We in the retail and other customer service predominate companies appreciate you. There is something very satisfying about helping someone have a better day than they were having before they met you. But, as everyone knows, there are the good customers and the bad customers. Good customers make our jobs worthwhile, and bad customers make us want to quit on the spot and seriously injure ourselves. Unfortunately for us, we're not allowed to tell you which one you are. Because of that, I've taken the time to list eleven basic guidelines that, in my opinion, everyone coming in contact with a customer service associate — specifically cashiers — should follow.
1. Smile when we say hello.
You might be amazed how many people don't extend this simple courtesy. I know you've had a long day and the kids won't stop screaming or the boss is cracking down on you and they called you in on your day off and it's boiling hot outside...but another human being said hello to you. Please smile back to let us know you heard. It's just polite.
2. Make eye-to-eye contact.
This gesture makes most people uncomfortable, but it's only for a brief moment. Chances are your cashier is doing something involving being a cashier and not looking at you the whole time. Making eye contact is only necessary during the greeting and departing pleasantries because these are the crucial times when two people acknowledge each other's existence. And let's not forget that people with name tags and/or in uniform have feelings, too.
3. Get organized.
Everyone misplaces something every now and then. But when you're pulling out all your different cards to find the one you actually need but it's not where it's "supposed" to be, so you shuffle around in your pool of receipts and coupon clippings until five minutes have passed by and you've grown a tail of angry customers about to let it out on me...it's time to get organized.
4. Don't make that joke where the item is free because it doesn't ring up!
Some classics do get old. Just don't, please.
(If you want to know a little secret: if you make this joke, your cashier is ten times more likely to make the checking out process more painful for you.)
5. Do not get mad if we currently do not have what you're looking for.
Getting mad will not make me produce something out of thin air. It is in our best interest to order more of what people are buying. Calm down and we'll have more soon. Most importantly, I'd appreciate it if you didn't take your frustration out on the messenger.
6. Don't hand over money that you just pulled out of your bosom, or is in any way wet.
It's really gross. If you don't have pockets, you can put it in your phone case. And as for laborers who are sweating and carry cash in their pockets, please just get a cheapo wallet from Wallie World for the sake of those taking your money.
7. "I'm good. How are you?" doesn't answer the question, "Did you find everything OK?"
Here's one for the kids: listen before you speak. It sounds simple, but it truly is discouraging when we ask you a question and you answer something completely different. If you didn't hear, there are polite ways to ask us to speak up so that you can answer properly. Otherwise, it sounds like you're talking to a little voice inside your head.
8. Do not call the female cashier anything but ma'am or the name on their name tag.
Please, PLEASE no more "sweetheart"s, "sweetie"s, or "darling"s. I live in the south, so I understand how it might be habit to call any female something cute, but please stop. My name tag is attached to me for a reason. If you didn't happen to see it, a polite "ma'am" will do.
9. When we give you the receipt, please ONLY grab the receipt.
It's extremely weird and uncomfortable when you grab our fingers when taking the receipt. My hand was there...I'm holding one side and handing it to you so that you can very easily take it by the other side. At the very least, rest your hand below mine so I can drop whatever I'm holding into yours. Please don't engulf my hand while taking whatever I'm handing you, whether it be receipt, change, or a pack of gum. It's really awkward.
10. Please don't get mad at us because you have too many purchases.
I'm sorry you have heavy items, and I'm sorry your trunk is already full, and I'm sorry you only had an hour to shop and you took 65 minutes and would now like me to ring up your 200 items in 30 seconds or less. I will go quickly, but I can't go that quickly. Please don't vent your frustration out on us.
11. And finally, please remember that we've experienced all kinds of days, too.
I may have had a crappy day before you walked into my line. Nevertheless, I'm going to give you the brightest smile I can manage and be as polite to you as I possibly can because it's my job, but also because I want to help you not have the kind of day I've had. The customers who are always my favorites are the ones who don't assume I'm nice to them because they deserve it, but because we're all just people trying to get through our days and a little kindness goes a long way.
Most importantly, I hope you have a good day.