I hate stupid people. Wait, I take that back. Hate is a strong word. I really really really don’t like you, if you’re a stupid person. There are a lot of stupid people out there. I, myself, and at times a stupid person.
What is a stupid person, may you ask? A stupid person is someone who goes to a retail outlet of any sort, and does not act according to “The Rules of Retail”. There are generally two kinds of stupid people. There are Moronadons, and there are Dipshitians. Moronadons are dumb on a regular basis. They can’t really help it, because they have a brain capacity roughly the size of a dinosaur, or walnut-size. They’re dumb, there’s no helping it, Amen. Dipshitians, on the other hand, are generally intelligent individuals who, through either choice or low blood sugar, are complete morons or jerks. Dipshitians’ mistakes usually outweigh the Mornadons’, but the Moronadons are stupid on a more regular basis. Clear as mud? Good, let’s move on.
Thankfully, I won’t be working a retail job too much longer, but I will shortly be in the employ of a local cable conglomerate, working Technical Support. I might comment on that later, might not. Until the time comes when I can (hopefully smoothly) transition from one employer to another, I have to deal with various levels of stupidity.
Getting back to “The Rules of Retail”. To clarify the two major types of stupidity, let me expound. I will go through some keypoints: Inital approach, greeting, passage of items, the questions, payment, closure, and other. I will tell you that a Dipshitian will generally only expand one of these 7 points beyond the norm, while a Moronadon will generally brush on all of the keypoints. Ready? Here we go.
1. Initial Approach. Situation: I’ve just helped the previous person in line, and am awaiting the approach of said stupid person. The stupid person in question either a) is yaking on their cellphone (and if this is the case, chances are great that the stupid person will yak on the cellphone throughout the entire transaction, with little regard to your existence as a fellow human being), b) is trying to find the perfect candy bar or magazine, or c) is completely spacing out. That last one, “C”, happens more often than you might think, and might actually not be entirely the stupid person’s fault, but the way our cash registers are set-up at the National Office Supply Store Chain that I work at, a depot for such individuals if you will. For the benefit of the stupid peoples’ (and Mr. Kite), there is an awful lot of visual noise in and around the front-end cash registers.
Moving on. Point #2: The Greeting. Here’s how it’s supposed to work. I say, “Hi, how are you doing today?”, with my pasted-on grin and false, one-octave-higher-than-normal speaking voice. You’re ‘supposed’ to say, “Fine, how are you doing today?”, and back and forth for about 10 seconds or so. You are not supposed to say, “Not great”, unless there was something specific that I could have found for you. If that ‘is’ the case, well, I’ve already started to ring up some of your things, and you’re being a Dipshitian for even starting this procedure. I’ll get to that in a moment. Other things you’re not supposed to do: 1) Give me a dirty look. 2) Give me any other kind of inane remark, 3) Try to be clever. Just give me the other part of the transaction, the “Fine, how are you?”, or at least a “Pretty good.”, so we can simply move on. Anything more? I don’t care. I don’t want a life story of everything from your conception to this point in time. I don’t care what the weather is like outside, because I can clearly see what’s going on through the huge glass doors 20 feet from where I’m standing. Just give me a nice, pleasant, and most important, SHORT response, so you can be on your way, and out of my face.
And now, point #3: The Passage of Items. If your stuff is in a basket, empty the basket while I’m wrapping things up with the previous customer, and get that stupid basket out of my face. The company that I work for did not put a lot of thought into the overall feng-shui of the counters, disregarding things like usable space and ergonomics in favor of “cramming as much shit as possible in front of the customers’ eyes, so they buy more cute little pens, post-it notes, and stress balls than any human being needs in their lifetime”. The baskets take up a lot of space on the counter. They’re time consuming, because I have to reach down into the basket every time I need to pull out an item of purchase. Save me some time and pull your junk out. (Feel free to make fun of that sentence, by the way.)
Now, if you have a cart, then pull your cart up, and start unloading the stuff onto the counter. Don’t wait for me to get 100% done with the previous transaction. If the previous customer actually minds that you’re trying to make everybody’s life easier, then screw ’em. Mind their proximity, but let’s get this show on the road.
