cashier confessions Archives - I Hate Working In Retail


You know you work at a Grocery Store and hate it when

This is kind of like a you know you work at a grocery store and hate it when. . . type thing.  Please add to the list in the comments section below…

The List of Pet Peeves:

1) I find you irratating when you’re on your phone and I’m trying to talk to you and ask you questions. You’re a rude person.
2) I hate when people spin our little code bar that stands above our keyboard. It is not slot machine sir, you will not win but I might punch you in the face.
3) I hate it when you can’t believe that I’m carding you even though you’re this __ old. I do not care, it’s a law and I’m not breaking it for you.
4) I hate it when you give me a hard time about a price being ten cents off what the sign said on the shelf. Does it look like that’s my job? No I am a cashier, my name badge says so.
5) I hate it when I start bagging an order and they all of a sudden want paper bags, or they brought there own bags. Putting them at the beginning of the order or asking would’ve been nice.
6) I hate it when I get yelled at for forgetting to take the credits off for your bags. You get three cents a bag and only used two, wait I’ll give you six cents out of my damn pocket if it’ll make you stop crying about it.
7) I hate when I get through a whole order, the customer pays and then pulls out coupons that they forget. (Note: when you hear them go ‘Oh shoot’ as your back is turned to finish the order that means they forgot something and you might brace yourself for anger) because you then have to flash for a supervisor so they can put them in for you or tell them to go to the service desk. They think that’s taking time out of their valuable lives when really you could’ve just gone through three orders already if they didn’t hold you up.
8) I actually just hate reusable bags, I get that they are great for the enviroment but they are annoying to bag with and I believe the customer should bag their own order at that point.
9) I hate it when the customer needs to pay in ten million different ways.
10) I hate it when the customer comes through with a hundred dollar order and goes ‘shoot I only have 65 dollars.’ Guess you should’ve been keeping track of that now huh?
11) I hate it when a customer is in a hurry but they decide to go grocery shopping and then get pissed at you because of how busy it is. (Note: To those people who do that. How about you wait till after you get to wherever the hell it is you’re going to, to go shopping. Because I promise you the world hates you so much that it’ll be busy if you’re just popping in for one thing. It’s not like other people exist and need food.)
12) I hate it when people say something they think is clever but I’ve actually heard a million times. For instance: “Shoot I saved 10 cents, I can go far with that!” Ha ha. Pretty sure that’s been done before.
13) I hate it when people read my name tag and go. “OH like hopalong Cassidy.” Heard that a milllllion times (similar to number 12)
14) I hate it when people scan their own advantage cards. Whoa. This is my job, and THIS side of the register is mine, my bubble, get out.
15) I hateee it when people try to tell me how to do my job (when people give me the price of something that actually has to be weighed. . . that doesnt help.) or when they tell you that you scanned something in twice but you already caught it and voided it out. (There’s a line that goes right through it, it’s thin but visible. Just look.)
16) I hate it when people bring in their SCREAMING child and don’t do anything about it. Take them outside, tell them to shut up or just don’t bring them to a grocery store. I find it rude of you to wait in line with your screaming child and I can’t assit my customer because I can’t hear them.
17) I hate the fact that we have to tuck in our shirts. I have a bit of pudge, it doesn’t look so good with a tucked in shirt.
18) I hate that we can’t dye our hair because it’s unprofessional. I’m just a part time cashier and my hair should be the least of a customers problem, at least I’m not a bitch to them. In fact I’m the nicest and hardest worker in the store.
19) I hate it when I see a child eating an apple or banana that their parent gave to them. Those have to be weighed to be bought, so you basically are letting your child eat a stolen item in front of me and I’m pissed.
20) I hate it when people take forever to write out a check when you tell them that all they have to do is sign it and they’re going to get it right back.
21) I hate when people swipe they’re cards in a million times but the card doesn’t take and they get pissed, it’s because you’re going to fast and oh look at the screen it’s asking you to press a button. . . pay attention.
22) I hate it when people don’t use the dividers and I start scanning another persons order. Don’t fuckingggg get pissed at me because you don’t understand what these BRIGHT green little rectangular boxes are for. Oh and another tip. It’s called the Void button, *poof* the item vanished from your order. All better.
23) I hate it when people watch me press the subtotal button and they’re not finished with their order and freak out like the register is automatically going to think they’re done and pay for itself. Nope I need your cash or credit card to do that.
24) I hate when there are maybe five-six registers open and we’re starting to get lines and someone has the balls to ask me if we’re going to open another one anytime soon. We’re doing the best we can. We only have a certain amount of help during the day, there’s not a lot we can do and I’m sure you can wait. Why would you come to a grocery store and not expect there to be people?
25) I hate hate hateee when people ask me why I dont have a bagger. We literally have two baggers a day, express cashiers don’t get baggers and the two that are here have to go back and forth and bag for the 6 other registers that are open. Your arms aren’t broken, you’re not lazy. Bag your own damn groceries. The nerve of people.


