I once started a thread on a discussion forum in which I began listing the things that customers do at the tills that make my blood froth. Before long, other retail slaves joined in and the thread ending up with over 500 replies. When I set out to write this blog entry, I intended to find that thread and handpick the best points from it, but I can't find it for love nor money. However, the fact that a 500-post discussion was held on the subject shows the sheer amount of material there is.
So this topic is likely to be one that I'll keep coming back to. For the next few weeks I'll probably be sitting in the training room racking my brains for more points to raise. But let's kick it off by discussing the customer do's and don'ts (I have no idea how to punctuate that correctly) that are formed in my mind right now.
Do not ignore me because you're too busy holding a conversation on your mobile phone. It's downright bad manners and, whether you realise it or not, it slows things down. The number of times I've stood there like a parrot "Two-thirty-nine please. Excuse me, two thirty-nine-please. I said two-thirty-nine please!" I will not stand there politely waiting for you to finish attending to your private business!
Do not wave leaky sugar in my face to demonstrate that the bag is bust. I believe you, and I will get it replaced. I don't want to be there until midnight trying to get sugar grains out of the till equipment.
Do not steal heavy duty, 10p carrier bags from the checkout in front. I will notice, and I will type in the PLU to charge you for it.
Do not moan that you have been given a handful of pound coins rather than a five pound note. Cashiers can only gather fivers when customers give them, and frankly if you pay for a 40p newspaper with a £20 note, you deserve to be punished with a handful of heavy change.
Do not wave credit cards in my face before I've asked for payment. I will finish scanning your shopping and then request that you pay. You have no right to invade my body space. Make yourself useful and pack.
Do not pretend not to see TILL CLOSED signs. I will fit them with neon flashing lights if necessary. We aren't robots. We do need to go for breaks and we do have homes to go to. If you're in such a hurry, do whatever pressing business you have before coming shopping.
Do pack whilst I'm processing your credit card. What is the point in standing there watching me put it through when you still have about 4 bags worth of shopping to put away? Stop wasting everybody else's time! Equally annoying, don't refuse help to pack and then insist of standing there for five minutes bagging your purchases before offering payment.
Do watch where you place items on the conveyor belt. Leaving a huge sack of potatoes dangling over the 'Next Customer Please' bars will push them down the groove and they'll all fall onto the floor. And it isn't going to be you crawling around retrieving them is it? And as for bottles. Use your brain. Stand them up and they'll fall down. Lie them horizontally and when the belt stops they're going to keep on rolling aren't they?
Do look after your God damned children. If you know they're liable to carry on in shops, get a babysitter and don't bring them out in public! You're only going to blame me when your child topples the trolley you're letting them climb all over.
Do not waste time pratting about. You've had the whole time you were queuing to prepare for your forthcoming interaction with the cashier so there's no excuse for dothering. When you've been served, don't hold the queue up by standing there sorting your purse/wallet/bag out.
Do not assume yourself to be intellectually superior to the cashier. When I'm putting your fruit and veg through, I'm looking on the wheel the find the code - not to find out what the item is. Droning: "haven't you ever seen a passion fruit before?" doesn't make me look stupid and it doesn't make you look clever.
That will have to do for now. No doubt more will come along soon.