Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We have started charging for bags as are most of the grocery stores around Southern Ontario. At first it was met with a fair amount of grumbling and complaining even though we had been telling the customers for two weeks already. But now it is about 60 - 75% recycled bag use. There are still people that ask for plastic bags and there are still people that don't know we're charging. Some of those people have been in recently enough that I know they are aware of the charge for bags. I think it is almost a "maybe if I act ignorant of the cost they'll let me have them for free" syndrome.

Not gonna happen! ! ! !

Anyway, what boggles the mind sometimes is these "kids" that come in and buy $100 to $150 worth of food, won't take bags but put everything in the buggy and take off with a GROCERY CART as if they are entitled to it. It would have cost them maybe $1.00 at the most for the bags they needed or $4.00 for enough recyclable bags. They never bring the buggy back. We have to send someone out to get the darn things. AND THEY AREN'T CHEAP!!
* * * * *

The other day, I asked one of the head cashiers if she could take the sign off the door. She asked me what sign. I said the one that says every third customer has to be a bitch!!!

I don't know what was going on, but boy we had argumentative, belligerent, RUDE customers that day. Holy mackeral. Didn't matter what you did or what you said they were cruising.

One lady told me she wanted the meat put in the plastic bag. (she had a handful of her own bags). So I started to put the raw chicken in a small bag to put it in the big bag with some other raw meat, namely beef, pork, and fish (which was still to be rung through). She said "I do NOT want a plastic bag."
"I'm sorry" says I. "I didn't want to cross contaminate with the chicken."
"Just put it in the plastic bag."

So now this goes against what I have been taught and practised my whole life as a cashier, but hey if she wants to contaminate stuff, fine. Did I mention that there was fish as well? So now I get to said fish which is reduced and therefore leaking a little. Okay, A LOT! ! ! ! (I had to hose down my belt after she left).

I point blank told her I didn't know what to do now. She said just put it all together. She could have bagged it herself. In fact she was holding the bags and doling them out to me as she saw fit.

I don't work like that. My brain sees the groceries on the belt and starts to figure out what will go where in which bag. I have been bagging groceries for a LONG time. I know my job. I know what should go where, what will fit where and that cereal boxes take up too much room to be put in cloth bags when you could put the cans in there and its easier to carry home.

I don't like people that rebag after me as well. I have watched people move stuff around into what is totally unsafe for their groceries. They have gotten home, I'm sure, to find their bread is squished, their cereal is smelling like fabric dryer sheets and their strawberrries are flat.

Ah well, the customer is always right. (NOT)

* * * * *

I have had this feeling that The Purple Lady had been avoiding me lately. I knew she had been to see her doctor, about 6 weeks previous and that she almost told me something then. But she decided not to.

Well, Saturday, she stopped to talk to me, and though she hasn't told me, I am pretty sure her cancer is back. I had tried a few times to ask her about her health but she was secretive about it. So when she stopped and handed me a bottle of orange juice on Saturday I could tell something was going on.

She is really torn about telling me what it is. I don't really know why. I don't know if she doesn't want to say the words out loud. Or if she doesn't want to break my heart. Or if she doesn't want to lose another friend. She is going to move up to live with her daughter. I think she'll like that, but I know she is going to miss her life around this part of town. She walks all the time. She must have so many people that she stops and talks to. It will be hard for her to move. I don't know what to do to make it better for her.

I don't think I can do this friend stuff sometimes. I really should be like the cashier from hell and just piss everybody off and then its not an issue for me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lack of Transportation SUCKS and Customer Service

I inherited my hubby's older car when he needed a new one. I only tootle around town or go to work so age of the vehicle wasn't too much of a factor.

We managed to get 398,787 kms on this car. It was due for the Drive Clean test and passed with flying colours. Regular oil changes do wonders! ! !

Anyway, we were out for breakfast two weeks ago and as I turned a corner it made a different noise. Ears perked up and I started to pay better attention. We pulled into Gage Park where we walk the dog on Saturdays and I lift the hood to track down the noise. I thought power steering, hubby said water pump.

Checked all the fluids and the PS fluid is low. So we buy some on the way home, he test drives it and the noise is gone! Anyway, too-long story shorter, it will START at $2500.00 to fix the power steering etc.

Now, I had just, and I do mean just, paid for the license sticker for my car when this started. SO now I have to turn in the plates (I think, not sure, as I've had them forever) and try to get a refund on my license fees.


This has lead to yours truly having to take the bus. One word for that experience:


I want wheels again! I know its better for the environment etc, but I can't take standing around waiting for a bus. And with the summer not even started!!!?!???? I HATE HEAT!!!

I missed the bus on Monday coming home, which made me miss my transfer which meant I stood, (because heaven forbid there be a bench at the bus stop) in the hot sun, (no shade either) for twenty five minutes. I left work at 2:02, so missed the 2:04 bus, ran into a customer that wanted to chat (I wished I had been rude) so missed the next bus, caught the following bus which missed my connection and got home at 3:20 or so. That's too long to go 6.5 kms.

