As told by a Sports Authority cashier of two and half years
1. Hand the money. This is one of my absolute biggest pet peeves about being a cashier. Apparently I must have leprosy or some sort of other highly contagious disease that you are bound to contract at the mere idea of placing your money in my hand. It is extremely rude when you simply throw your cash on the counter, especially coins. Seriously, if you’re going to give me ninety-nine cents exact change, don’t count it all out and push it towards me and then watch as I slide each individual coin into my hand. I’ll do it nice and slow, taking my time, just for you. And don’t be surprised when I throw your change on the counter back at you.
2. Unfold your bills. For crying out loud, do not give me a folded or crumpled up wad of bills. Props to you for obeying number one and handing it to me, but you’re still going to have to watch as I unfold, smooth out, and face each bill. It also drives me crazy when your bills are upside down and all facing different directions, but that’s just my obsessive compulsiveness coming out, I can let it slide if and only if you place, in my hand, straightened out money.
3. Don’t force payment until I give you your total. On the contrary, please don’t place your credit card or one hundred dollar bill in front of me as I’m still unhanging, de-sensoring, and scanning your items. Usually the proper time to give payment is when payment is asked for. Also, what is up with you trying to slide your card before I’m done? I’ll just stand there folding your clothes as you repeatedly slide your card over and over waiting for a miracle to happen. My favorite thing to do is to let you put your card back in your wallet and then, after pressing total, kindly inform you that you slid your card too early. That’s what you get for trying to escape the checkout as if, once again, I am a diseased cage animal that you can’t bear to near for one second longer.
4. Do not ask for a discount. No we don’t offer military, senior, student, single-dad, broke mother, or handsome stranger discounts. (UPDATE: We do now offer a military discount, but the others are still a no-go.) No you cannot use my employee discount. And no I don’t keep a stack of coupons in my back pocket special for customers who lean over my counter and look under the register while asking if I have any coupons hidden back there. If you would like a coupon, try checking the Sunday paper, our website, or the hundreds of smart phone apps, all of which are means that we provide coupons from. Maybe put a little effort into the hunt and the reward will be a little sweeter. We’re not going to randomly give you a deal on our merchandise because you asked nicely. Even if the cashier thought you were the kindest person on the planet or wanted to try to score your number and a date that night, most of them do not even have the capacity to change the prices without getting a manager involved anyway.
5. Don’t be so cheap and selfish. Opposite to number four, don’t prance up to my register with a handful of coupons and demand to do separate transactions while there is a line of people behind you. For one, the coupons clearly state “one per customer” and for two, if you were behind someone doing the same thing, you’d be pissed yourself. I get it, times are tough, and if you have two ‘$10 off of $50’ coupons then you will save $20 and that could put dinner on the table tonight, but I really don’t want to be screamed at by the rest of the line for accommodating to your selfish needs. I will be more than happy to accept your second coupon and assist you in saving money if you are willing to ring up your first transaction and then get back into line for the second. Sorry, but you can’t save time and money.
6. Sign up for free cards. I cannot express this enough. SIGN UP FOR REWARDS PROGRAMS. It is free. It is worth it. You will save money. We reward you for being a loyal shopper and return 5% of what you spent back to you. How nice of us? Remember those coupons that you expected me to pull out of my magician hat? Well they would be conveniently sent to your email or home address. You know how you told me your whole life story and how you’re tight on money? Well this card would be returning some of that money back to you. Magic! It’s all the things you want but you are still so reluctant to take ten seconds to register. Seriously, I ask you four questions, type it all right into the computer, and boom, you’re done. I’ve heard your excuses a million times and I don’t like being lied to. You’re in a rush, you don’t shop here that often, you don’t want to get emails, you don’t want to carry a card, and here it is again, you don’t want to communicate with this low-life, 20-something, part-time cashier, because you’re clearly better than me in your suit and tie. Well sir, I apologize the next time I see you in here and you spend another $300 and you could have had free money to use on that purchase. Yes, we give you five bucks for signing up. That’s free money. If I handed you a five dollar bill you wouldn’t think twice about taking it, so what’s the problem? In addition, we are monitored on how many of these cards we sign customers up for per shift. We have to meet a certain percentage or else we get yelled at and written up. So we tirelessly waste our breath, reciting the same phrase to customer after customer, only to get turned down time and time again. Not only does this hurt our self-esteem and make us feel like a failure, but then those feelings are reinforced the next day when the report comes out and your store manager is scolding you because their district manage is scolding them. It’s bad enough that we’re at the bottom of the food chain and have to fear for our employment life, but when the shark comes along and attacks and leaves you with a half-eaten fin, then things really get rough. Now we’re injured prey and you as customers are the mean little kid tapping on the fish tank and poking your stupid little net at our wounds. Too much with the metaphor? I don’t care, this is how we feel.
7. Read the fine print. There are restrictions and exclusions on coupons and we cannot make an exception for you. Shocking, I know. Be aware of this before you come up to the counter and throw a giant fit of rage when I inform you that your coupon is not valid on this purchase and you demand to speak to my manager as if I’m some cruel, heartless witch out to make your shopping experience miserable. There is also some pretty clear, concise, and helpful fine print on the back of your receipts. There is a limit to how long you can keep your balled up shirt in the trunk of your car before you decide to return it. Don’t get angry when I can’t accept a receipt from last Christmas when it’s the middle of summer. Also, do you really expect me to take back those yoga pants that were clearly worn and washed and then believe you when you insist that the tag fell off when you tried them on? And how do you suggest I resell these Nike shoes that look like they were worn on a hike through the Amazon Rain Forrest and then tied to and dragged from the back of your car and then believe you when you insist that you only wore them to the store one time? Again, I really do not like being lied to, and I’m not stupid. I’ll call over my manager if that makes you happy, but she’ll tell you the exact same thing I just said. Go ahead, call corporate and throw a temper tantrum acting like a five year old because you didn’t get your way. Rules are rules, friend. We have policies for a reason. If you want me to return your worn shoes then don’t come asking for a discount next time when the new shoes you want to buy have dust on the soles.
8. Learn some manners. It all comes down to this; be respectful and kind. I know that your mother taught you how to be polite and she would be disappointed to see how you just treated your cashier. When I say, “Hi, how’re you today?” it’s usually socially acceptable to respond, not just stare at me like I have three heads, eight eyes, and purple hair. When you approach the cash register, please don’t be on your cell phone talking to your friend about how much of a jerk your boyfriend is or screaming at your assistant for not crossing every last task off their to-do list. If you need to finish this oh-so-very-important conversation, then I’ll be happy to place your items on hold while you step outside. It’s extremely frustrating when I have to ask you questions and you’re not even paying attention.
Bottom line, cashiers have feelings too. We are human beings and we don’t deserve to be treated like garbage because we work part-time, close to minimum wage jobs. Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t there to clean up after you, babysit your children as they play on our equipment, or believe that the customer is always right. Just a thought here, but maybe your shopping experience would be a little better if you acted like a grown freaking adult and learned how to respect other people.
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