Now, if I’m ringing things up, sometimes it might appear that I’m not “doing my part” in this whole speedy process, because it might take me some time to open a sack. The plastic sacks that the company has chosen to go with this past year are not the most forgiving sacks in the world. They are extremely flimsy, and they’re notoriously difficult to open. I have to do that weird hand-warming motion Miyagi used to heal Daniel-san in the Karate Kid movies, just to get them to open. Even then, sometimes it’s damn-near impossible. This is NOT your chance to shove as much junk onto the counter as possible. Hold your horses. Wait just a moment, and I’ll get the items I’ve just scanned out of the way in order to get you out the door. Besides, you run the chance of mixing up the items I’ve already scanned with the ones you’re trying to shove across the counter, and that severely pisses me off. Use some common sense.
Also, don’t sack the items for me. It’s my job, and you make me feel impotent when you do it. Now, I know what you’re saying, “Wouldn’t it be faster if they helped you out?”. In this point alone, speedier is NOT better. I don’t care if it speeds up the process. It brings me out of my mindless reverie of “cashier-mode” for a moment, and makes me more conscious of my mundane and sad surroundings. Let me be a robot, it’s what I’m paid to do.
When the items are finally sacked, and if there are more than 4 sacks, how about you start loading them into your cart? There’s no where else for me to put the sacks unless you count a) the dusty floor that never seems to come clean, b) the other cash register counter (which hopefully is open), or c) around the counter and into your cart for you, thus slowing down the process to the average speed of molasses.
Again, moving on. Point #4 kind of overlaps some of the other points, but this seemed like a semi-logical spot to place it. Here come The Questions. Now, the questions have grown more and more numerous every month I’ve worked for this Office place. It started out with, “Do you have a Rewards card?”. If the answer was no, the next question was, “Would you like to sign up for one today? It’s free, it’s a points card, not a credit card.” or something like that, to-be-abbreviated based on the relative mood of the customer.
Sometime about 3-4 months back, another question popped up. “Would you like [a cute mini-pen or other worthless crap from the register-area]?” This was meant to drum up sales of that worthless crap around the registers, making a few more bucks to the high-management of the company, especially the clever fellow who thought of the idea in the first place, but generally making the cashier-peon’s jobs that much more of a pain.
Then, another question. This one is killer-diller, because if I forget to ask it, I get written up. This one goes, “Would you like any printer-ink today?”. If I forget this one, you have the opportunity to throw it in my face, make me feel worthless, and walk home with a free ream of computer paper. I’m going to go into this more in a moment.
Recently, because the Office store wants to put another location somewhere in town (or more likely, in Council Bluffs, our redneck sister-city across the river in Iowa), we’ve started to ask two more questions: 1) “Is this for Business, Personal, or Home Business use?”, and 2) “Can I have your Zip Code, please?”
Yes, that’s a lot of questions. No, I don’t like this process any more than you do. It’s not my fault. I have to ask ’em, and if you want to shop here, you have to hear ’em. If you want your items, that is. You don’t *have* to shop here. I’m sure some other office-supply store will treat you roughly the same way, to the max dude.
What you’re NOT supposed to do is mock me. I’m already a peon, underpaid, working retail. Retail sucks. It’s where you end up, not really where you strive to be. Anyone who works retail for a long period of time either can’t hack it anywhere else, or better promote to management, because any other option is a little sad.
I realize the questions are excessive. I’m going to cruise through them as quickly and painlessly as possible. And I realize, you being a Moronadon or Dipshitian, you might gain some pleasure out of making me feel lower by making fun of what I do for a living. I take it personally, retail-job or not. I’m a great cashier, and you need to be a great customer. So, don’t give me some dirty look, or smirk, or whatever else.
And when it comes to that ink question, I had to expand it to “printer-ink” because a whole lot of you Moronadons thought I might mean “pen-ink”, “stamp-pad ink” or some other kind of ink that I had no means of even imagining at this point. And really, I know you can get that free ream of paper, but is it worth your time to make me feel like an asshole just to walk home with a ream of paper? If you only knew how much I wanted bad things to happen to the 3 people who “got me”, how much I wish they would be in a horrible, but non-life-threatening wreck, or that they would lose their job, get audited by the IRS, stub their foot only to crash into a wall to break their nose, that someone would slash their tires, or that they would inexplicably go prematurely bald, especially the old bag of a lady who got me. Now, I don’t hate you. I don’t wish you were dead. I just wish very things upon you.
Before I digress even further than I already have, let’s move onto point #5, Payment. You will pay with a credit card. Or maybe a debit card. Nothing else. Mind you, I don’t need to run the card on my register. You have the really neat-o ability to slide the card, all by yourself, on the little pad that is almost right in front of your nose. Really cool.
