Grocery Store Cashier, anyone else?

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catherineconns
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01 May 2010, 11:53 pm

I've been working as a cashier at a grocery store for about a year now, and it still astounds me how at this job, more than any other I've had, people think it's okay to invade your personal space. I can't count the number of times that people have touched me without asking, or grabbed something out of my hand without warning, or tried to do part of my job for me. I know I'm getting paid to deal with these people, but I don't understand how customers think it's okay to do these things. I try not to get mad or upset, but it's difficult, and sometimes it makes me a little passive aggressive and I will purposely handle their groceries poorly.
How do you guys deal with bad or intrusive customers?



auntblabby
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02 May 2010, 12:15 am

decades ago i was a cashier, and back then i believe people had better manners, at least in regards to the concerns you described. people nowadays definitely are worse-behaved, than when i was young. the only thing i could recommend, is "situational awareness" - IOW, always be aware of who is around you and what they are doing. thataway, if somebody tries to touch you, you were already aware of their intention and you can steer around them and avoid them. i don't know what you mean about people doing your job for you, unless it is to be bagging their own groceries- if it were me in that situation, i would thank them for saving me some labor. but that is just me.



monsterland
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02 May 2010, 12:25 am

catherineconns wrote:
I've been working as a cashier at a grocery store for about a year now, and it still astounds me how at this job, more than any other I've had, people think it's okay to invade your personal space. I can't count the number of times that people have touched me without asking, or grabbed something out of my hand without warning, or tried to do part of my job for me. I know I'm getting paid to deal with these people, but I don't understand how customers think it's okay to do these things. I try not to get mad or upset, but it's difficult, and sometimes it makes me a little passive aggressive and I will purposely handle their groceries poorly.
How do you guys deal with bad or intrusive customers?


Some of the things you describe are strange. How can they invade your personal space with a counter between you? All you have to do is keep a distance where they can't easily take things from you.

Someone reaches to touch you? Step back, they're now bent over the counter. Let them look like fools.



catherineconns
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02 May 2010, 1:00 am

The way the store I work in is set up, there is no counter between myself and the customers. Essentially they can reach or step right into my work station. However there is a distinct indication in the way things are arranged for what area is the cashier's space and what space the customers should be in. When people overstep this boundary it really throws me off. Sometimes they feel the need to grab my hand or my arm, which is totally uncalled for. Other times they try to grab things out of my hands that I'm not ready to let go of yet. Not only is that frustrating, but it could also cause me to drop something by accident. I've also had people try to scan things for me.
My point in saying these things is not just to whine or complain. I just find it odd that where I work, customers seem to forget about personal space boundaries, and that fact baffles and frustrates me. And I wonder whether this is a phenomena unique to the job of cashiering or whether other people have experienced something similar at their jobs.



monsterland
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02 May 2010, 1:05 am

You have an abnormal situation. The cashier is supposed to be partially shielded from direct contact with customers.

You need to find a way to physically prevent the customers from being close to you. If I was trapped in such a job I would start using pain compliance on people when they grab me. That would probably get me fired in no time...



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02 May 2010, 2:29 am

I worked as a cashier in a grocery store for years and never had anyone do those things. Actually, once I did -- during a push-and-grab robbery! The kid came up to buy something and as soon as the drawer opened, he shoved me to the floor and cleaned out the register. The cops caught him and his buddies before they even got a mile away.

You should talk to your managers about what to do when physically accosted by a customer. My reaction would be to quickly shut the register drawer if it was open and to say in a loud, firm but polite voice, "Please step back." If they refused, I would call the manager to have them removed from the store.



