I am a Wal-Mart cashier and proud of it!
I am sure there are readers out there who love the company all the way to those who hate it. That is fine. That is what is needed in the market place to make the economy work. I am not writing this to change minds or recruit new shoppers. If it happens super.
By the way for our UK readers, Wal-Mart is Asda. I just double checked that spelling and found I should be addressing all out European readers. I have shopped in Asda in Glasgow and overall saw things we should be doing here in the States, but sadly will never see. The little eatery in the front was a pleasant surprise. We have a Subway in my store. This is a major step down in offerings from the Clydebank store I shopped in. Then there are the check-outs. Asda cashiers all sit. Only the walking wounded sit here, Doctors instructions required. Sadly standing is far better here because we buy in such large quantities a cashier needs the leverage standing gives to move the products from belt to bag. I have found many differences in the way we shop here and the way my aunt shops in Glasgow. Each method has its pro and cons. The telling thing for me would be to talk to someone who is shopping for a family that has several teenagers.
Being a Wal-Mart cashier gives me an interesting vantage point to observe people. Most people are nice with some being a lot of fun. Most people are honest with some being above and beyond. I can’t tell you how many customers I have had that will dash off and reunite the pervious customer with their merchandise while I work on their order. Let’s start with some of my pet peeves so we can end on a fun note. Every job has it’s down side. We do not live in a perfect world so it is unrealistic to think an average job is going to be perfect all the time. There are the customers who expect to get something for far below what it is priced. If one is shopping in a self-serve store and wants to be able to handle the merchandise, one must expect that items are not always where they are supposed to be. Other people handle the items, walk around with them, see something else that is just what they want or will do, so they drop the first item just anywhere and take the new one. Then Miss Unrealistic comes alone and picks up the dropped twenty dollar item and says oh the sign says five dollars. Well the sign is for the bath towels on the self and not the lone DVD dropped there. If one wants to be guaranteed that the item and sign match, things must be locked up behind a counter and given to a shopper by a sales clerk. That will result in much higher prices. Most people see reason when presented with that argument.
We will look at my pet peeves first so we can end on a fun note.
When in line please do not just put items on the candy shelves. If you don’t want it hand it to the cashier. If I were a guest in your house you would not like it if I left a half eaten piece of cake on your book shelf. This is my home for four, six or nine hours a day.
If you only have two hundred dollars to spend, please do not load your cart with four hundred dollars worth of merchandise and then decide not to take that beautiful fifteen dollar roast. That will end up in the trash. We can not put cold case items back in the cold case for health reasons. It really does get thrown out. My store alone probably throws enough away each day to make a small third world village think they had hit the lottery and all because people do not think. Those are my “come on people let’s get our act together complaints.”
This next one is “yes your cashier is a nut” one. I do not let my belt run all the time. I hate when things pile up on me. I like a bit of room. I am a picky bagger. I put all the cold together even if the customer does not put it together on the belt. Yep, I pick through the order putting things together that should be bagged together. I also do not bag chemicals with groceries. I have certain things that will be bagged by themselves, the only thing in the bag. Those items include chicken, eggs, bananas, and of course books. You will get your book gently placed the bag and the rest of the back wrapped around it. It will then be placed on top of the bag carousel. The same treatment is given to eggs. Now that you see how I operate you will appreciate my frustration when I get a lovely well meaning customer who keeps rearranging the items on the belt. I will get an item carefully packed into a bag and then reach for something that I think should be packaged with it only to find it is no longer there. Arrrg! Where did it go! Yes, I am as big a nut as the next!
I have this family that comes through every so often. Nice people really. The husband drives me nuts! You know now I am a careful bagger. I also double bag as needed. And I do not have any faith in our bags. Well, this gentleman, not matter how carefully and thoughtfully I bag, he will re-bag everything putting only one item in a bag. They usually have between forty and eighty items in their order. It drives me nuts. One time I saw them coming and stripped my carousel of bags. No matter, he just took bags from the next lane. What is up with him!
Next time you are out take a look at those around you. Yes, we all look at the goths and the punkrockers. We all wonder at the clothes, their makeup, hair, piercings and tattoos. Most of the time I have found then to the nicest, kindest people you would ever want to meet. They are not the ones I want you to notice. It’s the people who should fall into the average Joe category. What happened to our basic dress code. What happen to our basic self-respect that made us care about our appearance to an acceptable extent? Why do people go shopping in their pajamas? Why do they let their healthy 9 or 10 year old daughters go in PJs that are most definitely PJs and nothing but PJs? The first time I saw a customer walk in in JP’s, bathrobe and slippers I could not believe my eyes. Yes it does happen. Now don’t misunderstand me here. I am not a snappy dresser and really never have been. The ones we say to each other “get a load of that” are way beyond the “what were they thinking.” They are more like “can they even think”. They do provide some entertainment value.
I love when I get a customer with whom I can exchange ideas. I love talking about Scotland, books and all sorts of things. I even like a bit of politics and religion just to hear others ideas. I’m not into debating while working, just basically listening. I am the last person to really interact with a customer, so I must leave them with a positive shopping experience. That means I will never leave a customer feeling they or their thoughts were not valued. With this kind of approach I have learned much. I think the ones I have the most fun with are the ones that know a place I know. It’s fun to find someone who know Toledo or how things are done in the mid-west. Those who know Glasgow are particularly precious to me.
We have a great crew. There are those of us that will take customers from your line when they have none. It’s always fun to holler at them not to steal your customers. We have fun fighting over the customers. When was the last time staff fought over you with nothing to gain from it but work? I hope the customers feel good about it. No matter, we hare having fun.
File this next under interesting happenings. You can expect that customers standing in line after shopping in a five acre store that they might eat a candy bar or something preserving the wrapping so that you can ring it up. We get open sodas, bags of candy, chips, drink boxes and all kinds of snacks. In this busy time it keeps children quite and adults going. I have also had the pre-made sandwiches and Lunchables come through not to mention the pop-corn chicken and such from the hot deli counter. No problem, it happens all the time. The weirdest two things I have ever had though were the gallon of milk one quarter gone. I told that customer I knew that milk was not making it home. The second was a rotisserie chicken bones. How do you eat a whole chicken while shopping? I didn’t know what to say about that one.
Fun customers, the young man who wears a kilt because it is comfortable. I haven’t seen him in a while. The families I am watch grow up. The lady who has sixteen cats, some inside, some out. She also works with feral cats, feeds the ducks, raccoons, squirrels and even the coyotes. They are fed and leave her cats alone. I love this lady. There are others like her I have met as well. There are those who work with the different group homes. They are special people. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts as well as the Y and Boys & Girls Club all have adults that come through buying supplies. It is always fun to find out what they are doing. I have ladies from various churches buying things for their programs as well. There are men and women who come in for fun-raisers. You hear so many interesting stories. It makes you feel good about where you live. There are the customers who do not take themselves to seriously to those who have wacky personalities. They are the ones that make you laugh. They are a joy to wait on. There are those who need a little extra help, some of whom are elderly or infirmed; some it’s a matter of language. But every time you succeed in helping them and get that smile it makes up for a whole day of grumpy people. My store is a place where hugs are given daily. Customers hug customers, customers hug staff, staff hug customers and staff hug staff. I have never worked anywhere in all my work life were this is a daily occurrence.
Yes, I’m a Wal-Mart cashier and proud of it!