Just a lowly cashier complaining about the unknowing irritation you cause by everyday purchasing transactions.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Hate Being a Customer

The worst part of my week has got to be grocery day.  I can think of quite a few people who feel the same way about grocery shopping (probably most people hate it with a passion).  But, it's not the shopping I hate but the forced interaction with fellow customers that causes my blood to boil. 

When I lived in Arizona, the town was smaller and there were good and bad times to go to the store.  There were times when there were hardly anyone in the store and you could shop in peace.  But here, where the population is huge and basically always on top of each other, there are no good times to go.  

The shelves will always be missing something you need no matter what time you are shopping.  There will always be some asswipe with a stroller up your ass or rolling over the top of your foot (this happened to my husband this last weekend).  There will always be the annoying family who, rather than putting their barely-walking child in the cart, makes them walk and get in EVERYONE'S way while they casually stroll along without a care in the world besides "Rice crispies or cinnamon toast crunch?" 

There will always be the aisle-blockers who put their cart on one side and stand right in the way so no one can get past.  I usually stand there, clear my throat and stare at them until they really zone out and I have to loudly and sharply say, "Excuse me."  And then they turn to me and genuinely look surprised and say, "Oh, I'm sorry!"  Then I feel like a rude asshole.  But, I also think to myself, "How fucking stupid are these people to completely be oblivious to their surroundings that they can't understand that there are others trying to move in the store?!"  It seriously is as if their brains can only hold one thought at a time and all their brainwaves are occupied contemplating brands of shortening and prices. 

There's always the token screaming kid and mother, the moron who can't drive the motorized cart so every five seconds you hear the *beep beep beep* of them backing up into something, and the old lady (or man sometimes) who can't reach something and looks to me as if I'm some Amazon lady who can get it down for them (not that I especially mind, I like being tall...).  

I hate walking in the mall during a busy day and I look off into the distance to see a stampede of strollers coming my way, forming an impenetrable barrier of offspring.  They're usually young mothers in ugly yoga pants and unbrushed hair walking handle bar to handle bar and completely oblivious to the world around them.  There are times when I don't move and they look at me as if I'M the rude one taking up all the space. 

I also hate shopping in stores where I'm the only customer and I've got three sales people trailing after me asking if I need help.  How many people really need help shopping for clothes, I wonder?  Wouldn't I be the best person to consult on what I'm going to wear?  It only makes sense. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rewards For Being Morons

Well, the book has stalled for now.  Sometimes it's hard for me to stay focused because I'm the queen of the "there's always tomorrow" excuse.  I've got to get it through my thick head that that's not necessarily true and I should take advantage of all this time alone at home to write!

To all the men who call women "sweetie," "baby," or "sweetheart": STOP IT!  Whether you realize it or not, it's condescending and rude.  I am not any of those things to you and it makes me feel like a "little woman" when you say these things to me.  It's usually the old, ugly fucks who say this to me from the other side of the register.  I guess there are worse things to be called but I don't appreciate being called a "sweet" name.  It makes me feel insecure, stupid, and incompetent.  And when you accompany any of the above names with a wink, it makes me want to knock you upside the head with my debit machine.  

Things I Don't Miss:

-People who would bring up a handful of items and say, "I guess you know what I'm having for dinner!"  For one, I don't care.  Two, I usually don't really pay much attention to the shit that I would scan.  Three, NO I can't tell what the fuck you're having for dinner because I fail to see how bread, a can of anchovies and milk constitutes a dinner.  
-When I would announce the total while still continuing to bag groceries, there was always that rude moron who would shove their bills under my nose so that I'd take them immediately. It was so annoying and inconsiderate that I wanted to take their $50 and shred it in front of them and blow the pieces in their face. 
-Donut theives.  When I worked at my convenient/grocery store job we had a large donut case.  People would graze past there as they entered the store, fill up a bag or box and eat throughout the store.  They liked to lie about the number of donuts too so I always had to pay attention to if they were eating their donuts or not and I'd always have to open the box to see if they were lying.  A lot of the time they were.  Why would you bother stealing a fucking .65 donut when you're paying about $25 for the rest of your groceries anyway?!
-When I was a cashier/Sunday morning manager at my last job I'd have to deal with product returns.  It was usually people complaining about bad meat (which didn't happen very often but once it did they'd say "UGH this is the [exaggerated amount]th time I've gotten bad meat from here!").  I distinctly remember one customer who brought me a just a shopping bag of sausage.  It smelled terrible like she'd left it on the counter all night.  She had no meat wrapper and no receipt.  It took all my energy not to scream at her, "What the fuck do you want me to do with this?!"  Seriously though... what is the mental processes that are going on in people's heads? (Are there any...?)

