We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and this means a lot of trips to the grocery store. I’ve seen articles that like to talk about the awful cashiers they’ve had to deal with at the grocery store, but here is some big news: the customers are no walk in the park either. So here’s some advice about how to make our lives a little less miserable and how to be a decent customer at a grocery store during a time when we’re forced to listen to the same store Christmas playlist on repeat for about a month.
1. Don’t tell me your life story
It is in my job ask you how you’re doing, not my choice. You should know, as a fully functioning human with some kind of social skills, that I don’t choose to ask the hundreds of customers how they are doing. That being said, since I have, please just say ‘good.’ Say ‘fine,’ say ‘not bad.’ Here’s what you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t tell me your cancer has returned. I guarantee that I will not know how to respond to this. (Yes, that has actually happened). Don’t tell me how your day was great until you found out the store ran out of item x. I have no control over this, take it to the service desk. Please don’t make a snide comment about the fact that I’m forced to ask how you’re doing. Don’t ask “how many times do you have to say that in a day?” Don’t tell me something like “You don’t really want to know, they just make you say it.” Yes, sir, they do make me say it. So don’t make this an awkward situation by being rude.
2. Please, put the phone away
If you’re on the phone while in line, put it down. If the phone call is that important, you probably shouldn’t be shopping at the moment. This also means please don’t pick up the phone in line. I have to ask you how you’re doing, how you want your groceries bagged, how you want to pay. That is my job. Your job is to be able to answer these questions, listen to what I’m saying, and not hold up the line because you weren’t paying attention. Your fellow customers and I will thank you for this.
3. If I ask if you found everything okay, don’t give me a list of items that need to be re-stocked
When I asked you if you found everything alright, I meant was there anything you wanted that you couldn’t find the location of. I have absolutely nothing to do with items coming into the store, the best I can do for you is direct you towards the service desk.
4. On that note, don’t expect the grocery store to do your shopping
Just so we have a full understanding of what “Did you find everything alright?” means, here’s the definition. It means if you looked for something and could not find where it was located, please let us know and we will grab it for you. However, if you know exactly where it is, don’t be that customer that makes the manager go grab the jar of sauce that you forgot. Sure, they’ll do it with a smile, but honestly they have more important things to do than your grocery shopping.
5. Don’t get in line if you aren’t done shopping
For the love of God, don’t be the person that parks their cart in front of my line and says “I’ve just got to run and grab something quick!” About three minutes later, I’ve either got a line started behind your full cart and I have no choice but to start unloading your cart. I don’t care if you’re grateful I’ve starting doing this, or how apologetic you are. Chances are, you do this all the time. So don’t. It isn’t my job to unload your groceries and the line of customers standing behind your cart will thank you for actually having some courtesy next time.
6. Don’t treat me like I don’t know what I’m doing
Yes, I am a cashier. Most cashiers are working part-time while getting their college degree, but really that doesn’t even matter. What matters is that most of us have been doing this for a while. If you’re wondering, look at the ‘5 years’ label on my name-tag. Therefore, I know not to crush the eggs, to be careful with the bread, and to separate the apples and the bleach. That being said, if you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t know this, all you need to do is kindly remind them. A kind reminder doesn’t mean yelling at the stressed out trainee or hovering with your face over the bag of groceries.
7. Most importantly, please just be pleasant
I’m aware that the holidays are a stressful time of year. Let’s be honest, retail and grocery stores know this more than anyone. But let’s keep in mind that while you are taking one trip to the grocery store, we are dealing with more than a hundred customers in a typical work shift. You may think it’s okay to be rude to that one cashier you interact with, because what’s the big deal? But consider that about one hundred people are having that same thought. If we are out of the item you’re looking for, if you’ve had a bad shopping experience, or if you’re having a bad day in general, don’t take it out on us. We do our best to smile through all of the above points, so more than you can possibly imagine, we’ll always appreciate a pleasant customer that doesn’t make us jump through hoops.