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11 Things Retail Workers Hate About Christmas

December is always the busiest month of the year in retail. We all hire extra Christmas staff, buy triple the amount of stock and deck our stores out with festive cheer. At least this is what our pleasant exteriors show.

Our interiors are a lot less shiny and bright and more rusty and cynical. By time Christmas day actually rolls around we’re all freakish zombie like creatures that would rather have a day long snooze fest than face a full day of family celebrations. Why? Because we’re underpaid, overworked, glorified slaves to the flocking unorganised masses who think we’re robots not actual human beings.

There’s a reason we lose our holiday cheer and start picking up the Grinch’s cynical attitude. To us Christmas isn’t pretty and that’s just a fact. To help everyone understand here are 11 of the reasons us retail workers enter auto pilot mode for the entire month of December.

24/7 Christmas carols

It’s bad enough we get the pleasure of listening to these repetitive tunes all day every day, we don’t need every second customer complaining about them too. Yes we know they suck, we also know they’re annoying. Geez thanks for pointing out that they’re playing everywhere, we really hadn’t noticed.

Come December 1st the crazies come out to play

For 11 months of the year a large proportion of shoppers are in hibernation. Come the start of December they come back out to play. Their mission to drive us bat shit crazy. These are the shoppers that combine all the traits we hate in customers and wrap themselves up in one neat package for us to want to chuck in the trash. Please, just please leave us alone.

The loss of our social lives

9pm trades every night, plus chuck in a couple 7am opens and midnight closes and it’s safe to say our schedule looks a lot like the social butterflies nightmare. We often do our Christmas shopping on our short lunch breaks, fighting the crowds to get a lousy sandwich from the food court and don’t even get me started on the brutality of the car park. They’re a war zone where no one is safe, even the trenches offer no recluse. Your bestie wants to go the movies, no sorry hun, I’ve got a full day of sorting out the world’s crap.

Professional tantrum chucker’s

Two words. School holidays. Oh hell no!

The bargain hunters

No I cannot mark the price down for you, no buying two of the same thing won’t change that. No they won’t be going on sale any time soon. No I cannot give it to you for free because it didn’t scan. And, my all time favourite, no I cannot give you, a complete stranger my staff discount.

The indecisive shopper

I am not your personal shopper! I do not know what colour your mother in law will prefer! Furthermore I don’t know a damn thing about you, I’m here to assist you, not do all the hard work for you.

The last minute panicked shopper

When we shut our doors we will not re-open them because you’re shouting at us from outside. Rattling the doors will not help; it will just piss us of more. If you walk in a minute before closing and want to ‘browse’ kindly f@#* off. We don’t get paid enough to stay back after hours to serve you. Please just let us go home we don’t bug you at your place of work when you’re about to knock off.

The superiority complex of customers

Last time I checked my job description does not include ‘your own personal house slave’. Just because we work in retail does not mean we’re the bottom of the food chain. In fact 99% of the time we’re actually smarter and more switched on than you are. Just so you’re aware, whoever created the slogan ‘the customer is always right’ clearly never worked in retail because THE CUSTOMER IS NEVER RIGHT! so in future please refrain from using that wildly inaccurate phrase, it only proves that we really aren’t beneath you.

The ‘can I speak to your manager’ customer

If I tell you we can’t refund the item you kid smashed, then we can’t refund it. If you ask for my manager, they’re going to come out and tell you the same thing. The quality of service does not change between our bosses and us. At Christmas they work ridiculous overtime so if anything they’re less inclined to want to deal with your crap than we are.

The cringe worthy ‘Do you gift wrap?’ question

Sure thing as long as you’re happy with a scrunched up box with too much sticky tape. We have not had professional training. If you want you presents wrapped do it yourself, or pay the worker at the gift-wrapping station who has nothing better to do. The ten customers in my line waiting to be served are way more important than you being too lazy to wrap your own gifts.