Speaking of "bad" food, when I worked at my last job I dreaded the Summer time.  Not because it was so deathly hot outside when I took out the trash that I'd be covered in sweat by the time I got back from the dumpster.  Not because there were intervals in which business was mind-numbingly slow.  Not because I hated working weekends and seeing everyone come in for the cookout and pool party supplies.  But,  every Summer we had a wave of morons that would come into the store and complain that our dairy products or meat had spoiled.  What these fuckwads failed to mention was that the above items had spoiled because they had left them in their 124+ degree car after they bought them.  Is your car a fucking fridge?  Of course it spoiled, genius!  Even though my boss highly suspected they'd abandoned their groceries in their hot car, he always gave their money back.  I hate when people are rewarded for being complete idiots. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gross Hands and Boob Money

Throughout my entire customer service experience, I have come into contact with some of the most disgusting hands and fingernails that the world has ever seen.  

When I worked at Little Caesars and served cheap-o $5 pizzas with the innuendo "Hot-N-Ready" emblazoned over my chest, we had plenty of construction worker customers.  Now these men are hard workers, there's no doubt, but what extra effort does it possibly take to wash construction shit off of your hands before you go to lunch?  I have no idea why anyone would really want to walk around with dirty crud underneath their fingernails and on their hands that makes it look like they were elbow-deep in a cow's ass.  And I KNOW you aren't going to use a fork for that pizza so now you're eating that nasty crap off your hands.  SICK. 

There are a few types of grossness that have come into contact with:

-Mechanic-gross hands (oil and grease in the dry, icky cracks of their hands)
-Construction worker-gross hands (mud and dirt and dry, cracked hands) 
-Diseased-looking gross-hands (warts, dry and pealing skin, scabs, open sores, bruises)
-Surprise!  Missing finger!/hand! gross-hands 

It wouldn't really bother me that other people have these revolting types of hands if they... DIDN'T HAND MONEY TO ME AND BRUSH THAT SICKNESS AGAINST MY SKIN.  I despise the stranger-hand touch and it makes it a hundred times worse when that hand touch is coming from a zombie hand. 

The last type of gross hands, the Missing Finger! hand has got to be the worst.  It's not even necessarily that it's gross but more like the crazy shock you get when you realize that only four fingers are handing you the money!  Then, you have to act like nothing is wrong and that you hardly notice that the man is missing his index finger.  

It reminds me of all the times this one guy would come in at Little Caesar's with his hook hand and would count out the money and hand it to me.  I tried to look normal but who knows what my face really looked like? 

I used to dread the Summer months in my desert town in Arizona for two reasons: the extreme heat and wet money.  The construction workers that had disgusting hands would retrieve the money from their pockets (that was wrinkled into a wad) and hand it to me, sopping wet.  That was the most disgusting thing ever.  I even reserved a special place under my cash drawer to lay out sweat-soaked bills from construction workers' pockets. 

But still, worse than that was boob money.  For some reason there are women who think that their bra doubles as a wallet/purse and will hide things in there.  While this may be a good idea for enjoying Mardi Gras or the NYC New Year's Eve ball drop, a trip to the store shouldn't employ such aggressive laziness/anti-theft tactics.  I don't want to touch anything that you pull from your bra especially anything that has been up against your breasts long enough to be as sweaty-wet as pocket money.  I also don't enjoy you and your friends talking about how much money you made dancing at the club when you pull money from your bra.  Even if it's a joke, please... spare me the mental image that you just gave me by placing you in a strip club (because I need to go bleach my eyes now). 

