Working as a cashier can be difficult, tiring work because cashiers have to endure repetitive motions, and mental fatigue - sometimes things just aren't as straightforward as they should be, so when those kind of customers come in, it makes their job even harder.
Everyone knows what those kind of customers are. If you're like most people, you've worked in the service sector at some point in your life - or you currently work as a cashier. It's not for the faint-hearted. Cashiers really have to be people persons; otherwise, it's just that much more difficult.
Here are 16 things customers do that annoy cashiers. Make sure you're not guilty!
1. Disrespectful and rude customers
This grievance isn't singular to cashiers. Many in the service industry experience customers feeling that because they're in the service industry their role is likened to that of a servant. Cashiers are there to help customers pay for items - if that person doesn't like the self-checkout option - they aren't there to be demeaned or spoken to rudely. Plus, most customers don't want to be responsible for making someone's bad day worse. Who knows? The cashier may just have had to clean the toilets or deal with puke on the aisle.
2. Checking out more than 10 items in the "Fewer than 10 items" lane
Okay, so most of these checkout lanes say "Less than 10," which is grammatically incorrect - another pet peeve, perhaps? But customers who try and sneak in an extra item or two defeat the object of these lanes. There are some customers who want to get in and out of the store quickly - maybe they're rushing in their lunch hour (or half hour) - and that annoying customer's 15th item in the 10 item lane slows them down, especially if several customers in a row decide to receive this special treatment.
3. Incorrect change
The transaction has gone through and then the customer says, "Oh, no! I have exact change here. Can I have my note back and you give me..." Sorry! The transaction is final. Unless the customer wants the cashier to return everything and start again? The customer says they do? Oh... Then that person might just have to step over to customer service...
The flip side of incorrect change is the cashier who pauses to wait for each customer to sift through their change - expectantly - and then the customer gives up and hands a larger note over anyway with a shrug of the shoulders. These may seem like small matters, but when there are five more customers in the queue, time saving measures are essential.
One cashier notes, "I always hate it when a customer gives you a note so you type it in to the till and it tells you how much change to give back, and then they say 'oh wait I've got change' and then you are like, 'What? I can't work out the change now!'" Not everyone is so great at calculating change mentally. That's what the computers are for, so customers who spring up with change only serve to confuse many cashiers.
4. Return retribution
Alright, so maybe "retribution" comes off a little strong, but most stores have a "no receipt, no return" policy, and if the customers doesn't have the receipt, the cashier cannot process the return in the system. Often the barcodes have to be scanned, and the computer system has to show proof of purchase from that store (or chain of stores) to issue a refund. It's even worse when a customer gets upset and the cashier has to get their manager and the manager either tells the customer the same thing, or - in the worst case for the cashier - issues them a return on a gift card and the customer looks smug.
5. Checkout storage unit
Cashiers don't like the kind of customer who doesn't decide what they want until they get to the checkout? The customer might remark, "Oh, wait! I forgot the bananas, can I just go and get some?" The cashier can't exactly say no, but it doesn't brighten his or her day. The checkout isn't designed as a storage space to place stuff until a customer is ready for the cashier to scan items. Others are waiting!
6. Are you open?
A big annoyance: the customer who asks if the cash register is open when the register light is off. Nope. They're probably not open, and they're most likely trying to go home for the day. For the cashier to check this type of customer out, they'd have to reboot their computer system, type in their login information, and then probably check out additional customers because they'll then also not realise that this cashier's shift is over. And, in the event cashiers do open their registers again, they often report that the customers don't even thank them because generally non-demanding customers go elsewhere (i.e. another cashier). Another consideration the customer might not take into account is that the cashier may even get in trouble for working over their designated time - and not clocking out at the end of their shift - or they may not even get paid for the extra half an hour because it wasn't authorised by a manager.
7. Paying with a cheque
How many people have used cheques since the 80s? C'mon, customers. When a cashier rings up a customer's 50 items, and they stand there without filling the cheque in during that time, and now the cashier will have to wait along with the 12 other people in line whilst that customer asks the cashier what the name of the store is, the amount, the address, and every other details. Cashiers hate when customers use cheques. Often their computer systems have a more complicated way of dealing with cheques that doesn't work every time so it's a bad time for all around.