Becoming the GRINCH when everyone else is all festive

We deal with a lot of shit especially at Christmas. So forgive us for feeling less than cheery when you all set out to make our lives miserable


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The True Confessions of a Former Retail Slave

If you were to Google the phrase “working in retail”, the first five websites that come up are these:  Seven Lessons Learned from Retail, 12 Tips for Working in Retail Without Killing Everyone Around You, Is Working in Retail Close to Slavery?, Retail-Sucks, and Why Working in Retail Sucks.

This is not news to me.  I spent five years of my life working in that business as an assistant manager of a mid-level women’s apparel company.  Let’s call this company J. Taylor Creek.  Their main demographic is career women in their 30s and 40s, though over the past couple of years they seemed to have tried to lower that age and target the career-minded college student.  But what college student do you know can afford $140 pants?  Especially when they’ll probably end up working at Starbucks after graduation?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Or maybe they’ll have to settle for a part-time job making $8 an hour at J. Taylor Creek.

After spending three years working in the mortgage business as a loan processor (which I actually enjoyed), I got out just before the housing bubble burst.  We were moving, I knew the company at which I worked was going to close down (it was only a matter of time), and my sister informed me of a new outdoor “Lifestyle Center” that was opening in the new city where we were moving.  They were having a job fair in search of qualified people to work at all the fun stores that were going to open.

Now, working retail was not necessarily new to me.  I was a part-time manager at Claire’s for one year during college.  However I highly DO NOT recommend working at Claire’s.  Oh yeah, they have cute accessories – jewelry, bags, hats, etc – but if you work there, you have to pierce people’s ears.


I could go into all the stories of ear-piercing I have locked away in my brain, but that would make this post extremely long.  Let me just say this: never pierce a screaming baby’s ears no matter what the mother says, and never take a job where smelling salts are involved.

That being said, I figured I had enough retail experience to go into the job fair and come out with a well-paying, full-time management position.  And I did!  I interviewed with many companies that day, but the one who snagged me – and also the one I loved the most – was J. Taylor Creek.  After talking to the woman who was going to be the new store manager, I felt like I belonged at this company.  I liked what they stood for, and best of all, I liked their clothes.

I started out as an MIT, which stood for Manager-In-Training.  It’s basically the lowest level of a full-time manager at J. Taylor Creek, and that was fine with me.  I wanted responsibility and authority, but not too much, if you know what I mean.

Since the new store wasn’t due to open for another two months, I had to train at other J. Taylor Creek stores.  This was all fine and dandy, though I quickly learned one thing about myself.   I hate picking out clothes for people who don’t know what they want.  I told myself that I would eventually get used to it, that I would learn to feel comfortable selling clothes to people, but it ended up haunting me for as long as I worked in retail.

Trust me, this will look horrible on you.

Once my home store opened, things got a little better.  I loved the girls I worked with, and they were the ones who got me through the long 8-hour shifts.  In fact, it would be my co-workers who got me through the FIVE YEARS of retail in which I worked.  But more about that later.

Being an MIT had its perks, but it definitely had its downfall, that downfall being acting as “the middle man” most of the time.  The assistant manager and senior assistant manager (managers #3 and #2) did not get along.  They bickered like children, and would come to me complaining about the other one because apparently someone lower than them is easier to complain to than the store manager above them.  I sat and listened like I always do, never really agreeing with them, just nodding and saying things like, “Wow, really?”

Luckily after about six months at this location, my district manager at the time told me about an opening for an assistant manager at another location a little bit further away.  This would mean higher status and higher pay, and even though I was hesitant (my current store was literally five minutes from my apartment), I agreed to meet with the store manager.

We clicked right away, and I knew after about 15 minutes that I wanted to transfer.  The store was in a better lifestyle center, too – there was nowhere to eat at my current mall, and this one had tons of restaurants and tons of stores and a Borders and a candy store…

So I was transferred, and I had to quickly get accustomed to a higher volume store.  My old store was pretty quiet, not too many visits, even on the weekends.  But this new place was a madhouse.  Constantly running around, not even having time to pee or think about anything but “Does she have a room?” “Do you have any clients right now?”  “Have you taken your break?”  blah blah blah.

The good thing was that my days FLEW by.  Well, most days.  Even busy days have their crappy “oh my God, it’s only 2:00?” moments.

And here’s another crappy thing I started to really hate about retail.  The hours.  When I first thought about working in retail, I thought a change of hours and schedule would be interesting.  I was bored with the whole 9-5 thing.  My husband was a chef, which meant that his hours were all over the place, too, so it wasn’t like I exactly needed those weekends off.

