Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why you don't use the 'B' word.

I'm not superstitious. I'll walk under a ladder, let a black cat cross in front of me, just sweep up spilled salt, etc.

BUT ! ! ! !

I will insist that no one use the 'b' word in the store.

We can be going along at a pretty steady pace and then suddenly have a pause in the line-ups. And some one will say, "boy, its not b**y+ in here today." Usually a customer but sometimes it will be one of our own employees.

Our eyes fly open, we gasp and we say "don't use that word!!!!"

When they ask why, I have to explain:

Someone is sitting at their table reading the paper, watching tv, eating supper, whatever, and they hear the b-word. Their head jerks up, the nostrils twitch a little as if they can smell the fear. And they suddenly remember that they haven't bought groceries in twenty years, so they better go stock up now! Not tomorrow during the day when we aren't as busy. No it must be N O W. Someone said the b-word!!! And within 1/2 an hour we will be lined up all across the front of the store.

It has not failed yet. I'm sure they come from as far away as twenty MILES because of that one little mistake. They may have already been shopping yesterday or on the weekend, but they hear, the 'word', and they:


And then this happens:
  • They usually forget their bags and complain because they have to pay for some more.
  • Or they left the bags in the car or they have them with them but they are underneath all the groceries that they have just piled three feet deep on your belt.
  • Or they have a credit or debit card that you have to swipe a few hundred times.
  • Or they realize they forgot their money/purse/wallet at home. (I'll be RIGHT back [they live in Buffalo, NY])
  • Or they just realize that they brought the remote, not the wallet. (actually happened)
  • Or they say that an item was a certain price and you find out it was in last weeks flyer. Then they don't want it or they will argue with you that it should be that price anyway.
  • Or something scans at the wrong price or isn't in the system. So you page and no one answers. And of course they REALLY, REALLY NEED that bucket of aardvark heart soup for TONIGHT'S meal. So you wait till you can get someone to answer or you go and try to find it yourself.
  • Or they want cigarettes, but don't ask until you are done the order
  • Or they ask if you take this or that card, again after the order.
  • Or they have a card that is declined for what reason I don't know, but they insist on trying it a hundred times then walk away leaving a buggy of groceries behind including frozen and perishable items.
  • Or you ask if they have a reward-type card and they don't answer you or they start to search for something, or they mumble something to you. You will always pick the wrong thing to do here. Either you wait then they look at you, you ask them again and they say no. Or you go ahead and process the order and they then remember that they do indeedy have one. Sometimes they say yes and you wait and they don't have it or you ask, they say no, you process the order and sure enough they did have it with them. (new wallet, or changed purses) "Can you do it now?"
  • Or they don't understand English and just look at you as if you are puke green.
I'm not sure how this went from not using the 'b-word' to a primer on how to be a cashier, but . . . . . its my blog, so it goes where I go.

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Last comment and pet peeve:

I really am getting seriously pi**ed about certain people that will refuse to shell out a nickel for a plastic bag but think it perfectly okay to STEAL a buggy that ranges in price from $125.00 to $150.00.

I have even gone so far as to tell them that they can NOT take the cart off store property and then watched helplessly through the front window as they do it anyway. I would so like to be able to go after them and say "whoa, what did I just tell you?"

It wouldn't be so bad if they'd bring the darn thing back the next time they come this way, but the don't.

You can tell when it will happen too. They are usually young, in uniform and have just said no to bags. You casually ask if they are driving, and receive either a grunted 'no' or a "deer in the headlights" look which tells you they know they have been caught.

BUT, because they don't really care, that's another buggy we are going to lose.

What's really bad is that there is someone in the neighbourhood that collects the buggies in his truck, brings them to the store and we pay him for them.

(+ B**y as a bee)

Busy time of the year

We are now heading into the busy time. First was Thanksgiving, next comes Christmas and New Year's.
And then there is Easter.

Ahhh, Easter. Spring flowers, little birds hatching, bees humming..... and people buying groceries like there is going to be a famine.

I said last year I will never work another Easter. It is absolutely insane!!!!

I like to be busy, but WOW !

We just had Thanksgiving and sure there were crowds, but people weren't so panicked. They come in, get a buggy load of food, pay and go on their way. Christmas its a little more frenetic*.

*(Adjective: Fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way: "a frenetic pace of activity")

New years the same. People are in a pretty good mood, they have company coming and they are excited.

But,....... you get to Easter and there are two 'holidays' going on. There is Easter and Passover. Both are pretty important to their respective peoples. Well, do we get busy???!!!!!

Holy mackeral ! ! ! ! There are customers everywhere. It gets absolutely nuts. You would seriously think that there is about to be a world wide food shortage. Customers come in and buy one of EVERYTHING. Orders are always kissing $200 or $300 totals. Most people are patient, but when you get the ones that don't celebrate anything, or that are just plain ignorant, they try to stir it up.

They are the ones that make it an unpleasant experience. They bitch about the lines, the service, the lack of a certain product, the price of a certain project, why they have no friends, why the cigarettes are so much, etc.

