Tales From Register #10 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I'm a cashier at my local grocery store, and I love my job. My boss loves me and lets me work only on weekends. I meet all sorts of nice people and make $6.80 an hour, which ain't so bad either.

But don't get me wrong, work has its problems. Like the fact that I get up at 6 every weekend to be at work by 7:15. And despite being the fastest cashier in the store, and the one who orders and stocks all of the register's candy, and taking only one sick day in the six months I've worked, I haven't gotten any special notice yet. Not that I'm complaining. Who needs a raise at $6.80?

The biggest problem that I deal with at the store is - unfortunately - the customers. Very few appreciate the fact that they have landed in the line of the fastest cashier in store; they tell me this, and some even go out of their way to make sure my boss knows what a great job I'm doing. But there are inevitably people either who think I don't know how to do my job, or that it's my fault whenever something isn't right. A lot of people sit there and watch their groceries pile a mile high at the end of my register without making a motion to help me, and then direct every move I make when I start bagging their groceries. I understand that it's my job, not theirs, to bag the groceries; but if they're just going to tell me what a terrible job I'm doing, why don't they save us all some trouble and do it themselves?

I don't like people who try to get in my line even when a sign says it's closed, and then give me filthy looks when I tell them - like they think I'm doing it just to annoy them. I don't like the people who blame me when a sale sign that was left up from last week is no longer in effect. I hate the people who get all hot and bothered when I check the signature on their credit card - which is store policy. Their logic is "No other cashier does it." My response? "Then the other cashiers are wrong."

It is very difficult to keep a smile on my face and be courteous when I have been on my feet for five hours without a break, when lines are backed up the aisles, when a little kid is playing with the buttons on the credit card machine and screwing me up, when people are screaming at me about the mistakes other departments have made. It is balm to a wounded soul when that rare person tells me what a great job I have done; but more often than not, the only comments I get are more like salt on an open wound.

Try to remember this the next time you are in a grocery store (and show this to your parents!). If your cashier looks tired and can't even bring themselves to say hello, smile at them, or say something nice. And if you have a special request, please try to make it less of a demand. It is more likely to be followed if it is given with a smile than with a scowl. I guarantee you will brighten a tired worker's day. 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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