But working nights and weekends and getting random Tuesdays and Thursdays off and working until 11:00 at night quickly lost its flair.  Having to work on days like Black Friday and the day after Christmas and every other holiday that everyone else gets off was depressing.  It didn’t take long for The Chip began to form on my shoulder.

I started dreading going to work, especially on days when I would close.  I wouldn’t go into work until 2:00 in the afternoon (if it was a weekend), and I couldn’t enjoy the first half of my day knowing that I still had to go into work for nine hours.  I couldn’t even enjoy my days off because I usually only got one day off (two days in a row is a rarity in the retail world), and I would spend most of that day dreading the next day.

And then I got pregnant.

Having to work at any job is probably difficult when you’re pregnant, what with all the morning sickness and moodiness and the getting fat business.  But working retail is extra hard when you’re pregnant.  First of all, you’re on your feet for eight hours and only get to sit down during your lunch break.  Second of all, you have to deal with customers.

And customers suck.

This is probably the main reason why I started to hate retail so much.  As I mentioned before, I quickly realized that I hated helping people find clothes to wear.  I know that sounds ridiculous, since that’s all that retail is, basically, but I figured that since I was management, I knew that my job was to make sure my associates were helping customers, not me.

And that was slightly true.  But that didn’t mean I was totally off the hook.  And it seemed that the more pregnant I got, the worse the customers became (the whole economy going to shiz may have had something to do with it as well, but whatever).  Constantly arguing about a return, the price of something, a coupon they couldn’t combine with a promo…you name it.

Courtesy of Customers Suck

And you’d be surprised at how many awful, evil people there are in this world (or at least in California).  I’ve had women call me a bitch, I’ve had women throw clothes at me, I’ve had women threaten me…all because I was trying to do my freaking job.

And the crappy part?  I couldn’t do a thing about it.  I couldn’t yell back, I couldn’t throw clothes at them, and I certainly couldn’t call them a bitch or else I would get written up or fired.  That’s one of the rules of retail.

You just have to stand there and take it.

There was one time I got a little “testy” with a client.  I was eight months pregnant, it was 11:15 on a Friday night – we had been closed for 15 minutes – and there was a woman arguing with me about wanting to return an item that wasn’t even from our store.  At J. Taylor Creek there are different divisions of stores, kind of like how Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy are all run by the same company, but they’re totally different stores.  This woman was basically trying to return an item from Banana Republic to Gap.  Which you can’t do.

She didn’t understand this, and no matter how much I tried to explain it, she refused.  I was getting PISSED.  And when she said, “Well, they let me do this at Macy’s”, I responded with, “Well, this isn’t Macy’s.”

That shut her up, but she filed a complaint against me and I got a written warning.

You’d be surprised at the stuff customers will do while in your store, stuff that should be on an episode of Dirty Jobs.  Makeup smeared on blouses?  Happens all the time.  Blood in the crotch of white pants?  I’ve seen it.  Clothes stuffed in the tank of a toilet?  Yep.  Sex in the fitting rooms?  Thankfully not at my store, but at another one in the district.

Good times.

I went on maternity leave a whole month before my due date simply because I could not handle working in retail anymore without totally going postal on someone.  And about halfway into my leave after my daughter was born, I realized that I wasn’t going to go back to retail.  My daughter was way too important, and I didn’t want her to suffer the effects of a mom who hated her job.

That lasted for a year.

We moved back to the previous city we lived in to be close to in-laws, and since we were paying more for our apartment, I decided I would get a part-time job.  And since I knew that I could easily get a job at J. Taylor Creek, I went to the Lifestyle Center in our area, talked to the manager, and the next day was the new part-time sales lead.

I was at a different division as my previous store – now I was high-end.  But it was basically the same stuff I did before, just a slightly different client, and since I was now only working 4-hour shifts instead of 8-hour shifts, I thought it was going to be great.

How quickly and easily one forgets.

A lot had changed over a year, however, with the economy and with the company as well.  They were suddenly more, how should I put this, anal about things.  Business at the entire company wasn’t very great, and when that happens people begin to panic.  People at the top lose jobs.  Management changes, turnover happens, and it starts to snowball into a big ol’ mess.

But it turns out that one year off does not change the suckiness of customers.  I thought that since I was now working in a very affluent part of Los Angeles, the women wouldn’t be so concerned about price and deals and discounts.  But you know what?

They’re even worse.

