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Judging Character At The Register This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Judging Character at the Registerby Jeffrey Rose, Kenmore, NYBeing a cashier, I feel that I have learned more about people in the last six months than ever before. Each shift, I probably see and interact with about 500 people. Something unique can be said about each of them. I don't just learn about their spending habits; I learn about their personalities. I see whether they're happy, miserable, or just passive. After one sale, I can immediately place each into a category. This isn't really intentional, and I don't like to stereotype, but I can't help it.The first group (my favorite) are the quick customers. These customers, usually men, want to get their merchandise and exit the store as quickly as possible. They always pay with cash and never make casual conversation (except the usual "hello" and "thank you"). Thankfully, they never want things bagged.The next group are the penny-pinching customers. These people usually approach the register with a two-inch thick stack of coupons. This doesn't really bother me as much as when they question each price as it comes up on the register. I try to tell them that the item isn't on sale, but they insist that I check. They usually take 5 to 10 times longer than the average customer.Then you have the I'll-take-as-long-as-I-want-to customers. I think that half the time these people just don't see the line of 30 people behind them. They approach the register at a snail-like pace, still looking over what they picked out, with me standing there, waiting. They finally give me their stuff one item at a time. Then, they realize they forgot something, and plod back, continuing to hold up the growing line. At last they are ready to pay - with a check. However, they never seem to remember the check policy, and complain each time I remind them. They question why I need to see two forms of identification and why I won't take checks from Yugoslavia. If they do pay with cash, they always insist on giving me exact change. Their pockets now get emptied onto the counter, complete with keys, used tissues and balls of pocket lint.Don't get me wrong, I love my job. When I think about it, I really don't want anything to change. I'm glad there are such a variety of people in the world - just keep the miserable ones away from me. c


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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