Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm nobody's property

In the past few days, I've noticed a disturbing habit amongst customers. When I am closing down to leave the register, I'm always very cheery and polite about it. If you were in line before I turned my light off and put up my 'Lane Closed' sign, I am required to wait on you. I always make sure people at the back of the line know that they don't have to leave because I am closing. However, many seem to feel that being my last customer of the day/before lunch means that they own me and can therefore take their sweet time with the transaction.

Today my last customer lost points as soon as I started her order. I gave my obligatory "Hi! How are you today?" greeting and was met by complete ignorance. She was on the phone and her useless kid just stared blankly at me from the other side of the cart like I was some sort of otherworldly life form. It was a pretty huge order, too, over 100 items. Not that I mind, those kinds of orders keep me busy and make the time go by. I was scheduled to leave at 3 o' clock today. 2:50 rolls around and I shut of the light and put up my sign, and I'm done ringing the order within three or four minutes. Customer runs a food stamp card and the PIN she entered is wrong. So after a grueling 30 seconds away from her cell phone, she whips it out again to call the guy who OWNS THE CARD. No answer. Then she proceeds to spend the next ten minutes shuffling pointlessly around in her purse, looking for Eru knows what. My sanity was probably rattling around in there somewhere, no doubt. It tends to vacate me at times like this. During this, her friend rolls up with another enormous order, reads the 'Lane Closed' sign, and leans up against it anyways, getting in line. I tell her I'm closed and get the cat-butt face from her. I frankly don't give a crap if your friend is in front of you and I waited on her. Closed means closed. Go away and bother one of my coworkers. My friend Denise went through the checkout line at 11AM this morning and then walked outside for lunch. Did I go glossy-eyed, start drooling, and immediately run off to join her just because we're friends and I should get to do whatever she does? No, I did not. I have more than two brain cells to rub together, you see. Eventually, a CSM came to take over the register for me because *gasp* the lines were getting backed up! She eventually just suspended the transaction so I could sign off the register and go home. How long the poor woman stood there waiting for Einstein to figure out the EBT PIN, I don't know. But I do feel badly for her. I wonder if the customer got upset because we swapped out in the middle of a transaction? I'd try to figure it out, but my give-a-damn's busted :D

The point is, I don't think people realize that cashiers close down for a reason. We are not being lazy. We are not shirking responsibility or trying to slack off on the job. If we don't go to lunch when we're scheduled, the CSMs will get in trouble. Heck, we might get in trouble too. If we don't leave on time, it could put us into overtime or get us called into the manager's office and questioned about it. Some people are really polite about the whole thing and tend to try to rush through an order if they know I'm leaving. Completely unnecessary, but I appreciate the fact that they're trying to be considerate. So, to summarize . . .

  • You do NOT own me or my time if my register is closed
  • No, I cannot take 'just one more'. The person in front of you, in fact, is usually the 'just one more' I was nice enough to go ahead and take. Usually because they looked tired and hassled and I felt bad for them. If I keep doing this, I'll never get to go.
  • You, sir . . . yes you, who saw me last night, putting the lane closed sign at the end of the belt, and proceeded to LEAN AGAINST IT with your enormous body so that no other customers could see it . . . you are a Grade A Asshole. The guy who got in line behind you and your damn posse felt really bad when you moved your bulk and saw the sign, but I took him anyways because it wasn't his fault. Turns out he was buying a battery because his vehicle crapped out on the side of the highway. He was really nice though. May Karma come your way, and soon, Leaner.
I don't mind working when I'm scheduled, I really don't. Even if there are times I'd rather be conversing with the cute guy in the Produce department. Yeah, the one on probation for the next 8 years. He was building a display of peanuts today and asked me if I wanted any.

"No thanks", I said. "I'm already nuts enough."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The battle for Remodel is over. The battle for my sanity is about to begin . . .

