Friday, February 22, 2008

Letter to the Snarling Cashier

Dear Grocery Store Cashier,

As a frequent visitor of grocery stores so that I can feed my family of five plus one dog, a tank of fish, and one turtle, I would like to offer a word of advice regarding customer service. I feel I am highly qualified to offer you this advice as I have held jobs as a cashier in the past, although I am not currently employed as one.

First, please greet me. I have been walking the store whilst pushing a cart full of groceries and one loud, often singing toddler. I need that cheery greeting, like the one the produce man gave me half an hour ago.

Second, please ask whether I would like paper or plastic before assuming that I would like those flimsy plastic things that end up in a bird's stomach. Also, don't look askance at me when I hand you the canvas bags that I brought. Green is cool, in case you haven't noticed. My care of the environment does not warrant a cross look from you.

Third, it is preferable that you speak to the customer, not the person helping to bag the groceries, whom I am having to explain that the sturdier canvas bags can hold more than that one gallon of milk. Heap it on, honey! Sure, you have grievances. I know that. Perhaps you didn't want to work that late, but I don't need to know that Chantay and Beau asked you to meet them, but you couldn't because you are working so damn late. Excuse me, I have a two year old in the cart. That language is not appropriate.

Lastly, say farewell and thank me for visiting the store. It's not difficult, and someone, somewhere taught you to say thank you. At least, I hope someone did. I will offer a free refresher course if you would like.

If you think I am being unreasonable, I would ask you to visit a store that caused me to have higher expectations. After Marge (who knew my name and those of my children) is through having a pleasant chat with you, let Pete or Gonza take your groceries to the car. Pete will smile, talk, show real happiness, and Gonza will wish you a blessed day with the largest, most sincere smile you've seen in a decade. Then, come back here and practice that. You'll feel much happier.




Kell said...

I feel the same way about restaurant servers... Preach it, sistah!

BTW - Thank you for the link to ZionthewhiteShepherd. If it were up to me, I would have a dog in my house RIGHT now - but as it stands, my poor husband is still feeling a little sad about the whole thing.... so I'm putting my dog hunt on hold till spring, I think - BUT THANKS! It was great to get your note!

Trixie said...

Ohhhh. Look at you spreading the good word to Kell!



Yes. The deli men are amazing. Would Dare like some turkey? Oh please try this cheese. What about some bologna?

Dare only eats expensive cheese. No string cheese. No American cheese. Havarti? Yes. Munster? Yes. You get the picture. Also no cheap lunch meat. Only organic, low salt, and no preservative meat. I didn't make the rules. Kiddo did. One taste of my favorite turkey and the kid won't go back to run-of-the-mill.

So the deli men love him.

He gets more samples than anyone else. They also give him ideas on how to eat it.

Let's roll it together: cheese and meat.

Let's cut it in a square and put it on a toothpick.

Let's go get a tomato and add that to the cheese square.

Spicy cheese? How about that horseradish cheese? Boy does he like that stuff.

Now Miss...what can we get you?

And there I stand with the remains of all the meat and cheese that Dare could barely finish. Suddenly I am full too.

Elle said...

Ohhhh what a pity, and the rotten day the cashier was having goes on, even spreads a little to your day, unabated by moments of levity with equally tired, stressed or just standing in front of you customers. I tell you, if I was a cashier in a grocery store, the line would move perhaps a tad more slowly, but the customers would get a little slice of have a nice day, no matter.

Oh, and if I get any poop about my canvas bags, I've been known to get behind the register and bag them my self. After once, they seem to get it. The guy at Super One (where you have to bag yourself anyway) was impressed with my green attitude.

tricia said...

Oh, funny- I went grocery shopping this morning too, and my two-year-old was also singing loudly from the seat of my shopping cart.

And I'm always having to ask the baggers to load up my reusable grocery bags too.

My cashier handed my two-year-old a candy I was purchasing without my permission, which I took away and for which she cried the whole way home. Nice!

dragon knitter said...

sounds like that letter needs to go to her supervisor. that's the ultimate height of poor customer service. sheesh!

carymc said...

It's sad that customer service is mostly a thing of the past. Now we are surprised when someone is actually nice to us, when it should be the rule, not the exception. I've complained to my grocery store manager several times about some of the indifferent cashiers he has, and you know what he did about it. Nothing. Maybe he talked to them -- who knows -- but they are still there, and still couldn't care less about us, even though we shop there (Publix) 2-3 times a week. So I've just concluded that no one gives a damn.

We had Harris-Teeter here and loved it, but they couldn't compete with Kroger and Publix. Too bad.

Maureen said...

Agreed with Dragon Knitter.... that letter should go to her supervisor.

Blog Hoppin'

3XMom said...

you go girl! We so need better customer service.

bloghoppin' - three martini mommy

Tara R. said...

Amen! This should be required reading for anyone working in customer service!

Fine as Wine said...

Blame the employer. They obviously treat their employees like crap. The best company I EVER worked for realized that an employees happiness translated into the customers happiness.

The baggers at my local grocery store look at me with a totally blank stare and ask me if I'd like help out to my car. Even if I did, I would NEVER ask it of them. I'd hate to have to give them a tip or something.

Blog hoppin'!

carymc said...

Fine As Wine, you remind me of the time the frail little 60yo bagger asked me if I needed help with my groceries. He was about 5'4", 150 lbs at most. I'm 6'1", 225 lbs.

I smiled and said no thanks. =)

Sarabeth said...

Fine as Wine, at the last grocery store that I mentioned, the taking of your groceries to your car was complimentary, no tip accepted. I would refuse at times, but with three children in tow, I usually answered with a grateful, "Yes."

As for the employer being the problem, I'm not so sure about that. I've worked for a really great manager and a really sucky manager. I gave the same amount of customer service no matter who was my boss. It's about being pleasant to a fellow person.

Stacey @Real World Mom said...

Great post! I had a similar experience with a bank employee just today. I mean, why do some people find it so difficult even to smile??

Anonymous said...

This is priceless! I had my own little run in about my canvas grocery bags just this morning!

Found you through the buzz and I will be back!

Yardenwyld said...

I, too, live in New Orleans and I have heard your complaint from many and many a denizen of our fair city. I ,however, really believe there is another perspective other than the 'Rude Cashier - Abused Customer' routine. First of all, I think it is important to remember that they are at work. Work. Many of us are stressed at work, unhappy, and imperfect and these people (cashiers) are also distrusted, disrespected, and underpaid. They need a: "Hey, how ya doing?" and a "Have a nice day" much more than you do. You're chillin at the grocery store, getting stuff done you need to get done. They are stuck with a psychopathically beaurocratic manager accusing them of everything, getting paid $5.50 an hour. I've tried being more and more friendly and polite the ruder seem to be and since the resolution I've had no problems with cashier, gas attendant, or waiter rudeness. And *I* am happier than when I was judging them and getting my knickers in a twist just because someone didn't welcome me to the grocery store.

Sarabeth said...

Yardenwyld, your comment assumes that I am not nice to the cashiers, which could not be further from the truth. I always say hello, ask how they are doing, and offer to help bag the groceries. How many times has your greeting been ignored? I can tell you that mine has been ignored more times than I find acceptable.

Your entire comment was rather rude.