Friday, March 4, 2011

A New Direction

So, I finally figured out how I think I want a book based on this blog to go... and I started writing today.  I reasoned that most of my blogs fit into the following categories: arriving, shopping, and leaving.  Here's what I've got right now as a work in progress for the first chapter of the book so far. 

The parking lot is the first indication of the condition of the actual store.  It is also a place of great idiocy and rudeness on behalf of the customers.  Most parking lots that are frequented by a great many people, as the Supercenter’s was, are littered with everything imaginable: fast food bags, dirtied baby diapers, drink cups, socks, and shirts that have remarkably found its way off of the wearer.
And despite the fact that there are many trash cans that are conveniently located throughout the parking lot, people take the path of least resistance and dump their shit out on the pavement rather than walk an extra two steps to deposit of it properly.  This behavior is not unlike the lazy assholes in movie theaters who leave their popcorn on their seats and their drinks in the cup holders (because carrying it out the door and next to the trash can would be too much activity to handle). 
To further drive home the true laziness of the Supercenter’s classy clientele, the manner of parking was also indicative of the customer’s true lack of conscientiousness.  
There’s a special breed of people (whom I have named parking piranhas) that cruise the parking lot for the closest spaces in order to attack it as soon as one backs their vehicle out.  There may be many parking spaces a few spots away but they seemingly cannot live without the space being as close to the door as possible.  I have even experienced being stalked by people driving in their cars in order to find where I was parked so that they may grab up my spot with the greediness of a two year old child.  To catch them off guard there are a few tactics I have employed to throw them off (you may steal these if needed):
  • Walk insanely slow, stop, look at your imaginary watch and glance around the parking lot as if you cannot find your car.  Throw up your hands in exasperation and soon they will get frustrated and drive off to another victim. 
  • Pick a random car out of the parking lot and slowly walk to it.  Fumble with your keys for effect.  When the car approaches you and your fake car, run in the opposite direction to your car.
When you finally get your car parked in a carefully chosen space, it is now time to take a deep breath and brace yourself for the hectic store environment.  
Have you ever experienced inclement weather while out shopping?  Have you raced through the rain/snow/sleet to the store entrance, went to grab a cart and there are none?  Or there are carts but you turn up your nose and cry out in exasperation that the carts are wet?  Yes, the carts go outside and outside is where it is raining so logically the carts will be too.  Wipe off the cart and move on. 
And when there are no carts but the parking lot was covered in a foot of snow, what the fuck are you doing out in the snow shopping for?  (Why did you risk your life to come and get a bag of chocolate-covered donuts and a t-shirt?)  These are the same people who cannot figure out why there are no carts in the store.  If you had a hard time walking into the store, how fucking hard do you imagine it is to walk, push carts, and avoid the asshole drivers of the parking lot?  Yeah, pretty damn difficult.  If I were a cart handler, I would not be the slightest bit tempted to go outside and grab carts in terrible weather and risk bodily injury just so customers can push it around the store to gather things to stuff their faces with.  Go get your own cart or grab a hand cart.  Why are you grocery shopping in this weather?! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm Not The Only One

My husband and I went grocery shopping at Walmart yesterday and we went at a time that was super busy, dinner time.  It felt weird walking into the store and as I passed the registers I glanced around to see who was working: Trailer Park Girl (still sporting the dark hair and greasiness), the cashier I beat for fastest IPH, The Twilight guy (his name is the same as one of the characters), and grumpy Gloria (she trained me but upon further examination I realized just how grumpy she was to everyone). 

I'd have to say that as a customer, other customers annoy me even more.  They stand in the way, they walk slow, they pay no mind to what's around them and are generally very inconsiderate.  But now... I get to leave and I breathe a sigh of relief once I get to my car to be out of the store that's filled with assholes. 

While shopping I encountered a woman whom I was hired with and she asked me if I was still working there.  I had no qualms telling her that I quit because I hated it and I was beginning to get panic attacks.  

"Then you did what you had to do," she replied before complaining about her own work schedule.
"It was the customers, they're so rude," I said.
"Yeah, I just shrug it off, pay no mind and don't let it get to me."

