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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Low Prices and Low Morale

Last night I had to wake myself up to actually tell myself to stop dreaming about helping customers. Working in your dreams is really horrible, especially if you're waking up to go back. One night last week I picked up the votive off my nightstand in my sleep and tried to use my pillow sham to bag it. My coworkers told me that's Walmart Syndrome. Not cool! Well, I probably won't have to worry about Walmart Syndrome much longer... yesterday I put in for my time off. My training coordinator's eyes nearly came out of her head when I said I needed ten days off. I also told her I'm going to leave whether they grant me the time or not. She said that I was going to made permanent so it was unfortunate that I'd most likely be terminated. Whatever. I wasn't going to stay there forever. Getting there was such a bitch and so is working there. It'll be nice to leave the Walmart ball and chain behind.

Besides, there's always more crappy customer service/cashiering jobs I can suffer in until I find somewhere that'll hire a Psych undergrad with not much experience. This whole thing has made me feel stuck in a rut. I've been graduated since May and all I have to show for it is... working at Walmart, which is something I'd be qualified to do with a GED.

Cashiering at Walmart, I've found, really is a place of low morale. It's the lowliest position in the store yet you have to deal with the most assholes. I feel talked down to by most customers and managers. It's fucking hard to be polite when your managers sound disinterested and look even annoyed when you approach them. The tones of their voices imply that they think you are an idiot and a lot of them don't even look at you when you're talking. Hell, during my interview the hiring manager held his head in his hands and looked like I was giving him a seminar on paint drying.

A few of the Customer Service Managers talk to you or look at you like the questions you are asking them are the most obvious things in the world. I don't like when one of the CSM's (let's call him Dick) is working because he always looks so damn annoyed when I need anything (looking back I can't recall him smiling... ever. You could probably say the same thing about me). I call for change or help a million times and it's like I'm on a sinking ship sending out an unanswered distress signal. The stupid little fucking light we're supposed to blink when we're having problems usually doesn't work because the CSMs are so wrapped up in their own bullshit problems to notice when the cashiers need help instead of doing what they're supposed to be doing: helping us.

And it's not just the CSMs or management that seemingly try to trample your self-esteem, it's the customers as well. As my husband said the other day (who has also worked as a cashier in the past), "Why do people think that your IQ drops just because you step behind a register?" I'm not sure but I definitely know it's true. While most customers are relatively polite and courteous, a lot of them (when anything in wrong in the transaction) seem to look at you like you're a fucking moron. Sure, my job in theory seems pretty easy. On good days, it's not that bad. But I have to stand in one place for hours, strain my back picking up things, bending over and bagging them repeatedly for eight hours and deal with a large assortment of customers (who are sometimes complete douchebags).

Me: "How are you?"
Customer: "Ugh! I'm sooooooooooooo tired! I've been in the store nearly two hours!"
Me: What I want to say:"Fuck you! I've been here nearly seven hours and I don't want to hear how damn tired you are. I don't care!!!!"

I know it sounds mean but that's how I feel.

I have only once been witness to the Walmart cheer and to me, it was condescending. A cheer, really? I don't understand how that stupid cheer is going build solidarity among employees. If anything just clapping alone made me feel like a fucking moron. I remember looking around the room and thinking, "People are seriously okay with doing this?" Some were smiling and having fun and I just didn't get it. Various times over the last few weeks I've had the distinct gut feeling of "I don't belong here" and during that cheer I felt it the most.

Sometimes I feel ashamed of myself because I do look at the other cashiers and feel a sense of superiority. I am always polite and courteous to them but deep down, I think "This job is okay for them, not me." Is that wrong? To one cashier I was making a joke and basically asking why some people have certain bagging preferences and that it doesn't really matter. She replied emotionlessly that, "They're the customer, they have their own way of doing things and I respect that." Respect that?!? Bagging choices is not something to respect, it usually is the mark of a fucking anal-retentive and controlling asshole who can't NOT be involved in something. In the grand scheme of life, it's not going to fucking matter how your groceries are packed! I have no problem if you have a certain way you want something bagged (like if you're dropping off certain items somewhere) but if you take everything and rebag it, it's going to piss me off. That just shows me that you are a control freak and can't even have someone bag your groceries without you being involved somehow. I felt like saying to the girl, "And that's why you're going to be a cashier forever."

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