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02 May 2010, 9:12 am

I was in retail for 4 years and ran a register while working in the dept, plus the random time(s) they needed someone in the "Front Lines." From what I've learned, it all boils down to convenience . . . if something takes more time than it should, it seems to be socially acceptable to drop all forms of civility to get back on YOUR schedule, everyone else be damned. Cant say ive had anyone just take stuff out of my hands, but ive heard the stories. As for invading space, well in a work place (as far as usual business goes) you're on company time so therefore your space doesnt exist since you're expected to aid the customer. The actual contents of the register is the only part that's off limits to the public, all else is fair game, even the employees. As my sister-in-law says, "Oh, it's ok, they dont mind. It's all about them" pretty much sums up the scenario. Convenience is a killer, and it's getting away with murder.

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glenna74
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04 May 2010, 10:17 pm

That's pretty crappy. I've worked in retail and haven't had that experience.

What I find a lot is when I'm buying groceries, the cashiers make comments and that really ticks me off. "Looks like you're baking a cake today." "Wow. That's a lot. It must be on sale." Ugh. Ring me through and keep comments to yourself. Argh.



catherineconns
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05 May 2010, 9:22 am

glenna74 wrote:
That's pretty crappy. I've worked in retail and haven't had that experience.

What I find a lot is when I'm buying groceries, the cashiers make comments and that really ticks me off. "Looks like you're baking a cake today." "Wow. That's a lot. It must be on sale." Ugh. Ring me through and keep comments to yourself. Argh.


It's a shame that you don't shop at the grocery store I work at. I am almost silent when doing people's orders. I only talk when I need to ask them questions. It's terrible because right now we're doing a charity thing and I have to ask each customer if they'd like to donate a dollar to the cause. So that's way more talking than I want to do, plus it means I'm essentially getting rejected many many times throughout the day.



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11 May 2010, 9:43 pm

glenna74 wrote:
That's pretty crappy. I've worked in retail and haven't had that experience.

What I find a lot is when I'm buying groceries, the cashiers make comments and that really ticks me off. "Looks like you're baking a cake today." "Wow. That's a lot. It must be on sale." Ugh. Ring me through and keep comments to yourself. Argh.

LOL :lol:

Actually, we're told to do that. The bosses tell us it's meant to be a 'friendliness' sort of thing, so the customers 'want to come back.' I never totally understood the logic, because sometimes the customers don't feel like talking or they're crabby. :?


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12 May 2010, 7:36 am

Ah....working at the grocery store.

I always got mixed reviews on my evaluations. High marks for doing my job (the mechanics of it), but an often criticism was "being too open with my opinions."

Then, there were the massive faux paus I did that got some customers rather irate.

1. Having to check coupons for validity, I made the matter-of-fact comment that SOME people will try to pass fake coupons, which is why we have to check all of them. Customer assumed I was insinuating she was trying to cheat us. I don't know how she came to that conclusion.

2. Asking a customer when she was due (pregnancy). She wasn't pregnant. :oops:

3. "Complimenting" a co-worker who came through my line with his items when he had a day off. I told him how nice it was to meet his mom (the lady with him). It wasn't his mom. :oops: :oops:



glenna74
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12 May 2010, 7:54 am

That is some funny funny stuff!



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12 May 2010, 7:15 pm

zer0netgain wrote:


Then, there were the massive faux paus I did that got some customers rather irate.

1. Having to check coupons for validity, I made the matter-of-fact comment that SOME people will try to pass fake coupons, which is why we have to check all of them. Customer assumed I was insinuating she was trying to cheat us. I don't know how she came to that conclusion.

2. Asking a customer when she was due (pregnancy). She wasn't pregnant. :oops:

3. "Complimenting" a co-worker who came through my line with his items when he had a day off. I told him how nice it was to meet his mom (the lady with him). It wasn't his mom. :oops: :oops:

The customers where I work seem to understand that we have to check both the coupons and their paper money, often they'll make a joke about it "I just printed that money earlier today.'

Oooh, I don't dare ask anything about 'when are you due,' to customers, because often I can't tell if they are pregnant or not. To me they simply look fat, especially the ones carrying twins.

I also assume that the old woman standing next to the younger man is the guy's mother, so you aren't alone. :wink:


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