How come I couldn't just shrug it off?  Maybe she's more easy-going and laid back than I am? I tried and tried for months to just shrug it off and usually I managed to.  Then, I came home just to bitch about it on my blog.

She mentioned that she was actively searching for a job still (because she hated Walmart too) and before parting we wished each other luck.  Unlike the insincerity of most casual goodbyes, I really meant it.  

Monday, February 28, 2011

I Quit

Last Wednesday I walked into Walmart, threw my name tag in the personnel lady's face and screamed, "I QUIT!" 

Okay, I didn't dramatically do that as I did countless times in my daydreams.  Instead, I made up my mind just a half an hour before my shift began that I didn't want to take it anymore.  I didn't want to take the customer abuse, the long and endless lines, the hours of standing in front of a register, the feeling of extreme dread, and the forty-five minute bus ride on two buses just to get to work. 

I did my makeup nicely, fixed my hair and put on the same sweater I'd worn the day I got hired (kinda full circle now, huh?) and drove to work as my husband laid in bed totally zonked out of his mind on meds for his back injury.  I wish that I'd had his input on my decision to quit, but I guess ultimately I took this shitty job in my own hands and ended it (not unlike a nemesis that only the hero can kill in the end).   

I burst through the double doors and into the personnel office and I opened up by asking for my W2 which despite being nearly March, I had not received.  I then asked her who I had to notify that I was quitting.

"Are you putting in your two weeks or..."
"I'm quitting today.  I'm just kinda done," I said flatly.
"Why, was it the hours?" she arched her eyebrows like she'd heard this before. 
"No, it's the customers.  I'm sick of the way the treat me."
"Yeah, working with the public is difficult," she nodded and her face relaxed.  Clearly, she'd been through her own customer hell before.  Another cashier walked in to discuss medical leave with the personnel lady and we exchanged a few words,
"I wish I could quit, I hate this job.  I had someone throw groceries at me once," the cashier said to me in front of the personnel lady.

It was then that I felt a little guilty.  This other cashier was a mother and I gathered that she had to work this job to support her family.  I had the luxury of throwing my hands up and leaving but, she did not.  That's not really my fault though because we both have different circumstances but I couldn't help feeling bad for her.  And, what asshole throws groceries at a cashier?!  I would beat the shit out of that person with their gallon of milk and choke them a plastic bag.  

Now that I am now a housewife until I figure out how we'll either A) get another car or B) find another job within a bus route, I'm facing tons of free time.  I'm also facing the outcome of this blog.  I have tons of customer stories and insights into the annoyance of the service industry.  I'm considering molding this 30,000 word blog into a book somehow... 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You Can Stuff Your 'Congratulations' Up Your...

After being off since the day after Valentine's Day, today is my first day back.  I have two shifts, today and tomorrow from 4:30-11 and I hope I can get through them without having a panic attack, pulling my hair out, or attacking a customer and beating their head against the ground.

Most of my day yesterday comprised of looking at every job site I could think of to try and find something that I can send a resume to.  I came up empty handed.  This caused me to have a very shitty day and for my husband to come home from his totally crappy day and have to deal with his blubbering, crying wife. 

To top it off, I got this in the mail: 

Congratulations! NOT
Apparently, this little stupid card is worthy of being congratulated over.  Now I can save 10% on SOME items.  This is just damn depressing.  That means I've been at this shit hole for over 90 days. 

And the people at Walmart assumed that my last name was the same as my husband's because he's now Mr. MyLastName.  Nice. 

Speaking of these stupid cards, I see them being abused all the time.  Associates shopping with friends will swipe their cards first and then let their friends pay the difference.  It's not supposed to be used like that but, because I don't have an interest in what Walmart loses money in, I choose not to say anything. 

Another stupid thing about Walmart: they only sell edited CDs.  Now this concept, I don't really get because they can sell rated R movies that SHOW things as well as say bad things.  What sense does that make?  

