these instances I decided to turn my negative experiences with cigarettes into a positive one. Attempt to, at least.

One late night at the till I had a young male purchase a pack. Pretty standard night at this point. However, with no one in line behind him, I made my move.

“Smoking kills,” I wrote on his receipt in big, loopy script.

Kind of gutsy, I know. Now, I wouldn’t say his reaction was particularly horrible, nor was it amused, but let’s just say I’d just kind of learned to deal with the “joys” of cigarette selling from there on out.

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Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Hardly working, always.

That is, when I have the night shift.

It gets completely and utterly slow after 11:00 pm. And by slow I mean by this time I have already read my horoscope in three different magazines (my love life is going to start picking up apparently, I’m so excited.)

My downfall when it hits this time is definitely food. I want it, I need it, I must have it. And by this time my brain and my stomach are not on the same page at all. Therefore, I stuff my face. Usually a chocolate bar and a bag of chips will suffice, because quite honestly, what could be a better combination than that?

On one particularly memorable occasion, I pocketed my already purchased delight of honey barbecue chips into my red smock, which is satisfyingly big enough for the edges of the bag to fold over the edges of my pocket so my chips are safely in the exact spot they should be in. I grabbed a larger handful than necessary of the crunchy goodness and stuffed them all directly into my mouth, just as one of my fellow co-workers was walking by.

Go figure.

“That was a pretty large bite,” he said to me with a look of either disgust or one of envy. 
“Yehmnoch,” I replied with a crunch.

He kept walking.

Now, not only do I stuff my face in public at my workplace, but I also can’t speak English.

Elevator Music

Grocery stores are notorious for playing elevator music on repeat. But, it actually isn’t a major concern to anyone really because the hustle and bustle of customers buying their groceries usually drowns out the “music” anyways.

However, on really slow nights I can almost always make out the instrumental version of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion and I really just have to take a minute for Rose and Jack, you know? They deserve it.

Receipts

One thing I can never keep up on with customers is receipts. Some customers always want them, while others never do. Some run back to the tills after forgetting it, scavenging around in hopes that we haven’t already thrown it away. Some take it and then crumble it up and hand it back to me. My favorite response, however, is when I attempt to hand a customer their receipt and they shake their head, meet my eye and say, “Oh, you can keep it.” Now, I know they don’t expect me to actually hold onto their precious receipt, as if it was a glorious gift from a far away land, but I always take this comment just a little too literally. Quite honestly on purpose.

“Thank you so much,” I say in return, as they saunter off with their groceries. I usually receive a sideways glance back as they turn in the direction of the automatic doors, and I beam sarcastically.

In short, we don’t want your receipts anymore than you do. And also, there’s a garbage right by the door for your receipts and any extra garbage you might also try and cast upon me. (i.e. A man once handed me an eaten chicken leg as he started to unload his groceries, thus, I live in haunted fear).

Customers.

So here's the deal.

I’m sure a lot of you don’t know this, but my best friend Whitney and I have been wanting to write something together for quite sometime. But, the question always arose — what the hell would we write about? Being we both work in customer service (go us) at grocery stores and have had great days and terrible days, we discovered that that was it. We were going to write about our experiences and all that related to working in such a setting that seems boring and uneventful but is actually the complete opposite.

Once upon a time when I actually kept up on updating my blog (yeah, I suck, I know), I wrote a short blog entry about working in customer service and some little blurbs about what it was like, blah blah blah. Well, since I need to stop procrastinating on writing or just in general, I…

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Pure Gold

Sometimes far and few between, other days more often than not, there are some customers that just deserve medals. This is a section purely dedicated to the ones that should be awarded the gold.

On a day not so long ago, my feet were sore and my patience was withering. That was until I had two ladies, clearly best friends, shopping with their kids, unload their heaping and overflowing carts one at a time onto the conveyor belt before me. The first woman to check out her groceries informed me that she was going to pay for her friend’s groceries for her and was going to sneak out. I was instantly giddy. I kept smiling and couldn’t quite keep it together. Nonetheless, the woman bagged up her groceries and I started ringing her friend’s groceries through without her paying attention. Near the end she asked me what the damage was and as I rang the last bunch of bananas through, I told her.

“Your friend actually took care of it for you, though,” I expressed with a beaming smile from ear to ear.

Tears instantly welled up in her eyes as she told me how she was going to punch her friend so hard in the face.

A kind of odd reaction, but okay.

It’s moments like these that get me, people. Moments like these that are so far and few between that I was so happy just to have seen it that one time.

The Attractive Advantage

The Attractive Advantage

I’m not going to outright lie and say that it isn’t nice when an attractive male makes his way over to your line to have you check out his groceries. Because it is. It always is. And thus, there is the “Attractive Advantage.”

For example, which may help you understand a bit more, one night I caught an attractive male and his young daughters struggling to carry all of their groceries, sans shopping cart or basket. They were just steps from the checkout lanes when their rather hefty-sized container of potato salad crashed to the ground, spilling over the cracked edges.The man knelt down next to the mess and glanced up at me with puppy-dog eyes and said, “I don’t know what to do.”

“I’ve got it, don’t worry,” I replied back to him as he hurried into the lane with his daughters.

Here’s the kicker:

1) I hate potato salad.
2) I wasn’t even working that night.

Horrible Moments

There are horrible moments at any job, anyone can agree with me on that, and don’t you dare deny it. Thus, I will share a couple of mine with you, some that I am happy to say I can almost, kind of, maybe on some days, laugh about now.

