5 Things Not to Do to Your Cashier

We’re all consumers here in America—we grab coffee in the morning, get lunch during our breaks, and get milk on our way home. We’re constantly dealing with cashiers and retail workers. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays coming up, when we all seem to devolve into gift-hungry zombies with no regard for other humans, here are a few tips to keep you polite and respectful as you make your way through the stores:

1.) Don’t Hit On Your Cashier

Now, I’m not saying that cash register hooks up are impossible, but just give me a moment to tell you why this is good advice. Cashiers stand in one spot for several hours; they are tired, hungry, and want to curl up in blankets and watch Netflix with a cheeseburger and a beer. You are not the first customer to hit on them, and you won’t be the last. They may be engaged, married, or in a relationship. When you monopolize their time by asking for a phone number, staying for several minutes (or even hours in my experience), you are preventing them from doing their job. They have to be nice to you; that is their job. When you hit on a cashier, you are putting them in the awkward position of having to turn you down with a smile. Don’t do that.

2.) Don’t Pull Money From Your Sock or Bra

If you’re one of the people who shoves cash in your bra and socks and underwear, that’s fine. No one is judging you (much). But pull it out of those secret crevices before you come into the store. There is nothing more awkward than having to accept money that is soaked with sweat, because—again—we as cashiers can’t make any outwards signs that we are uncomfortable. We have to smile, politely accept the money, and try not to disinfect our hands until you are gone. Just be courteous: don’t let us see, or store money in a wallet or purse like a normal human.

3.) Don’t Dump Money on the Counter

You see a lot of images online of people criticizing cashiers for putting your change on the counter when your hand is right there, and that’s fair. They shouldn’t do that. However, on your end, you also shouldn’t pull a wad of money from your purse/wallet/pocket and throw it on the counter. Count your money before handing it to us. Sure, we have to count it again, but it’s a little embarrassing to have to remind you that we need 20 dollars more than you gave us. Here’s a hint: it also makes us think you can’t count and slows down the fairly simple transaction process. So just count it out and hand it to us as if, you know, we were people or something.

4.) Don’t Wander Off

I can’t tell you how obnoxious it is to begin a transaction with a customer and look up to find him or her gone entirely. Then I have to peer about the store to try and find you, and you may be still engaged with me in some way. You may just have wandered over to the wall to poke and prod something and then ask how much it is, but you’re extending a transaction beyond what it needs to be. Find what you want first and then come to the cash register. There are people behind you; it is a great inconvenience to me and the other customers in the store if you meander about aimlessly while I’m trying to finish your purchase. Also, if you wander too far, I have to cancel your transaction to help other people who can stand in line like adults. Just stand in place until the transaction is over. Please.

5.) Don’t Talk on Your Phone

Let me level with you: I have to ask you questions. You know it. I know it. There are questions my manager makes me ask you even if I don’t want to. Do you want to sign up for our card? Did you take a look at our half-price bin? Would you like to put this in layaway? Are you interested in a credit card? I know you hate the questions, because I hate asking them. But if I don’t, I get fired. So when you’re chatting away loudly on your phone, I have to sit there and wait until you’re done. I have to talk over you and your friend. I have to repeat myself, because you didn’t hear me. The transaction, which could be over in a few minutes, is suddenly this awkward, drawn-out process, and we’re both frustrated. Just put the phone down for two seconds. Or rather, finish your conversation before you check out. Problem solved.

Now, with these easy tips, you’ll be a polite and respectful human being in no time! In all seriousness, though, these are all a matter of kindness and consideration for the person who is working long hours so you can buy your kids the best Christmas gifts. They’re tired, and you’re not the first person in the day to scream at them. You’re not the first person to wander away in the middle of a transaction or to spend the entire purchase on your phone. After about seven hours, it gets old, and patience wears thin. So just approach your interactions with cashiers with an understanding and respect you would expect people to pay towards you.

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