Don’t Be “That” Person

I’ve been working in retail since I was sixteen which seems like it’s a lot longer than it actually is. Within two different towns, I’ve worked at many places with a slew of different types of people. I had a manager once tell me that she would force her future children to work in retail and food service so they can learn respect for the people that deal with the worst on a regular basis. I’ve heard many of my coworkers and bosses say the same thing, so you’d think that many of the people around you would have some retail experience as well.


Maybe, somehow, you’ve never had a job before or the other jobs you’ve had don’t involve food or retail. Or, maybe, you’re the customer who every customer service employee dreads. In that case, I’ve compiled a list of some of the things that really push these workers’ buttons in the hopes that people will become more respectful to the people who get paid a low wage to get treated like dirt.


1. “It doesn’t have a barcode? Must be free!”

Stop. Just stop. I really wish that was how the world worked, but it doesn’t. You’re not funny, and any laugh you will hear coming from our mouths as we bag your groceries is fake AF. Please don’t think that your “joke” is original from your own personal joke-inventory, because it’s not: we hear it at least three times per shift.


2. “Can you put my gallon of milk/laundry detergent in a bag? It’s easier to carry that way.”

No! No it’s not! Bruh, your stuff already has a handle on it. Do you know why it has a handle on it? To make it easier to carry. Or how about putting a turkey that’s already in a net bag that has a handle in a bag? This b*tch.


3. “Can you bag my watermelon? And my 25-pound turkey?”

I will tell you right now: it you make me bag some heavy-ass sh*t, I will think you are one of the dumbest people ever until you walk away. First of all, bags are not strong. I will need to triple (or quadruple) bag your item just so it won’t break. Secondly, the heavier your bag is, the more it will dig into the flesh of your hand and hurt you.


4. “This shirt was in the clearance rack, but it’s ringing up as $12.99.”

I know this is going to be a strange concept to understand, but do you think someone could have… put in in the wrong spot because they were too lazy to put it where it actually belonged? Now, I will gladly change the price for you if the clearance sticker clearly says $1 but is ringing up as $3 or if other shirts that look just like it are ringing up as $1, but I’m not going to change the price just because another customer is lazy.


5. “Excuse me, this insanely expensive item is not ringing up low enough to my standards.”

No lie, this happens all the time. Someone picks one of those Polaroid cameras and tries to tell us it was on sale for $5. Hahaha! No. Honey, I spend half of what was left of my paycheck (after rent was taken out, of course). How crazy do you think I am? I know you’re not trying to scam us.


6A. “This isn’t processing my card, and I know there’s money on it.”

You know how after you hit the ‘pay’ button and there are three options to choose from? In order, they are cash, credit/debit, and gift card? Yeah, you need to select ‘credit/debit’ for your card to be processed.


6B. “Well, it should have told me that!”

It, literally, loudly says “insert cash or select payment type.” Or was that just my imagination? No, I know it’s not because I can quote the self-checkouts better than I can quote Finding Nemo.


7. *Insert whistle sound effect here*

Honey, I am not a dog. If you need my attention, you can either say “excuse me” or call for assistance on the self-checkouts.


8A. *Comes across the store to where I’m cashiering* “You need to go over to Customer Service and help out because there’s only one person working.”

This really pushes my buttons. It’s such a wasted effort, especially if you use both our time to interrupt me with my customers to tell me that I need to go work in an area I’m not trained to be in. If you go to a store and see someone doing a job, they are usually only authorized to do that specific job. I can’t even use a box cutter at work without going through hours of computer training firstI wish I was lying.  


8B. “You need to go get someone to go to Customer Service to help because there’s only one person working, and that’s ridiculous.”

Oh, yeah. For sure. Let me just close down my line that has half a dozen customers in it already to inform someone of the situation who’s already well aware. I realize that there are so many people in line to return something, but there is literally nothing I can do about it. If you’re so upset that there’s no one to work the customer service desk, then I have great news for you: we’re accepting applications.


9. “I’ve been standing here for an hour waiting for someone.”

An hour? Really? We both know you haven’t. And if you have… well, you’re stupid for wasting your time. You’re probably going to have to wait even longer then because I don’t work in this part of the store, and I’m not trained to work in this part of the store. I’m just walkin’ through to get to the break room. Sorry!


10. “Can you help me? I’ve never done self-checkout before.”

Sure, this statement may sound like a helpless and innocent old man, but in reality, it’s an old man who wants you to do everything for him. After several tries of making people scan their own things (and failing), I now just stand two feet away and point to what they have to do. Why? Because I have work to do and, even though helping you is technically my job, I also need to help other people. If you want someone else to scan your items and bag them for you, go to a regular register.


11. “I brought some bags.”

It’s so awesome that you want to save the Earth, but reusable bags are the bane of our existence. There’s nothing more infuriating than having to keep a very floppy bag open with one hand while also scanning and bagging with the other during a crazy rush. It takes cashiers almost double the time to do a transaction when you bring reusable bags. So, for the love of God, please go to self-checkouts if you bring bags. Unless you’re that amazing person that will hold it open for me as I scan. Then, in that case, I love you.


12. “Oh, I’m sorry! I forgot to grab my bags!”

Truth be told, I’ve been guilty of this a few times, whether it be because I was having a conversation with the cashier or just zoning out. It happens! If you’re just not paying attention, we will start putting your bags on top of the carousel and then on the floor so we can continue doing our job. However, once you come to, please take the bags that are on the side of the carousel first and then the bags on top so that we can start filling new, empty bags!


13. “Don’t put my chemicals with my food.”

Okay, *claps hands* I know how to do my job. Believe it or not, it took me three days of video training before I was able to go out on the sales floor. I know my sh*t. But, if you just put your items willy-nilly without any consideration of dry, cold, meat, or chemicals, you’re liable for whatever goes in your bags. Cashiers are not sorters. Our job is literally to pick up, scan, and bag—in that order! If you don’t want chemicals bagged with your food, put them together at the very end of your order.


While this list may just sound like a very long complaint (um, because it really is), I just want you to know that I don’t hate working in customer service. I love the feeling of helping someone find what they’ve been looking for forever. I like having conversations with my customers where we’re both having a laugh. And although there are great customers to work with, even a single act of another can ruin our day. So, when you go into a store, don’t be that person.