 

Watermelon

I was having a particular bad day when we suddenly got super busy out of nowhere. Typical day at a grocery store. I had a line full of people as I was trying to hurry as fast as I could to get them through without making any mistakes. One of my usual older customers was next in line and I could see his rather large watermelon out of the corner of my eye. I was contemplating my plan of action as I am a relatively small individual of short stature, and the larger watermelons sometimes get me as I struggle to weigh it upon the scale and move it towards the bagging area without causing a scar upon its rich green shell.

With my luck, of course, I managed to weigh the watermelon successfully and then promptly drop it on the older gentleman’s foot as I struggled to haul it into his cart. He yelped out an exasperated, “Oof” as I apologized profusely and made direct eye contact with the customer next in line: an attractive male around my age who exerted sympathy from his perfectly formed half-smile.

Once my line died down I went to the employee break-room, called my mom, and cried, because it’s okay to do that if you need to, I tell myself.

 

547983789 Items or Fewer 

On a particular day of the week I don’t quite remember I had two gentleman make their way to my coveted “15 Items or Fewer” checkout lane. Except these two gentleman had a cart stock full of groceries. Well, no problem there I would just remind them that my lane had a 15 item limit to it and direct them elsewhere, perhaps to Lane 2, or Lane 3, 4, 5, or even 6, which were all remarkably open. Thus, I did just that.

“Oh, I’m sorry sir, my lane is only 15 items or fewer,” I said as I pointed to the sign to my left.

The man looked to his friend and promptly back at me to which he said, “Oh, well she’s going to make us move so put everything back in the cart because this ***hole won’t help us.”

Yup. Cried after that one, too. But that’s okay, because jobs like these help us get a thicker skin. And also plot the people’s homes you would like to egg.

 

I’ll save the rest for another time, but keep reading!

 

Testing, Testing

Here is just a sneak peek into what my best friend and I have been working on. Attempting to work on, anyways.

A little background:

My best friend Amanda and I have known each other since middle school, but it wasn’t until after we had graduated from high school did we become so close. I then moved four hours north and our friendship became mainly long-distance. We communicate via every social networking site available, as well as Skype, texting, etc. In addition to that we try and visit one another every three months or so, getting together around the most important occasions, like our birthdays and Christmas.

In addition to this, Amanda was the one who mainly helped me adjust to the move my family made shortly after graduating from high school. Not only did we communicate all day every day, and by ways of 45 different means of communication, we were both also cashiers at our local grocery stores. Jobs we both love to hate. But, more importantly, jobs we both love to complain about. Thus, a book idea was born and a movie to follow to make us famous. Until then, we will be sharing with you our stories, our suggestions, and our friendship. You’ve come across my blog here, but be sure to check out Amanda’s as well, here. Comment with what you love, what you hate, and keep reading!

Nontheless, a preview, my friends.

Chapter (unknown): The “Don’t”

The “what-not-to-do’s” are very important when it comes to what you are actually supposed to do when it comes to cashiering. Quite frequently, the “what-not-to-do’s” are generally MORE important than what you should actually be doing. For example, “The ‘QUIT'”.

The year before I transferred to a new college I worked non-stop at the local grocery store. It actually pains me to write this, but I will muddle through. Anyways, the night of my last shift right before I was to leave for school I threw myself a going away party at work. You read that right. I was so overjoyed to be leaving and having thought there was no way I would ever return, I threw myself a stellar, kick-ass going away party. Just me, myself, and I. I took two breaks that night and ate a bag of pizza rolls and an overly frosted cake with a batman candle on top. Ate it with a fork. No plates, just fork.

I made a vow to myself that last night. I would not be returning. I sealed this vow with a forkful of cake and a pizza roll between my teeth. It was the perfect moment.

And then school got out 9 months later, I moved back home for the summer and ended up back where I started. The End.

Technically, not the end though. That cake had a lot of frosting and the majority of those calories are still hanging around.

The point is, don’t fake quit. It’s exactly the same as making a huge scene when you get frustrated at work, any job really, and storming out, vowing to never return. Except in this scenario everyone saw you and even though, even though, they are wishing they had done the same thing, they have a paycheck and healthcare and can make their car payment and well, now, you can’t.

Quit only if you mean it. Quit only if you have a back-up plan, are on good terms with everyone and can use them as a reference, and most importantly, know one hundred percent that you will not be back. Then by all means, give ’em hell soldier, give ’em hell.

Stay tuned for more, we are quite hilarious.

A Bummin’ Summer

The last time I posted I was wrapping up my junior year of college and finishing up an assignment I had been whole-heartedly invested in about blogging. Now, before summer came I promised myself I would keep blogging as I fell in love with it and WOULD BY NO MEANS just stop willy nilly. Oops.

I also vowed I was going to eat healthy and read books for leisure. There are cookies in my my freezer as we speak so what does that tell you?

That I have one pretty kickass mother, that’s what. On a side note, I am now on my fourth “leisurely reading” book, so at least I am sticking to one thing on my list.

Between working, family vacations, and having an impromptu ear surgery, all of the reading, writing, and much-needed exercising has been in short supply. And by golly, I have one month left until I return back to college for senior year.

However, one month is more time than necessary to tick off the last few things on my list, people! Thus, my best friend and I are starting a mini trial-series for a book we have been thinking about writing for some time. You will have to drop by my blog to sneak a peek later. In the meantime, here is what I have been up to on my summer vacation.

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I am so unnecessarily deep in thought, it’s mind-boggling.