I guess that’s why they’re so rich…they’re super tight with their money and want to pay the least they possibly can for a top that’s on final clearance for $9.88.  And when they can’t get their way, they get MAD.

I think the customers at this particular location and particular point in time were worse than before.  I had at least one woman a day argue with me – mostly dealing with our return policy, which is 60 days WITH THE RECEIPT – and since J. Taylor Creek was so obsessed with not losing clients in this already sucky retail economy, we had to let them win.  You want to return that without a receipt?  You want to return that even though you bought it over a year ago?  Well, since I’ll get written up if I get a complaint against me, I’ll let you return it.  No problem.  *fake smile*

Retail is all about fake smiles.  I had a fake smile plastered on my face for five years.  And you know what?  It got really tiring.  It got tiring pretending that I cared about the business when in reality all I cared about was when my next day off was.  I know that sounds horrible – I was promoted to assistant manager at this J. Taylor Creek, and my job was to inspire my team to achieve our goals, and while I get that, it was really hard to be inspirational when Corporate is only focusing on the negative.  You didn’t make this goal, you didn’t open this credit card (holy eff, do NOT get me started on trying to force people to open the J. Taylor Creek credit card), your folds are messy, you didn’t wear something current…

You begin to only focus on the negative as well, and that causes stress and disgruntled employees.  J. Taylor Creek tried to be all about “engaged associates” and “empowered women”, but at the end of the day all they care about is money.  And they will be the first to tell you that.

Retail is difficult enough without having to deal with crap from Corporate.  In addition to making sure our associates are “doing their job”, we’re also sending hourly “reads” – how much money the store currently has in – to our district manager, doing “store set” at least twice a month (basically changing the entire store around), setting up window displays, changing the clothes on mannequins, ordering supplies, completing store operational audits, changing interior signage for promos that change every couple of days, cleaning out fitting rooms (which means picking up all the clothes bunched up into the corner and turning them right side out and putting them back where they belong), making sure our folds are military-grade acceptable, sweep the floors, clean the windows, take out the trash, receive new product twice a week and make sure it’s all steamed and put out within 24 hours, take never-ending conference calls, send out “action plan” emails when we’re unable to make our goal, make sure that we’re not over or under in hours, which means usually cutting or calling people in at the last minute, planning store events that no one ever turns up for anyway, soliciting clients on the phone…

…and all this must be done while we’re supposed to be 100% focused on the client walking through the door.

I was at this J. Taylor Creek location for about 2 ½ years.  As before, I loved my co-workers.  I had a great boss and still consider her and the other women to be great friends that I’ll always keep in contact with (thank you, Facebook).  But I knew my time in retail had to come to an end.  My daughter was getting older, and I knew she needed a mom who had a fixed work schedule.  And a mom who didn’t come home stressed out and pissed off every day.

When we moved back to Minnesota I was all set to transfer to a J. Taylor Creek store at the Mall of America.  There were no full-time positions available, so I was starting back at part-time sales lead.  I wasn’t excited for this job, and felt myself dreading it before I even started it.

I was there for a week.

It was one of those “right place at the right time” moments where there was an opening at the company where my dad worked, and because it was Monday-Friday in an office at a desk where there weren’t any clothes or customers around, it took me about ½ second to agree to interview.

I got the job on the spot and started the following week, and since then I’m amazed at how happy I am at work.  My job isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but when I think of all that blood, sweat and tears (oh yes, there were tears) I put into retail, I am so thankful.  I love going into work at 7:00 am and going home at 3:30 pm.  I love going home on a Friday afternoon knowing that I have the whole weekend off.  TWO DAYS IN A ROW!  I actually have an active social life now that I have the same days off as the rest of the world!

However, I don’t regret the five years I put into retail.  I learned a lot about people and being a manager and how the corporate world works.  I learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned to accept the fact that there are some things I just wasn’t meant to do.  Going to work every day made me feel guilty because I knew I didn’t like it and I knew I wasn’t “putting my best self forward” (another J. Taylor Creek mantra).  I didn’t want to live my life like that, doing something half-assed that made me miserable.  I didn’t want my daughter to grow up knowing that because I don’t want her to do the same thing.

I’m not here to tell you that retail is a crappy industry.  It’s challenging, but if you’re good at it – and I know a lot of people who are really good at it and passionate about it, and that’s awesome – then it can be a truly rewarding career.  Just make sure you’re true to yourself and that’s what you really want to do, because if it’s not, you’re not the only one who suffers.


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