A Special Black Friday Post

Allow me to digress for a few moments and on this Black Friday here in the States share some words to think about as you head out into the crazy crowds.

As I’ve hinted here and there it’s been a year of change for me.  Part of that change involved losing the only job I’ve had as a “real” adult.  It was not a job I loved or even liked so it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.  I was lucky and found something else to do right away but was still in a bit of panic about the financial end of things.  (Side note – I’m pretty sure in a past life I lived through the Great Depression which explains my never-ending financial panic).  I decided it was a good idea to get a second job as a cashier.  It’s what I did all through high school and college and I’ve always loved grocery stores.  I lasted about two months and Sunday was my last day but the two months reminded me of so much.

I want to share a few tips that you can keep in mind next time you are at the grocery store, or any other store.

  1. Your cashier is a person too – treat him/her that way.  You would be amazed by the varied backgrounds the people I worked with had.  Heck, your cashier might even be a burnt out attorney, you never know!  Either way, he/she is not below you in any way, shape or manner.  In fact he/she is probably putting a harder day’s work in then you would ever imagine.  I got a full body work out every night I went into work.
  2. 12 items or less means 12 items or less.  Don’t try to pretend you didn’t know or could not count. (Best explanation I got for this – “maybe she was using common core math”) If you’re close, go to a regular line.  You’re not only putting the cashier in an awkward position you are being rude to your fellow customers.
  3. When you use the baskets – empty them!  Do you think they empty themselves???  They don’t and most cashiers cannot put them in front of them because that is where the scanner is which forces them to lean and stretch and you often have heavy things in the bottom which only increases the chances of a work related injury.
  4. Don’t throw money at cashiers!  There’s nothing worse than something throwing a crumpled wad of bills on the belt and then staring at you as you try to sort how much is there. And, on the “don’t throw” list I would add your items on the belt.  If you’re throwing them from the cart onto the belt I’m not too worried about how I handle them on my end…
  5. Remember the cashier is the messenger in most situations.  When you’re item does not ring up correctly it’s not because the cashier was personally trying to overcharge you.  Screaming at him/her will not help the situation.
  6. Try to remember some basic manners.  Coming through the line munching away on the food you are buying is a bit rude.  If you’re kid needs a snack halfway through the store I get it but you’re an adult, I think you can wait until you’re through the line.  Likewise, handing me the empty container of food to be thrown away it kind of awful as well.
  7. Want to really drive your cashier crazy??  When an item doesn’t scan ask him/her if it’s free.  Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I heard this in the past two months I could’ve quit a lot sooner.  It’s not funny and we hear it all the time.  And, if it’s not scanning we’re probably a little stressed anyway so you’re joke is not helping.
  8. And last, but definitely not least, PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!!!  I loved that one of my friends who is not a cashier did a post on this recently.  Talking on the phone while you are trying to check out is rude and it often holds up the line because you are paying no attention to what is going on in front of you.  Likewise, texting, updating Facebook or whatever you are doing can wait until you are done paying.  True story – a woman came through my line one night and was discussing whether or not someone was going to stay on a ventilator.  Probably not the right time/place to be having that discussion.

So, as you do your holiday shopping keep in mind that cashiers are people too and during the holiday season they are probably way overworked and way underpaid so use your manners and be nice!

Here are a few other alternatives to the craziness that is Black Friday. Remember that Saturday is Small Business Saturday – visit your favorite local stores (I’m sure we all “need” something at our LYS) Or check out a local holiday market and support local crafters.  In Cleveland, check out the Cleveland Bazaar events here!



And, don’t forget that next Tuesday is #GivingTuesday.  There are plenty of charities that could use the extra few dollars at the end of the year. Gifts to charities also make great gifts – gifts that always fit and never go out of style 🙂