Alrighty then, now that me and all my lovely little remodel friends are all settle into our new positions and I'm not worried about them anymore, the novelty and glee of last week is starting to wear off a bit, and I remember why I told them in my insensitivity that I was going to 'Hell' when I found out I was being transferred to the front end. It's called the beginning of the month, particularly the 3rd of each month and the days that follow thereafter. The third is generally when food stamp cards are reloaded with funds. Now, first allow me to make myself clear on one thing -

I do not have anything against people who honestly need food stamps and I bear no ill will towards those less fortunate than me. However, not all people on government aid are necessarily like this. some of them, in fact, are inconsiderate, bumbling morons.

Let's say that Rhonda Redneck's monthly aid comes to around $150 each month. Been this way for years. And yet every month, Rhonda will fire up that old Dodge minivan with all the different colored body panels, load all four screeching, barefoot, snotty nosed kids into it, and maybe another friend or relative for good measure, and chug down to the local Wal-Mart. Rhonda and Co. will then rush into the doors, screaming at each other at extreme volumes, oblivious to the stares of their fellow customers, and proceed to fill up a shopping cart with $200+ worth of 'groceries'. I use quotation marks because frankly, I don't consider twelve boxes of Little Debbie cakes, ten two-litres of soda, and enough frozen dinners to give an entire nursing home cardiac arrest to be worthy of being called groceries. And then . . . uh oh! Rhonda will troll up to my checkout line and shamelessly tell me to "Stop when we reach one fifty". This is when I know it's going to be fun. I'm going to get to do what I call acting practice, because you have to be a damn fine actor to work in customer service. Viggo Mortensen started out as a waiter, did you know that?

Of course the $150 is nowhere near enough to cover the cost of all this delicious heart attack fodder in Rhonda's cart. And when push comes to shove and she has to choose what goes home with her that day and what stays behind to be reshelved in it's temporary home at Wallyworld, does she put back the snack cakes and the cheap orange soda? Of course not. Rhonda will proceed to hand me back every single steak, deli package, and $10 bag of frozen shrimp that she chucked into that cart on her monthly adventure into my store. I will then be forced to punch in the good ol' 248+Action Code on my register, which sends the message of 'Training Question, Gracie Lou Freebush - Register 666' to all the CSM's (Customer Serivce Manager) palm pilots. One of them will no doubt trudge to my terminal, knowing it can't be good, since I'm a seasoned pro and don't really have a legitimate 'training question'. They know I either need a spider key or . . . I have cold returns. They will then resignedly hold out their arms while I pile on the results of Rhonda's case of being a green-eyed monster, and take the poor frozen stuff back to it's department (provided it's still cold enough) until another customer decides to take it home with them. All while Rhonda is still shamelessly bellowing at her brood to get her a 20oz soda from the cooler and "Quit hittin' YER BROTHER!", and the customers in line behind her are standing there with a look somewhere between horror, disbelief, and admiration at the patience of myself and my CSM. I had such a situation many, many times this weekend, and not all of them are Rhonda Rednecks. Some of them are just plain inconsiderate. To the lady who didn't bother to check the amount on her card, put a hundred dollars of stuff back and caused frozen food to go to waste, and yet STILL couldn't decide if she should buy that game controller for her friend, I am talking about YOU. You held up the line for about 15 minutes with this nonsense and didn't apologize to me or the people waiting in line behind you who would have been justified in slamming your heels with their buggy. There is an 800 number on the back of your card. Learn it, use it, love it. My Dad's paycheck is automatically deposited into my parents' joint account every Friday morning, yet neither he nor my mother would dare go shopping without checking the balance first, because guess what? Sometimes it doesn't go in for whatever reason. It's better to be prepared than to assume the money is there and get embarrassed in the store. My Phlebotomy instructor pushed the envelope a lot. She'd often do or say things that the college would have deemed 'inappropriate' for the classroom, but none of us ever said anything about it because it was just so darn honest. Mrs. Brady taught me a saying about 'assume'. Look at the letters. Assuming will make an ass out of u-m-e. Get it? Got it? Good.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcome to my humble madhouse

Here we go, a place for me to chronicle life, the universe, and everything. Expect mostly stuff that happens to myself and my crazy coworkers on a daily basis. There will be tales of exhaustion, loony-ness, customer suck, general store shenanigans, and much, much more!