There are three types of people who hang out at the supermarkets. There is the obnoxious, rude, whining, angry, demanding shopper, next there is the happy shopper, and finally there are the cashiers…those underpaid public servants who stand behind a counter all day and demand that you give them money.
And I know this because? I’ve been there, done that and have the nervous breakdown to prove it.
Anytime you want to be right in whatever you do or say, do it or say it to a cashier. I learned this in “How To Be A Cashier and Live To Tell About It” school. Lesson number one was: the customer is always right. Well, actually the store manager told me this when I began working at one of our local supermarkets. I think it was one of the ten commandments in the cashier hand book.
This is a good rule of thumb…or tongue. No matter what a customer says, be polite and keep smiling. Sooner or later, they will take their purchase and leave. In the months I was employed there I developed permanent creases in my face from smiling. To this day I can be grinning like a possum and yet be angry enough to slap the polka dots off a clown’s suit.
Some times I would come home from work and look back over my day and realize that I had apologized for everything from the Civil War to the crack in the Liberty Bell. My face would be sore and my teeth would be on edge from the effort it took to hold my tongue and not offer them cheese and bread to go with their whine.
Nine shoppers in ten will be nice and polite to the store employees then along comes number ten and if you happen to say “How are you today?” they will tell you. They will go off on a tangent about how they had to wait in line for five whole minutes while the customer in front of them paid for their purchase with a check. Well kiss my assets. We don’t all carry cash. They will whine about how the merchandise is not arranged correctly in the store, how the store is out of the XYZ brand of their favorite product, and how they are almost of a mind to go elsewhere to shop.
You stand there smiling and apologizing and thinking to yourself how much you wish they would go elsewhere to shop.
It wasn’t until later that I realized these people were showing the major signs of TAB. (Not to be confused with the ancient diet soft drink called Tab.) TAB stands for Type A Behavior. Six of the major symptoms are:
1. Impatience and hostility.
2. Beads of sweat on the forehead
3. Clenched teeth
4. Eyelids twitching
5. Dark circles under the eyes
6. Twitching of the corners of the mouth.
Did I just describe my high school math teacher?
Type A personalities are people who take everything seriously, they don’t laugh often and they are always nervous and stressed out. These are the type people who are prone to heart attacks and strokes.
I began to wonder about the people with this disposition. What caused them to be so negative and bitter? I don’t think people are born this way. Most babies, if they are dry and fed and loved are happy babies. I wondered what kind of life they led that made them so miserable.
And then one day a strange thing happened. I started to listen to the things they weren’t saying… really listen, and try to understand why these people seemed to be angry. It wasn’t about the store, the service or me…it was about them and their personal problems. After talking to them for a minute or so and showing genuine concern, I would usually learn that they had a sick family member, or they had been up all night working, or they had lost their job or some other tragedy had occurred in their life.
Of course this didn’t make me feel any better. I quit my cashier job after a few months. I was beginning to show signs of TAB.
So, in honor of our brave men and women who lay down their sanity for this great nation of shoppers, I would like to designate this as “Be Kind To Cashiers Week”.
And if you have a spouse who works as a cashier, be nice to them when they come home. Chances are that even though they may be smiling, they’ve had a bad day…