8. Complain about the cost of a plastic bag
The cashiers don't set the prices. The bag was priced accordingly in an effort to save the environment! And really customers are going to pay and use the same amount of bags if they are the kind of person who often forgets their reusable bag anyway! Yes, it's annoying to have to pay, but that's just how it is! Cashiers could complain about their back pain, but they won't!
Coupons...what can a cashier say? Expired coupons. Sorry, customers can't use them! Forgotten coupons...until the very end of the checkout when the cashier has already completed the transaction, and, in order to use that coupon, they'd have to cancel everything and refund the purchase and start again. Does saving that one pound matter to that customer that much? Also, if the customer places their coupons on the belt, their coupons are often no longer be accessible (and sometimes they even get dragged under the conveyor, forever lost). Coupons can be excellent, and there are those extreme couponers out there who pay for half their trolley items with coupons, but they aren't a cashier's friend. Also, customers should remember not to hand their cashier a coupon for an item they didn't even buy!
10. Coming in the store 5 minutes before close...for a full shop
Cashiers would like for all customers to remember the hours of operation (or at least look at the sign on the door), and not to be alarmed if they are upset that customers are checking out after closing time. Cashiers get that customers wanted to come in for milk because they needed a cuppa on Sunday morning, but why did that customer buy a week's worth of shopping in the process?
11. Screaming children
Cashiers know parents cannot entirely control when their children are crying. They have sympathy for those parents who simply have upset children, but not the ones with children who are less than well behaved - i.e. the kind of children who throw things in the store or knock down displays. Customers might not be able to calm a baby's sobs, but they might be able to control the whole tantrum because the kid isn't allowed that Kinder egg, though. Or the children who run rampant through a clothing store and ruin all of that nice folding that took the cashier all morning - and now they have to do it all again. Gee! Thanks!
12. Talking on the phone
Being a cashier is a sort of service role, sure, but it's just bad manners for customers to talk on the phone the whole time the cashier is scanning their items. What if the cashier has to tell the customer the total or ask them a question? Do they have to wait until the customer has finished talking? Would that customer like the reverse? What if the cashier was on the phone, and the customer needed to ask them a question? Customers should try and make everyone happier by ending their phone calls before checkout, or simply waiting until they have exited the store.
13. Packing shopping slowly
When customers take their time packing items at a grocery store and loads of people are waiting for them to leave, it can irritate the cashier. If a customer wants to pack slowly, load everything into the trolley and step to the side! Of course, cashiers have sympathy for the elderly, and those who generally can't help it, but everyone else not so much.
14. Missing table numbers or details
Many food service cashiers hate when customers come to order food - for themselves or the table - and they don't know all of their order. A former restaurant cashier remarked, "I used to work at a restaurant where customers had to order their meals at the tills, and I was most annoyed with customers not knowing their table number, or details of the food order (like chips or mash with their meal or how they wanted their steaks cooked etc.). It really got annoying." Make sure all customers know what they want when they go to order, especially in a busy restaurant.
15. Ordering items one by one at the bar
For cashiers who work at a bar, cashiers can get annoyed if a customer orders and pays for drinks one by one. Why didn't that customer just do it all in one transaction? A former bartending cashier recalls an interaction: "One pint of Carling" - that's £2.90 please - "and a Guinness" - that's £6.20 "and a white wine..." With that customer handing the cash over for each and every transaction, one can image how tedious this type of customer can get.
16. Not saying please and thank you
Basic manners go a long way in any profession, especially for cashiers. When a customer thanks their cashier or wishes them a nice day it goes a long way. Cashiers either have really busy times, or they will have to entertain their minds between the lulls, so someone being nice can really help make that day a whole lot nicer.
Customers can be really annoying, and cashiering is probably best left to those who are truly social. There's many a cashier noted that the job seemed to highlight the worst in people. It's a shame really! Everyone has to face a cashier at some point - often with regularity. Customers, try and be a little nicer to your cashiers. Thank a cashier today for their job well done. You might just brighten their day, and do not - under any circumstances - do any of the above.
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