If I haven’t already told you, I work in a little independent grocery(ish) store that is known for having fabulous deals on lots of big-name products. Even though it’s not in my field, most days I don’t mind it. However, these past few days my normally cheery exterior has been wearing thin as customers chipped away at it with their bad manners and poor etiquette. As I can’t complain about it at work, I thought I’d do it here… and how better to do so than a lovely drafted letter?
Dear valued customers,
Before I begin, please know that this letter is not directed at all of you… time and time again I am reminded that there are still good people in the world when people offer a patient smile and are aware that the world does not revolve around them. But for the rest of you… a little advice:
I think I need to stop greeting people when they enter into my store… I’ve come to the conclusion that my bright smile must be blinding you from seeing the baskets and shopping carts we offer to make your shopping experience simple and easy. Why else would you feel the need to use our counters as your personal carts? I realize that if aren’t planning on buying much when you enter you may not think you need a basket or cart, but how on earth is piling things onto the counter as you run back and forth from the aisles easier than carrying a small basket with you as you peruse through the store? And then, when I offer you a basket to prevent the back and forthness / MESS you create on my checkout counter you brush me off and tell me you’re fine. I. am. not. fine. I am not offering you a basket to be nice. (Okay, well I sort of am) I am offering it to you to get your crap off the counter so I can checkout the people who actually took the time to organize their things into a cart and need space to bag it. The baskets are small and convenient. USE THEM. Please?
Then there are a group of you who try to be extra creative by using the boxes we offer to pack your groceries for their actual shopping. I’m not sure if you don’t like the idea of our plastic baskets touching your packaged food and so you use choose to use cardboard– that’s fine. But here’s the thing–when you practice your super Jenga moves and pack your groceries in all perfectly before you checkout, guess what has to happen? Yup. They ALL have to come out so I can scan them. So please don’t stab me with your eyes when I pull them out of the box, that’s preeeeetty much how it works wherever you go. Most places insist that you pay for them before leaving, and sorry dears, I’m not telepathic and can’t guess what’s in the box. My bad.
On to checkout etiquette… I have a shocking revelation: I can’t fly. I’ve always wanted to, and I even tried once! (Sadly, all that resulted was a broken arm. *sigh*) So when I am on the other side of the store, and you are approaching the cash register, pause for a moment and think about that. As much as I would like to teleport over to where you are so I can tend to your every need the second you approach the register, sadly, that just ain’t gonna happen. I will promise to get to you as quickly as humanly possible, but we have small aisles and again, the whole no flying thing. So please, be patient. I know you have places to be, but I have other responsibilities and I’m doing the best that I can.
On the same note, shouting out to me before you’ve even reached the counter (meaning you haven’t waited at all yet) also won’t make me get there any faster. I was trained to check for people at the counter every 3 – 5 seconds, regardless of where I am in the store. We are known for having good service. Chances are I’ve seen you. Patience, my lovely… patience. I’m coming.
Also, I wear a name tag for a reason–it’s so you won’t call me “Girl”. I may be young, but I’m pretty sure I passed the “girl” phase of my life as a teenager when I blossomed into a “woman” with “woman” attributes. I try hard to speak to you with respectful titles, please take a moment and read my name tag if you feel the need to address me. You’ll seriously make my day and I’ll be SO nice to you! Like, we’ll be besties… for at least as long as you’re in my store. :)
Sometimes there is a bit of a lineup at the cash, and for that I apologize. I hate making people wait, but I only have two hands and I am going as quickly as I can. Unfortunately I don’t have a conveyor belt type counter so you can’t load your things until it’s actually your turn… or at least you’re not supposed to. Here’s the thing, I know those dang baskets can get heavy, but that’s what the floor is for. I clean it every night. I know it’s sparkling and there is nothing on it to prevent you from wanting to set your basket on the floor for one minute… so I’m a little confused as to why you feel the need to push your things onto the counter when it’s not your turn, fully crowding the person currently being checked out and violating their personal space? *sigh* I get that our counters aren’t perfect, but patience my dears, patience. Soon it will be your turn, and I know you’d be frustrated if someone else started shoving their groceries onto the counter while you were trying to pay.
Speaking of paying, our cash system is a big, black, obvious thing that sits on one side of the counter. It’s really quite hard to miss as there is nothing else on the counter that even looks remotely like it. So, why must you put your groceries on the opposite side, as far as humanly possible from where I need to scan them? For me, it would be logical to place the things I want to buy nearest to where the cashier is… not as far away as possible. Also, when you realize your mistake, it would be awesome if you could help me push your groceries to the correct spot instead of just moving yourself.
Lastly, bagging / boxing your groceries is not actually in my job description… I help out because I like to help and I think it’s a nice thing to do. However, sometimes it’s simply too busy for me to bag all of your groceries for you, so if you choose to buy bags, I’ll place them on the counter in hopes that you’ll begin while I process your order. Think of it like a team effort! WOO! Sadly, not everyone catches on and instead these people choose to stare blankly at me while their groceries sit on the counter with people lined up behind them waiting. I’ll let you in on a little secret–that actually means it will take longer for you to get out of the store, which means that hollering “HEY GIRL” across the store at me to get me to try and come to the cash faster was absolutely pointless. Just so you know. :)
So, my dear valued customers, the moral of this story is that if you could just use your heads and exercise a little patience, your shopping trip could be a pleasant experience for everyone involved, including me.