My First Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

During my first week at Palm Harbor Natural Foods, I learned a few things. The customers aren’t always pleasant, the register system is outdated, and you need a manager for every mistake you can (and will) make.

Sundays were our discount days – 10 percent off everything in the store. From the moment I arrived at 10:30 a.m. and clocked in, herds of shoppers bustled down the aisles. I was ready to take on my first customer, although I was still a little shaky on the register.

Previously, my experience had been with the technologically advanced register system at McDonald’s. Mickey D’s has touch-screen menus and unlimited options. This grocery wasn’t that high-tech.

Confident because of my former job experience, I felt ready to help customers. I was virtually flawless as I scanned items and weighed bulk goods.

I was calling out the totals and instructing the hurried customers with their credit cards. Every so often, I asked my coworker for assistance. There were a lot of procedures to remember. Usually if I made a mistake, I’d call Gary, the manager, over to type in his magic code and make everything better.

Later in the day, when most of the church-goers had come and gone, things slowed down. I was in the home stretch and had a full tummy from eating hot deli food during my break. My feet were a bit sore and I was weary from standing all day. A man with a very full basket approached my register. He must have had more than forty items. When I finally swiped his last grocery item, I said, “That will be $847.63.”

“What?” he exclaimed. “I can feel a hole in my pocket.” But he swiped his credit card, signed the slip, and left.

After bragging to Mike at register two about the amount I had just rung up, my palms began to sweat and I felt like a thief. I must have made a mistake in the man’s order. My thoughts were interrupted by Gary’s voice booming over the intercom. I quickly straightened the ginger chews and helped the next customer.

Have you ever bought a quantity of one item, maybe to save money or trips to the store? The reason Mr. Customer paid $847.63 is because of my clumsy butter-fingers. Instead of typing 3 for “quantity of item,” I typed 37.

Back at work the following weekend, I asked Gary, “Did the customer come in to get his money back?”

“Yes, he did,” Gary informed me. Turns out I needed more practice on those outdated systems.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

chelsie R. said...
Jun. 25, 2009 at 6:00 am
you did a good job on this artical!
mgirl82 said...
Jan. 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm
This is a calm peice of writing. That guy is lucky he got his money back. It's not your fault just try and be more careful adn check for big mistakes. GOOD JOB YO:D!
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