I'm not quite sure how today is going to go.  Either way, I know it's going to be filled with misery, lots of clock watching, annoying people, and screaming babies.  Oh, what a wonderful job. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Women Are The Most Annoying Customers

On the one day I was supposed to work in this long stretch of time off, I called out sick.  I was even dressed and head out of the door when my throat tightened, my heart raced, and my chest began to hurt.  Another mild panic attack.  When I called off I unfortunately had to talk to the Overly Enthusiastic Manager and she genuinely wished me 'get well' and I felt bad for about two milliseconds.  After hanging up the phone and taking a deep breath, I realized that I would not have to step behind a register for almost a week.  

There are few times in life where I feel more relieved than I do when I clock out and race out of Walmart and hit the parking lot.  While my life feels dull, dismal, and completely Edgar Allen Poe-esque while I'm working, the clouds lift and my soul (what soul I have left that hasn't been raped and pillaged by Walmart) is uplifted once I step outside.

This may be the overly dramatic, writer-creative person-artistic side of me but... I feel so fucking stifled by that workplace.  Everyday my nerves take a severe beating and each day I wonder when I will finally fucking snap.  Of course I don't mean snap as in a violent sense, more like throw my hands up and scream, "Fuck this job and fuck you!" as I point my finger in the face of the offending customer.  I hope it's an old snooty lady.  Or some high and mighty soccer mom with those fucking pieces of shit reusable bags (that they're going to stuff in their enormous UNenvironmentally friendly SUV). 

I just thought of something interesting.  I have more problems with female customers than male customers.  I can only think of a couple times in which a male customer has really caused me problems or has been annoying (stupid, yes but all customers are stupid).  Female customers seem to be the worst.  And I'm not saying I'm anti-female but, they are the pickiest of all the customers whether it's price, bagging preference, or annoying requests.  

What does this mean exactly?  I'm not sure.  Is it because women, are more prevalent grocery shoppers and therefore I'm more in contact with women and as a result they cause more annoying instances?  Is it because I'm sick of bagging douches?  Is it because women are more annoying and picky?

I think it's a combination of those things.  All my life I have held most females at arms length because of many instances in which I have been badly burned or backstabbed.  Usually it's because a lot of girls (with the exception of a few) have generally annoyed me.  It could have been their mannerisms, conversational subject matter, or the way they treated others.  A lot of the time it's because I have regarded them as being weak.  I cannot stand weak and overly feminine women who adhere strongly to gender roles.  On the opposite end of the spectrum I cannot stand men who hold fast to gender stereotypes either. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Paintbrush Skewers?

Yesterday's Quit-O-Meter: 7 (a four hour shift followed by two days off, it wasn't too bad) 

At least once a day I get a customer who pulls out some items from their pocket or purse at the last minute and hands it to me to scan.  Sometimes we have already finished the transaction and the items in their pockets are a last minute remembrance.  It makes me wonder, how many times do customers not remember that they've pocketed things?  And how is it that no one from the Walmart security room didn't deploy someone from the roof to tackle the lady in the lipstick aisle to the ground once she slipped the item away?  It must be really simple to steal things from our store.  

But as a customer, why would you think it would be okay to put things that you haven't purchased away in your purse or pocket?  It always is the women who put things like lipsticks and other cosmetics in their pockets.  I've never had a man who's nearly forgotten to pay for anything so it must be a woman thing.  It really bothers me though because I have to fight the urge to say, "What if you had forgotten to give this to me?!  THIEF!!!"

During my last hour I was put on re-shop which brought me into the line of fire of a million questioning customers.  Where's the satin sheets? (Ew.)  Where's the cookie cutters?  Where's your skewers? 

I easily found the skewers but we were out of the bamboo ones that the woman wanted to impale her box of fruit upon.  She didn't want to use metal skewers and she asked me if I had any ideas (????).  I thought of a few stupid things: straws, toothpicks, ... dowel rods?!  She had no idea what a dowel rod was so I took her over to the craft aisle.  While a skinny dowel rod would have worked fine, unfortunately we only carried a multipack of different sizes.  We stood there staring at the dowel rods and pipe cleaners until she reached toward a pack of paintbrushes.  Yes, plastic, multicolored, kid-friendly paintbrushes.  After considering them for a moment she put them in her cart and said, "Well, at least it'll be the joke at the table."  We had a good laugh at the idea but I cannot believe that ultimately she walked away planning to skewer fruit on paintbrushes.  How romantic. The sheer ridiculousness still makes me giggle to think of it. 

