Archive for the ‘checkouts’ Tag

07-24-2013   3 comments

Yesterday I was out and about running errands and enjoying the sunshine and cooler weather.  It was a perfect day to people watch and I dedicated a large portion of my time to doing just that.

It always amazes me just how much interaction with others occurs while waiting in line at register checkouts. For  me these checkouts seems to have taken the place of those good old water cooler conversations of the past.  Being in line forces us to allow others into our private zone where conversation and observation are almost unavoidable.  Normally this circumstance is a pain in the butt but yesterday it was a little different.

The store was jammed with people.  Tourists as always were underfoot and it seemed like every household in the state  had family members grocery shopping.  Kids were running around, people chatting in the aisles, and a general air of enjoyment which I thought was a little unusual.  As I stood in the checkout line the women directly in front of me was placing her purchases on the counter while her daughter (2 or 3 years old) sat quietly in the shopping cart.  She was sitting there in her cute little dress and she was people watching as well.  Young babies are notorious for flirting and this little girl was no different.   She was looking around and smilingly at everyone while she waited patiently for her Mom to checkout.

For some reason she turned quickly around and began to stare at me.  I looked back and smiled but she just continued staring.  She seemed fascinated by my mustache and started feeling her own upper lip with her finger. All of a sudden she began to laugh.  You know that kind of infectious laugh that seems to move from person to person in a group and eventually everyone is howling.  This tiny little girl couldn’t stop laughing.  I know I can be funny looking but she just laughed loud and long and before I realized it everyone in our line and the adjoining lines were laughing as well. The more we laughed the more she laughed and I have to say it was one of the more pleasant moments I’ve experienced in many months.  More than a few of us in the general vicinity were laughing so hard we were crying.  As her mother pushed their cart away that little sweetheart was waving and laughing all the way out the door.  Everyone was waving back and smiling and as she disappeared from sight we began talking together about how cute she was.

It was like the earth stood still for just a moment and all our defenses had evaporated.  We came together as a group and shared a special moment. I’m sure that many of the people standing near that child will remember that  experience for a very long time, I know I will.

At what age do we lose that child-like wonder that made that little lady so damn innocent and real.  An emotional genuineness we could all use a great deal more of.  A person could change the world forever if he or she could find a way to bottle and sell that.  I hope that little girl holds onto that honesty and sincerity for many years to come but  I suspect that won’t be the case. After she’s been exposed to the realities of life for a few years she’s sure to becomes more jaded and politically correct and I feel bad for her already.

For a moment she was a bright light that created a special moment in time that our select group of people was lucky enough to witness and be a part of. Every time I think I about it I can’t help but smile again.

04-20-2013   Leave a comment

Everyday seems like an adventure to me and not always in a good way. I constantly people watch like everyone else but most things that make me the craziest occur in retail stores, specifically at the checkouts.  I worked for retail companies for almost twenty years and hated every minute of it. Companies are always preaching "Good Customer Service" but it never seems to happen.  The reason is simple.  You need good people as customers to start with.  Here’s a partial list of recent things that make me want to scream and run from the building.

  • Store Checkout Lines – Just once I’d love to get into a checkout line and be rung out immediately and leave smiling and happy.  I’ve been waiting for that for decades but it never seems to occur.   It’s always the wrong lane for me.  I could have one guy in front of me with six items and as soon as I line up behind him the cashier has to page for a price check or has to send an employee back into the store for a price because no one responded to the damn page. If it’s like this for everyone else then we have an even a bigger problem than I first thought.
  • Express Lanes – Don’t even get me started.  Fourteen items or twenty items, it doesn’t matter how many. I guarantee the person in front of me will have fifty freaking items.  If you say something then you’re the asshole.  If you don’t then you end up being pissed off all day and taking it out on someone else either in another store or at home.
  • Line Jumpers – The store opens a new register when your third in line at a busy one.  Before you can react, the people five places behind you in your line dash to the new register. I have a new term for you to mull over, "Store Rage".  It’s these little things that begin to accumulate over the months and result in bigger and more interesting arguments at the most inopportune times.
  • English Speaking Cashiers – I love diversity as much as the next guy but you can’t hire people who don’t know the language of the customers they’re taking care of.  Simple right?  I guess not. Part of the problem is that out of every five cashiers hired, four either fail the background check or the drug test.
  • Chatty Cashiers – I hate to say this but they’re normally a chubby women in her fifties who wants to be everyone’s best friend and confidant.  She spends more time yakking about stupid stuff than checking your purchases out. Please, shut the hell up, smile, and get me the hell out of the store.
  • Stupid Customers- Don’t show up at the registers with a bunch of products that are either missing bar codes or price tags.  Don’t ask the cashiers to do price checks for you while there are twenty people in line behind you. Could someone be any more  ignorant?  It happens all the time.
  • Coupon Freaks – I love nothing better than being behind a women with forty items in her cart and a stack of thirty coupons that must be checked individually.  The only thing worse is when the cashier discovers that more than half of the coupons are outdated or the customer is trying to scam her using incorrect products.  Do your freaking shopping at three in the morning for God’s sake where you take all the time you like sorting through your bag full of coupons and the women with Food Stamps behind you can just wait. She’s probably just buying booze and cigarettes anyway.

I could continue this rant for another thirty paragraphs but I hope you’re getting my point.  This posting was prompted by my last twenty visits to Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and a host of others.  I actually feel a lot better after venting like this but it’ll start building again as soon as I go shopping the next time.  I really don’ t anticipate any improvement so expect another posting just like this in September.  It’ll take that long to really piss me off again.

The straw that broke my back this time came to my attention from my better-half who still works for a major retailer.  She’s front-end manager who’s required to babysit a large group of girls (not women) in their late teens and early twenties who really don’t want to work.  They apparently live for drinking, partying, and screwing everyone they can get their hands on. The turnover is high as you’d expect but hiring really good employees is difficult when they pay slave wages.  They recently  hired a cashier who barely spoke English and who didn’t understand our monetary system.  And they wonder why their customers are outraged when a cashier can’t make the correct change even after the register tells her how much it is.

I won’t even start with my experiences with the bastards using cell phones and texting while I wait impatiently in line behind them.  Kill me I’m begging you. 

Thank God for Amazon, Ebay, and Internet shopping.

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