I forget what it was last year that made me say I will never work Easter again, but it must have been the customers and the lack of work ethic with some of the younger cashiers. They just don't know how to do a job fast.

* * * * *
One afternoon last week, I worked with a customer service person that was really great to be with. She is never afraid to step in and help. She makes sure the 'please see another cashier' sign is at the end for you to go on break, she tells the last customer in the line that they ARE the last ones. She is helpful, friendly, and runs a tight ship, but not pushy in an "I'm the boss and you aren't" kind of way. She takes a lot of crap from customers and employees. Not as much as she used to though. There were some cashiers that just did what they wanted, when they wanted.

She would ask them to do something and they'd either ignore her or look at her as though she had suddenly grown another head. Well that soon got resolved. I think it was because she is close to the same age as some of the cashiers and they just thought that seeing as she was their age they could goof with her.

WRONG! She has several things to get done, and that she is responsible for. She can't do them all by herself and she has to keep the front end busy or they will cut our hours more.

And that's another thing. I am really tired of being one of only three cashiers on when we have our afternoon/evening 'rush hour'.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So where have YOU been?

Funny how cutting your shifts can result in so many people missing you.

I have cut back to 3 - 4 shifts a week, as any more is just too hard on my knees.
If I've had one I've had a hundred customers ask where I have been.

"We thought maybe you'd left."
"Haven't seen you in a while. Were you on vacation?"

They like me, they really like me ! ! ! !

* * * * *

So, what's been happening.

Well....... as it is the start of a new school year we suddenly have students using our parking lot to leave their car in while they bus to the university. Not nice ! ! ! ! It takes away from the space we use for customers. I think if I was going to park somewhere illegally, I'd at least make sure to put my car where it wouldn't be in the way and therefore not liable to be noticed.

Also, there is a certain faction of our young customers that are too cheap to pay 5 cents for a plastic but think nothing of walking off with one of our buggies. I have even told them that they can't take them off the lot and they pretend like they listen, and they think they have me fooled. But I can see them out the window. By the way, they are also, for the most part, very rude. They have no clue as to what please and thank you mean. I guess they're used to having everything handed to them on a silver platter.

It really irks me that we don't take more steps to keep our buggies around. We know have about 5 different styles, so when the guys go and get buggies and try to put them away in the corral, it doesn't work very well. Buggies are supposed to nest together. They can't because of the different types and styles of buggies.

* * * * *

Now most of you are used to me and they way I look at things. I think the customer, though not 'always right', deserves the courtesy of being treated like we appreciate them coming in. I DON'T think the cashier should be standing there and ignoring the customer. They should be making eye contact and talking to the person not over them.

I like to talk to fellow employees as well, but as soon as I have a customer, I immediately switch over to being the one that listens to the customer and give them all of my attention.

Anyway. . . . . A couple of weeks ago, there were two girls on cash and one girl on her break. It was over the dinner rush hour, and we were packed ! ! ! ! !

The girl on express and myself had line-ups 8 to 10 people deep. So many customers that you could not see the front shelves for 'people'!

I don't like to see customers standing in line looking a little more angry with each passing minute. I called for another cashier and was told by head cashier that "there is no one else." Next thing I know, (mind you the front end was FULL of customers), some one wants me to go on my break.

I can't walk out and leave those people standing there, even if the schedule must be maintained in order to get all the breaks done. So I kept checking and no one comes over to put my 'closed sign up and to close down my line. (Its better if head cashier does it then the customers are not so angry at us." I get told to go on my break and I said "I can't. I can't leave all these people standing there ! ! ? ? ? ? ? ?

So I kept working to get these people through and on their way home. I was leaving at 7:30 and finally got my break at 6:15. It is supposed to be around 5:30. But to be honest I really do like a late break so I didn't mind. It makes the shift go quicker.

What really bothered me was the fact that I called for an extra cashier which means that the head cashier is supposed to come out and start checking as well. But she couldn't. Why????? Because she was busy selling lottery tickets.

WTF????? They count for a small, very small, portion of our income. People will buy tickets for lottery, no matter what you do or don't do. Its not even like we (the store) get a prize of anything for selling a winner. The lottery commission has put a to the retailer winning for seli. I tell you, I was so pi**ed at the way things are handled when this one particular girl works. Its like she thinks she's special or somehow, above work. And she has a way of making people uncomfortable when she talks to them. She has a bad habit of looking over people's heads rather than make eye contact.

Its like she feels the customer's are not as good as she is. It doesn't even look good. She is one of those people that doesn't make direct eye contact. She also will laugh out loud in such a way that she draws attention to herself and it is usually just after dealing with one of the employees on some cashier type thing.

"nuff said on that, other than I wish I wasn't working these 'rush hour' shifts with people that are afraid of working. I miss the odd daytime shift that I prefer.

Having said that, I was fortunate to work twice this week with a few people that really know how to work. And actually communicated with the customers.

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