The Angry Retail Cashier.

You know that cold, withdrawn, sordid stonewall-faced, look-down-pretending-to-be-busy look you receive from a retail cashier at a shopping mall? This comes usually after you have made the rounds from one aisle to the other searching for items you really want and juggling in your mind if you even have enough money on your card to make payment. Usually you don’t have a shopping list, so you pick items on instinct and prompting as they appeal to you, sometimes your children throw items into the cart, if you have not trained them to ask before picking items. Then you join this very long queue of shoppers that twist and turns. Then it’s finally your turn to make payment…

You begin to wonder why you are faced with a seemingly angry looking retail cashier who cannot even greet, not to talk of giving you a warm smile. And it’s usually a she right? I think perhaps the male retail cashiers would try to chat up the ladies and perhaps say hello to the men.

She gives you that look of she’s doing you a favor and you are wasting her time with all these items! Oh! Well, I’m better qualified for this job of a retail cashier, I just took it to be busy. Then she picks the items with disdain in her looks and starts to scan them like the money is coming from her account and she didn’t authorize this purchases!

Customers are faced with this every day and you begin to wonder if these retail cashiers know it’s your sweat that pays their bills!? But then what’s your complaint? That she wasn’t pleasant? She didn’t smile at you? She didn’t say hello? You both know she’s not paid to do any of those. She’s just paid to check-you-out, take your money, but you’d expect some pleasant assisting retail cashier. Sometimes you have to pack your items yourself into a bag. At other times you get some help with expectation of gratification.

If you are paying cash, get ready to hear there’s no change. I bought some drinks at the Dubai airport and paid with $100 bill. The retail cashier couldn’t reconcile my casual traveling outfit with being able to afford to bring out $100? All this is communicated without a word. Just one look. She raised the $100 bill in the air to check that it was not counterfeit. She didn’t do that for other customers. You just shrug and take the embarrassment. At a fast food joint at Charles De Gaulle airport, a retail cashier refused to sell to us because we couldn’t speak French and she couldn’t speak English. It was my son who saved the day with his French. I was thankful the school fees I was paying paid off.

It gets worse if she’s done and you card can’t take the payment or some network troubleshooting that the card isn’t paying. Then she gets irritable, if the card reads “insufficient funds”! She announces it to get you embarrassed and for other shopping customers to hear. Well, you sort it out somehow, perhaps drop some times and thankfully you made it out of the mall alive. A retail cashier at a coffee shop at Houston Hobby airport snapped at me because I brought out $20 to pay for $3.99 coffee!

Retail cashiers globally need a lot of training to understand that they got the job because they are to help customers who are spending their money, so they can get paid, weekly, hourly or monthly. It’s not some lofty high up office where you approach “the bench”for a favor.

Managers and executives of shopping malls should arrange mystery shoppers for their cashiers to fire those unpleasant ones who think they doing customers a favor. This will serve as a deterrent. Some bring the fights they had at home to the retail cash desk and have the customers deal with it!

This goes for several other contact points where customers have to face this cold, ill treatment. Whether it is at the fast food joint, grocery store or even laundry mart. I was at a lego shop once to buy some LEGO toys for my children to reward them for doing so well in their examinations. The retail cashier instead of a greeting announced to me upfront that the POS wasn’t working except I had cash! So that I know and not waste her time. I had to scold her and to ask if she was the owner of the shop she would address me that way. Well, I truly wanted the LEGO to make my boys happy. So when network improved, I went back to pick and pay for the items.

Have you been to a shop and it was just ten minutes to closing and the retail cashier says to you “we have closed”! Like you are bothering her and where the hell have you been since we opened from 8:00am? I nearly caused a scene at Atlanta airport because I wanted an orange juice, I was starring at it, the shop was open but the nasty retail cashier said she had closed!? You grapple with that everyday.

Customers go through a lot especially in these very harsh global economies to make ends meet and they shouldn’t be treated in such derogatory disdain disrespectful manner at retail cash points by some dim-wit retail cashier, who they can employ as their maid, just because they did to pay for their items.

Thankfully technology may soon save us all the trouble when self-check-out, which is already on test run becomes global. You wouldn’t have to deal with those sad, gloomy faces again, you just scan you items on your phone or tablet or mobile device, make a payment with it and walk out the door of the shopping mall into the sunshine without any retail cashier molesting you with a bad attitude.


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