Also, if you have a debit card, you will pay only in debit.
See, the Office company, in its infinite wisdom, removed the option to pay by credit from our credit-card pads, forcing you, the consumer, to pay via debit. It’s cheaper for the Office place to run cards via Debit, because it generally will charge you, the Consumer, and not it, the Company.
There are two ways around this. I can run the card on my register for you, choose “Credit”, which allows you to sign your name on that pad. The other option is nicer yet, but it has consequences. When the company removed the “Credit” button from the Debit screen, they removed the graphic, but not the actual button. It’s blank, but it still exists. When I’m in a hurry, I’ll just grab the stylus and tap that button. The side effect of this is…for some reason that doesn’t make any sense, if you do this too much, it will kill that touchpad for the remainder of the day. I don’t know why. That’s just really bad coding, if you ask me. But it’s the truth.
Now, as far as those other forms of payment. I don’t like cash, but I can deal with cash. Exact change…forget it. I don’t want to have you waste time counting out everything to the exact 1/10 of a cent just so that you can make your pockets an ounce lighter at the end of the day. Here’s what you do: Go to McDonald’s. Order a Large Soda. Drink it. Wash it. Dry it. Dump your change there at the end of the day. And the bonus of it is, after you fill that cup, take it to the bank and deposit it. Free money! It’s amazing, but it’s true.
Checks. *sigh* I hate checks. What an archaic, dinosaur of a form of currency. There’s a reason why the banks brought out Debit Cards. They pull the money out of your checking account. Hey, I don’t mind if you fill in your check register whilst paying via Debit Card. I understand. Just don’t make me run your check.
See, our machines allow for us to insert a check, read it through several swipes, taking about 30-60 seconds to read the MICR numbers from the bottom of the check, whereupon we re-insert the check, have it mark “Void” across the front, and finally, prompting me to tell you to sign your name, just like you would if you had used your Debit card in the first place.
That’s right. We don’t run checks the old fashioned way anymore. We run them electronically. I know all of you old grannies who have been writing checks for the last 50 years are just pissing in your Depend Undergarments over this, but get with it. It ain’t the 20th century anymore. Shit, we were supposed to be a “Paperless Society” sometime around the time that Where the Streets Have No Name was on top of the charts (or, since I am talking to you old-fogeys out there, it would be about the time that Liberace left the Earth’s embrace). So stop quaking in your Keds, go to your bank, and pick up a Debit Card. It’s easier than you think. And yes, you can still fill in your check register. It’s very simple. And it’s about 5 times faster, so you can go back to playing shuffleboard or whatever it is you do when you aren’t holding up my line.
And now, there’s point #6, Closure. Have a nice day. Move on. No more talking. I have other things I could be doing. Just go. Really. It’s been fun, we’ve had a great time. Don’t write, don’t call. Just go. Now.
I guess that’s all I have to say about that. Point #7, Other. This is the spot I’ve set aside for any other crap that you, the consumer, will choose to do.
This is bitching after the fact about things that you could have bitched about before. If you had issues beforehand, why didn’t you bring them up before we went through this whole rigamaroll? Again, along with the whole closure thing, I have other things to do.
This is choosing to go back and buy something else you had forgotten. I don’t want you in my line again. Repeaters just take up that much more time. If you forgot it, sorry, order it online or try again tomorrow when I’m not working. Just go away. I love you, buh-bye.
This is taking the time to repackage your checkbook, wallet, half-roll of Lifesavers, portable hole, and whatever other crap is located in that wormhole you call a purse. You should have been putting that stuff away when I was still ringing up your swag. If I was too fast for you, grab your stuff, move to your left, and let the next person start setting down their junk while you collect your thoughts. Then go.
Oh, and your shopping cart, or basket if you had one? Don’t be lazy. Put it away. I’m trying to help the next folks out here, and it’s hard to do with your freaking shopping appliance in the way. Don’t be a dolt, just put it back where you got it to begin with.
Well, I’ve been at Panera Bread typing this out for the last 2 hours, so I suppose it’s time for me to move on myself. It’s just starting to get busy here, and I would be inconsiderate if I stayed any longer, sucking up their electricity and using their free wireless. Heed my words though. I might have a fairly disgruntled tone, but I guarantee that 99% of the retail workers out there see where I’m coming from.
Thanks. Save the whales, collect them for valuable prizes, and all that.
“In the way”
“Using more than I’m entitled to”
“Respect for the military”