When I go shopping I’m usually in a hurry to pay for my crap and get going onto my next errand. All I ask is for a cashier to be competent, friendly and efficient, and thankfully most are. Yet sometimes I’ll find myself standing in a checkout line in which the cashier is lacking in one or all of these qualities. If you ever see that you are dealing with one of these types, do yourself a favor and change lines!
“Cash, check or charge? You have ten seconds to reply!” This cashier has become a cog in the big retail machine, so much so that he functions slowly and methodically like a mindless, mechanized part, with the personality of a fried circuit board. His robotic manner would be tolerable if he was an entertaining and flamboyant robosexual like C3PO or drunkenly outrageous like Futurama’s Bender. Instead, with his blank expression, emotionless interaction and monotone delivery of “hihowareyou?” and “thankyoucomeagain,” he’s more like the Terminator. He must have heard that he’s going to be replaced by a robot in the near future, so to avoid the inevitable he’s already turned himself into a one.
2. Bad Bagger
Watermelon on top of the eggs? Check. Apples and yogurt with the bleach? You bet. Clothing yanked off the hangers, wadded up and crammed into too small of a bag? Definitely. While you’re at it, why not put everything in one bag so I dislocate my shoulder on the way up to my apartment, just before it splits open and sends my $50 worth of groceries cascading down the stairway and into the grease-stained parking lot? Or go the anal opposite and bag each of my 47 items separately, making me look like a homeless person on my way to the bus. By the way, nice job increasing your carbon footprint by wasting all that plastic. You just killed a polar bear.
3. Company Spokesperson
I always get this gung-ho gal when I’m dashing in for a gallon of milk. She’s chugged the company Kool-aid and is onboard with every last ditch sales tactic and marketing ploy they have to offer. So before I get my change I have to listen to her brainwashed blathering about rewards cards, bonus buys, weekly promos, donation drives, online surveys (where I can win a $5000 gift card!), and did you know how much SpendMart gives back to the community? Oh, and can I have your zip code? It’s strictly for our own in-store demographic purposes. We don’t sell your personal info. Honest. At this point, the milk has gone sour and so have I.
4. Psyched Up Psycho
Opposite of the Roboclerks are these super-happy, mega-hyper balls of giddy energy. Apparently they had three Redbulls and a bag of meth for breakfast. All amped like a lonely puppy when his owner gets home. So overly upbeat with an enthusiasm that goes to 11, I don’t know if they’re trying to convince me, or themselves that this crappy, minimum wage dead-end trench work is the Best. Job. Ever. If they were anymore excited about ringing up my groceries they’d be humping the register. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate people enjoying what they do, but I’ve done my time in retail and it ain’t no Disneyland. Heck, being a cashier at Disneyland probably ain’t no Disneyland.
5. Unmotivated Public Sector Drone
In the private sector, businesses strive to stay profitable and avoid losing customers to the competition. Workers are expected to be fast-paced and productive. Not so with places like the DMV or the county courthouse. They have no competition. You can’t say, “Well, this clerk sucks. I’ll just go pay my license fee at the DMV across the street.” That must be why so many of these office drones work at an excruciatingly slow pace that would make a snail cringe. Actually, to call this clerk a drone is an insult to all the diligent worker bees out there. Their pay raises aren’t tied to performance (or worse, their pay has been frozen), so they have no motivation to go above and beyond. Ever been so late on your gas or electric bill that you had to pay it in person? Or had to go downtown to pay a parking ticket? You better ask Siri to block out a big chunk of your daily schedule. But look on the bright side, now you’ve got an excuse to play Candy Crush Saga for 3 or 4 hours while you wait.
6. Cashier Creeper
I’m sure all you ladies out there have run into this dirty old clerk. I’ve seen him in action. When he’s not making some poorly conceived double entendre about your purchase of Sweet and Low, he’s staring down your scoop neck as you unload your cart. He doesn’t even try to be sly about it! Don’t get too distracted by the debit machine or you’ll miss him ogling your teenage daughter as well. There are also young creepers manning the registers. These 20-something dudes think that every female customer is a speed-dating opportunity, trying out pick-up lines as stale and cheesy as the popcorn balls in aisle 32. In either case, now you’re wishing you’d picked up some Dove, because you feel like you need a shower when you get home.
7. The Occasional Cashier
This situation occurs when a parking lot attendant, fitting room associate or some other employee who seldom runs a register is “volun-told” to help with cashiering during a rush (because management cut payroll to the bone and won’t schedule enough full-timers). After a bunch of people move to her lane, sure enough the first transaction goes horribly awry. Instead of a simple single item paid with cash, this one involves rain checks, coupons, some sort of complex rebate voucher and payment in Canadian money orders. She knows just enough about the checkout process to foul the whole thing up, pecking hesitantly at the keys, as if one wrong button press will cause the register to explode. All the while craning her neck frantically left and right like a panicked, lost ostrich, looking for a supervisor to bail her out. It’s not her fault and I feel her pain, but do I want to be stuck in her lane? Not so much.
8. Skeptical Scanner
This cashier missed the memo about employee empowerment and believes that the old adage says, “The Customer is Always Wrong.” He questions every price discrepancy and creates unnecessary delays as he calls to confirm if an item ringing at $29.99 is advertised for $27.99, constantly making a big deal about it, as if his personal paycheck will be garnished to cover the two bucks. He scrutinizes each coupon for several minutes, fearful that he might redeem one for Crest Fresh Mint Gel rather than Fresh Mint Paste and cost the company 25 cents. I get it. You don’t want to give away the store. Sure, lost profits do affect the employees. But unless I’m claiming that a 60” LCD TV is on sale for $13.99, just honor the price difference and move on to the hapless sap in line behind me.