* * * * * *

Work is interesting. I got all day shifts this week which I am very happy with. Its nice to be home in the evening and still have some evening left and a normal supper time.

Breaks are normally pretty close to half way through your shift. For some reason 'they' have decided that it will now be at about 15 minutes later than that.

? ? ? ?

In one sense I don't mind because the further through the shift y
ou are when break comes, the faster the second 'half' goes. But there are plenty of times when I can barely make it through to the half way mark. I think its the principal of the thing that bothers me the most. It almost seems like they are trying to piss off the employees any way they can.

They probably aren't, but the impression is there. There is a tension in the work place again, which is not good for the employees, the employer or the customer. Especially the customer. Its very hard on us to be working with lots of customers and not enough staff, but to have those same customers standing in line for longer and longer times, is just not right.

We, as cashiers, hear the complaints and have to field the anger. Customers tend to not speak with their mouths so much as with their money and if this kind of service keeps up they will go elsewhere.

After all, SERVICE is what the customer needs and wants. They are paying out hard earned money and they sure don't want t be inconvenienced or made to feel like their time is worthless. They come to our store because it is local, its nice and clean, AND the people are, for the most part, nice. There is a certain 'small-town' feel to our store and we need to maintain that.

There are a lot of elderly customers that have said to me that they like the store because the staff is so nice to them and the selection is good. To me they've said they like to see a smiling face and someone so cheerful. It makes them feel good to be greeted by someone happy to see them.

THAT'S why they love our store. So lets remember CUSTOMER SERVICE is the important part of this whole thing.

People HAVE to eat, but they DON'T have to come to us.

One example: As I was getting on the bus to go home, a couple (probably early 60's) asked me if this bus would take them to downtown. I said yes it would and they got on. They were carrying a large box with a chicken dinner from our store, two FULL plastic bags of groceries and one of our recycle bags FULL of groceries on the bus with them.

Now, they took the bus PAST the competition over the bridge to get to us. They didn't have to.

We want to keep those kinds of customers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pardon the profanity but: WTF ! ! ! ! !

What in the hell are they thinking at head office? I know you want to make the bottom line better. I know you have to compete with the "Loblaws" group, but for God's sake is it going to be at the expense of the employees?

What in the bloody hell possessed you people to think that cutting the hours and increasing the frustration of the cashiers AND customers is going to turn into a good thing?

Tonight from about 4:30 pm on until I left at 7:30 was absolute hell. I had customers lined up fifteen deep. The other TWO, yeah, two, registers were lined up almost as bad. And they had the large orders. I was on express and most orders were over 8 items. What am I supposed to tell customers?? WHAT do I tell the person with 20 items who is looking at a huge line up over on a regular cash line. And then what do I tell the customers being held up with one or two items by the 20 item people??

I had SO MANY pissed off people in my line. I did have one gentleman that asked if anyone else could come out to get the lines down. I had to tell him that this was it. But I also noticed a lot of our regular customers in line that were being patient because they know me. Yes, me. They were willing to put up with the lines because they know I'll bust my ass to get them through as quickly as possible. But this man asking was someone I've never seen before and therefore someone we want to impress. One of my regular customers engaged him in conversation and the next thing the stranger knew it was his turn. My customer did that out of respect for me.

I truly appreciated it. I also told all the people in line that I was going as fast as I can and that if they are not happy about the line ups they need to let management know. It was their decision. I really hope that our manager, who watches us on the video gets to see and hear what i said. I further hopes he calls me on it.

I CAN NOT stand seeing customers be put through this. And I definately don't intend to have myself put through it.

The bottom line is that when you start to squeeze too much it gets tight enough that it blows up in your face. What is going to happen is that customers will go to another store over the highway.

I think you'll find that people will be willing to pay a little extra rather than spend time standing in a freakin' line for ten minutes. Frustration is contagious as is anger. Its only going to take a couple of customers to get a lot of them stirred up one night. Also when we are that busy and that frazzled we become easy pickings for the con and we become flustered easily. It also is hard on the new cashiers which may explain why we have such a huge turnover.

Our store is well liked because its local, its gorgeous inside, carries quality products, and has a friendly, for the most part, bunch of cashiers. Do you really want to be losing that friendliness and home town feeling? I have had an awful lot of customers say that they love coming to our store because most of the employees are so nice. They always feel better after going through certain registers or are happy to see certain people at the store because it makes them feel glad to come to OUR store.

Anyway, I hope the anger and frustration I feel came through in this post. I have always tried to keep the language clean in this blog. But tonight I want all and sundry to know that The Unknown Cashier is PISSED OFF and not going to be able to take it much longer. I LOVE this job but it is getting ridiculous what they are expecting of their people.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sensory Overload OR Why Can't I do This EVERYDAY???

Well, I worked five hours at the store yesterday. THEN . . . . went home, rested for an hour and went to help at THE tent sale.

As stated before its actually in a church hall and was to start at 7 pm. So I get there for 5 pm as requested and most of the boxes are set up. Everything packed on tables etc. What a site to behold. If you are a knitter this is a picture of what heaven's back room must look like. Heaven's front room looks like The Needle Emporium which, again, if you are a knitter you absolutely HAVE to visit at least once.

