Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting to know your cashier

Bill and I have been having WILD luck with checkout cashiers lately.

He was excited to tell me that Kohl's now will give him some huge percentage off just for being 60 years old. He has never shopped at Kohl's but, was excited nevertheless. Yesterday he explained how his double coupons, Tops Bonus Card and buy one/get ones ("bogos") at Tops Market added up to AN INSANE amount of savings. And, the checkout guy gave him some extra type of doubling points on some pasta. The transaction he described was so complicated, I stopped listening. But, he was really wound up and went searching for the receipt for proof. He told me that if you make friends with the cashiers, they will often do you a good turn.

He's right. When I was shopping at Publix last weekend for my mum in Florida, the checkout lady and I exchanged some pleasantries and smiles. She stopped scanning my items at one point and said:

"Oops - you're buying the organic salad - I've got a $2.00 coupon you'll want". And, she waved her scanning wand over the coupon hiding behind her cash register. She winked at me while she did it.

I like to engage checkout people in conversation. Usually, I can gauge whether the person scanning my newly purchased items wants to be bothered trading bon mots with me. I don't press it if they are distracted or clearly cannot do two things at once. However, yesterday  I ran into a young woman who appreciated the value of small talk.

I didn't realize at first that she was "in training". Then,  I noticed her manager was leaning over the cash register as we commenced our (complicated) transaction. The "manager" couldn't have been more than 18 months older than the trainee. In fact, there was no indication that the trainee was a trainee, other than the lurking presence of this other employee.

Anyway, it was a complicated transaction because (1)  I was at DSW where the sheer number of shoes is overwhelming; (2)  I was returning some shoes; (3) I was using a gift card - thanks Jax; and (4) I also had a coupon. OH! and Emma was with me. She was the reason I was returning those shoes. She told me they were ugly and that she wouldn't be seen with me if I ever put them on my feet. I was explaining this as my reason for the return with the young trainee. I could tell right away that she was 'with it'. She got my jokes and knew that I was a bit of a kidder. Emma and I had a running dialogue about shoes and money and fashion while the trainee was examining the wear on the shoe (there wasn't any) and making sure they were both the same size (they were).

Every so often the trainee would interject a comment indicating that she was following our conversation. When she scanned the replacement shoes she told me they were "much cuter" and that I was not making a mistake.

When she did the final total, she started to complain that she couldn't see the amount of change she owed. (I was, for once, using CASH!). For a micro second, I sensed she was trying to do the calculation in her head.

So, I said in a joking manner:
"You don't need the computer to do the calculation since you're a math major."

She stopped in her tracks.
She looked up at me quizzically. "How did you know I was a math major".

I immediately formed a V with my index and middle finger pointed towards my eyes and then to hers. "I'm psychic, I KNOW you".

She completed the rest of  the transaction in silence.

As I gathered my bags, I leaned in and asked her:
"Are you really a math major?"  (I wasn't really sure. It WAS possible that she was goofing on ME!)
She nodded her head.  "How did you know?"
"I didn't. I just knew you were smart".

As she put my purchases in the bag she smiled and said:
"ENJOY YOUR CUTE NEW SHOES"  At the same time, her manager mumbled :
"Strangest transaction of the day"

Next time I go to DSW I will look for that trainee and line up in her line. Chances are, she'll be managing the place!


  1. At Home Depot they have "Self Checkout". I'll look at myself just long enough as it takes to shave. I would rather checkout a cashier than myself, any day.

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