Valentine's Day means lots of customers buying strawberries, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, boxes of fake rose petals, candles and boxes of candy.  It grosses me out when they buy these combinations of items because I don't want to think what they are going to be used for.  Oddly enough, no one bought condoms or lube... ?  It truly surprises me how many women feel comfortable enough to put their sexy underpants on the register checkout belt that has smears of questionable things on it (could be chicken juice, fabric softener, milk stains...).  At least put it on top of one of the items!  Yuck! 

Speaking of piling clothing, one of my huge pet peeves involves the customer bringing up a wad of clothing and piling them on the register belt.  It takes me twice as long sorting through a collision of clothing that resembles the dumped out contents of a laundry hamper.  And if it's messy on the belt, I'm going to throw that shit in your bag in a tangled and wrinkly mess not unlike the one you unloaded on me. 

And the Roundhouse Kick to the Face Award of the week goes to: the woman who asked me where "stuff for your lawn would be" and didn't realize that such things would be in... LAWN & GARDEN!  

*The "Roundhouse Kick to the Face Award" goes to the dumbest customers with the most obvious and ridiculous questions (there might even be multiple winners).  This award is sponsored by my Mom who loves the phrase "roundhouse kick." 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Hell

Yesterday's Quit-O-Meter: 9.8

For my entire shift it was non-stop customers.  The combination of military payday and impending Valentine's Day created a perfect storm and my personal hell.  It was a hassle just to walk to the back room to clock in and wade through the throng of people.  One of the door greeters mentioned that it had been a crazy day and that's when you know it's been bad.  You can't even stand at a fucking door and say "hello" to customers without feeling overwhelmed.  It almost made me want to snap at her and say, "Oh, you think that's bad?  Try having non-stop customers and bagging their shit over and over.  Standing in front of the door is cake!!"  

After my shift my entire body ached, especially my back.  Maybe I'm too tall or something but bending down and bagging really gets to my back sometimes.  I think it might have something to do with the height difference, practically every cashier and service manager is shorter than me.  It makes it difficult to look for a manager because I usually end up looking over them because they are all so tiny.

Another thing about Valentine's Day: the expensive candy.  And I'm so happy that I'm paying for people to buy that expensive Valentine's candy with their food stamp card.  WHAT THE FUCK!?  Feed your damn kids!  I have no problem with people using their card to feed their families because some financial misfortune has befallen you.  But besides a few people, everyone I've seen using it buys the most junk food I have ever seen.  I also enjoy the fact that some of the women have nice and expensive Coach purses with matching wallets and a manicure.  If you can afford that shit, you can afford food.  Same goes for cigarettes and alcohol. 

I'm pretty sure that Valentine's Day will be the last shitty holiday I have to put up with at Walmart.  There's been Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Super Bowl Sunday, and now Valentine's Day.  I'm fed up with the holidays at Walmart.  When does it end in our consumer-driven culture?  Buy, buy, buy!  "I need food for Thanksgiving, so much food that I'll end up throwing away half of it!  I need STUFF for Christmas... and FOOD.  I need to eat and drink when I watch the football game!  Don't forget all the chocolate candies I need to eat on Valentine's Day.  I want so much chocolate, I'm going to melt it and inject it right into my bloodstream!  MORE FOOD!!!"  It's no wonder that our nation is a nation of fatasses.  We can't do anything or go anywhere without eating.  Whether it's a concert, the movie theater, the fair, or airplanes, we can't go anywhere without stuffing our faces.  It's embarrassing. 

There's been a study done that America wastes half of the nation's food supply.  HALF!  Yet, we have people fucking starving on the streets and people making Epic Mealtime (though... Epic Mealtime is kinda funny).  And everyday more and more people graze off to Walmart to gather more food. 

Here's another fun fact courtesy of one of my undergrad Sociology classes: In countries where food is prominent (as in the US), a slim physique is the ideal.  In countries where food is scarce, a plumper body frame is most desirable. 

I thought that was interesting and not a very complex idea, but something I didn't bother to think about before.  It seems either way, you can't win.