Julie explains how she wants it to work and we spend time putting red stickers on $1.00 balls and tidying up different items. Except that it was done so well, we were ready at 6. BUT, as in true sale style we ARE NOT letting anyone in until 7.

At 6:30 the line up started. By the time it was seven and they poured through the doors there must have been a hundred people or more!! You could not see across the room for people. I only saw one woman with her elbows out, though. She literally made a beeline for this one section and actually did elbow her way through. I guess she knew what she wanted and NO ONE was stopping her.

Again, I had just finished 5 hours on my feet at the store so I was hurting pretty bad in my knees. Well, my job at the sale was basically to answer questions and keep an eye on things. I started to notice people with their bags full but other items clenched in their hands, so I thought that I'd start handing out extra bags. WELL, I'd say 95% of them took them and were able to fill a second bag. I can't wait to hear what the sales total was for yesterday.

I did this last year but was not fortunate enough to work the first evening. I was blown away by the number of people that came to this. I wished I had thought to ask who came the furthest.

I HAD A BLAST! ! ! !

By 10:00 Julie had already asked me to sit down three times because I looked so tired and at 10:30 I was sent home. I was so freakin sore I can't describe it.


I would do this again and again and again. Absolutely wonderful experience. Seeing so many people getting yarns that they loved and then seeing others in little corners going through what they grabbed the first time through so they could get complimentary yarns or colours on the second trip through. One back room had about five ladies in their own little spots going through yarn and then trading with each other. And they hadn't even PAID yet!!!

Thank you Julie for a wonderful evening.

And I get to go back again today???!!!!!

Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Full Moon in only THREE days ? ? ? ! ! !

What the heck was with people yesterday??

First off, some guy has to get into an argument with the cashier next to me about the bags. Sorry, we have to charge for them now, the money goes to a good cause and, yes, we inform you of the cost so its not a surprise at the end. We aren't just allowed to charge you for something and not tell you. That's robbery.

Then TCFH (The Cashier From Hell) is working (?) yesterday and has two people in her line. She sends someone to me, on EXPRESS, without the courtesy of letting me know he's coming and he has a ton of items. I asked him if he realized this was express and he said the lady up there sent me here. So I said, oh, okay, but do you mind if I take the lady behind you, she only has one item? Well he starts to mumble and grab his groceries off the belt. I said its okay sir, she only has one item, you can leave your stuff there. He still keeps taking it off and I tried to again stop him. But he was obviously pissed and went back up to TCFH's register. God only knows what she told him. I saw him leaving and he was still pretty pissed. I debated whether to apologize again and then thought better of it. The customers that I had at the counter at the time seemed to agree with me and didn't understand why he insisted on leaving my line up.

The point is, that if TCFH had just given me a heads up this would have been avoided.

Speaking of TCFH, she can be a very nice person. She's smart, great sense of humour, little acerbic at times, but for the most part I like her. EXCEPT, when she deals with customers, and co-workers. THEN, she just doesn't seem to get it.

* * * * * *

We are now charging for bags. My problems with this are:
1) We were supposed to be getting a larger, stronger bag that we were going to charge a nickel for. But instead we have the same terrible bags we had before and are selling them instead. That's not right. I told a lot of people that we were getting the stronger bags and that at least the bag was bigger than what we had. Looks kind of bad to be selling these flimsy things.
2) I don't understand why we are not going to paper. I don't just mean our store but all grocery stores. Paper bags have so many uses. If they cost more than the plastic ones then charge for them. At least they are a lot easier to recycle. You can even put them in your green bin!!

By the way, did you know that the paper bags that sugar and Quaker oats come in can be used for holding compost materials and then put right in the green bin? Also that you can add shredded newspaper? They don't HAVE to be shredded but they will pick up a lot more of the moisture from your bin if you tear them up first.

* * * * * *

This week has been a little easier for my part of the job as I have actually been working with my peers instead of the slower-than-molasses-in-January girls. It means that, other than when TCFH is here, the work load has been spread out.

* * * * * *
One last little tidbit: The Belmont Stakes is run this Saturday and I made myself UNAVAILABLE for work. I have not missed any one of the Triple Crown races for over thirty years; until this years Preakness. I forgot to book it off or make myself unavailable, so I had to watch it on tape. At least I was able to avoid hearing how the race went. It was still pretty thrilling to watch, though. you don't often get a filly beat a colt. Alas she's not running in the Belmont.

* * * * * *
Signing off for now. I have to work this morning and then this afternoon I am helping my friend with her annual tent sale of last yarns from her store.

DROOL . . . . .

Same thing tomorrow, so if you are a knitter, please go to http://www.needleemporium.com/ and check out the sale. Here's a little bit from Julie's web page:

2009 Tent Sale

Thursday June 4 - 7pm-11pm
Friday June 5 - noon-7pm
Saturday June 6 - 10am-1pm

The sale will be at the Parish Hall (the small white building) behind St. John's Church (corner of Wilson and Halson St.)

50gram balls $3
100gram balls $6