Just Be Nice….

6 09 2012

I work at a grocery store.  It is both one  of the highlights of my life, and can be one of the most negative experiences of my day.  I love what I do the majority of the time, because the majority of my customers are really friendly and really nice.  They are super courteous, and they always say “Please” and “Thank You,” which is what I consider the pinnacles of society.  Some of them, because we serve a predominantly (it seems like!) elderly population, some of these people are slow to get their money out, or their member card out, but otherwise, they’re friendly about it.  I don’t mind waiting on people to get their money out and I do my best to be courteous and super friendly, because you never know who is coming through my line and you never know who they know.

Then, there are some customers.  These customers are rude for no reason.  When I ask how they’re doing, they don’t even answer.  If I ask them a question, they may grumble some incoherent response.  Or, if I talk to them too much, they get huffy.  I do not understand why they do this.  Or, there are customers who are in a hurry.  Yeah, I get it, sometimes, you’re just in a hurry.  But many times, I cannot make the customers in front of you go faster, all I can do is wait.  Furthermore, if you’re always in a hurry when you must go to the grocery store, wait until you’re not in a hurry, that would solve a lot of our problems.

I am not paid to be friendly, I am just naturally friendly.  I don’t even have to say anything except in asking for the member card.  Other than that, I am not contractually bound to be friendly.  My friendliness is taken for granted.

And when someone is rude, it is hard not to take it personal, because the customer response is one way that we are consistently evaluated upon.  And if someone is rude just because they’re rude, that reflects poorly upon us as a cashier.  It can sometimes ruin a cashier’s whole day just because someone is really rude to them.  For example, my friend the other day, got a complaint called in on them, because they didn’t pack the groceries the way that the customer told them.  We are told to put bread on top, to avoid squishing it…and so he put it on top of the fish that the customer requested to be on top.  She called in and said she’d never come back because he couldn’t do a simple task right.  My friend, who is usually one of the friendliest people, simply left work that day without saying goodbye, which is something he never does.

Cashiers are not perfect people, and they are not God.  They don’t know all of the prices in the store, so don’t be mad when they have no clue as to what something’s price is.  The store probably has over a thousand different items, and there’s no need to get huffy when they don’t know the price of canned cabbage.  (Did you know there’s such a thing??)  In addition, prices change constantly.  So don’t get upset with your cashier that you can’t get something at yesterday’s price, because it changed today.  It’s not the cashier’s fault.  It is also not the cashier’s fault when they need a manager or someone from the back to come and help them, such as from the market, and that person is moving as slow as molasses.  We cannot force our people to run at lightning speed, when they have probably already been on their feet constantly since 7 or 8 am this morning.

And, do not get upset with me when  you have given me a $100 dollar bill at 8:30 in the morning and I have to call someone so that I can break it down to give you your correct change.  For the record, what’s up with all the one hundred dollar bills lately?  Geeze!  My drawer is not connected to the bank, and I can’t always make change, but I will be friendly about it, if you’ll wait for me to get some assistance.

The people in service industries that I talk to a lot consistently complain about customers and the people they have to interact with.  While the majority of my customers are great, sometimes customers forget that I am human too.  Which I feel like, if I remind them of my humanity a few times, they understand and realize how I can make mistakes as well, and that I am human just like them.  But I am guilty of that as well, because I sometimes forget that the person who is serving me at the restaurant is a person too, and I need to give them the patience that I want from my customers as well.  So I think we can all benefit from understanding of each other more, and having an attitude of cooperation.  Make the world a better place, and all that jazz.




One response

6 09 2012

Thanks for putting things into perspective!

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