(In no particular order)
1. You begin to see the cost of every day objects in hours of work. You get a parking ticket- “Damn, that’s 8 hours of work.”
2. Paying with paper cash is way faster than paying with a credit card. I used to think that paying with a credit card expedites the process of checking out, but after working as a cashier, I realize that isn’t the case at all.
Situation A, someone pays with a credit card- A surprising number of customers will stumble and fumble and flounder around their wallets or purses, as if they’re navigating them for the first time, but this applies to both card and cash. After the customer finds the card, they’ll hand it directly to me, awkwardly forcing me to make obvious to them the pinpad on the counter that is literally, smack-dab in front of them. But approximately 70% of these customers just glaze over it. So, they recoil their arm in shame. Then swipe, then enter their PIN number, and then send a text message or look at the cute little erasers next to the register. Wait no, that shouldn’t be right…but that’s what they do! They think that everything is concluded and dandy. Nowadays, pinpads will not let you leave with your items before they ask you for a signature , offer you cash back options, allow you to donate to some children’s charity/make you feel bad about not donating to some children’s charity, ask you to confirm your total, or blah blah. In one transaction, I have to prompt the customer two, sometimes three times because they were too preoccupied to read the directions on the pinpad entirely.
Situation B, someone pays with cash- Stumble, fumble, flounder. They find their cash, and they count it. Turns out, many customers pay with big bills- 10s, 20s, and not much with 1s and 5s. (It just occurred to me that this is probably because virtual currency is so prevalent now. We don’t carry cash, and when we do, they’re 20s from the ATM. Whoa..) And forget about paying with exact change. Who are you, my grandmother’s grandmother? Anyway, 10s and 20s make counting the money easier for both them and me. Then, it’s up to me to give them their change. I’m free to do so as rushed or unhurried as I please, unless a manager is watching. And good thing cash registers display exactly how much change to tender. Otherwise, I’d be standing there with my abacus all day. OH, and the register begins printing the receipt as I’m counting change, so once I’m done, it’s ready for me to pluck.
Wow, that became more of a rant than I’d intended.
3. Time passes much faster if you make customer service into a game- not so much a game, per se, since there are no points and no real winner, but whatever. In the Initial Greeting Phase, before they’ve spoken a word to me, I try to assest their facial expression, posture, stance, and predict what type of customer they will be. There are countless types - understanding, impatient, timid, appreciative, foreign, etc. but my favorites, by far, are the ones that, when asked if they have any questions, promptly say “No (automated defense)…………….actually, I do have one question.”
The Service Phase is an unspoken power struggle. Yes, we’re here to serve customers, but they can’t treat us like servants because we have the information they need.
And of course there’s the entertainment of just observing humans- their quirks, mannerisms, and behaviors can be so interesting.
4. The long spiels that sales associates give about promotions. coupons, and events- they’re mandatory. We don’t say them because our mouths are bored- secret shoppers expect us to recite our spiels to every customer we ring up. Ours at Blick is currently, “Did you find everything okay? Just so you know, if you had trouble finding anything, you can go to our website and we can help you special order items from there. Please kill me. Also, check out a catalogue- our holiday sale is happening right now. And we have an event on the Friday after Thanksgiving. There’ll be raffles and giveaways and sales all day! The cake is a lie.” So, I guess my point is, the next time a worker spiels at you, be patient and pretend like you care. We have to say it 30 times a day, you can hear it a couple of times.
5. Coworkers share a very special bond that stems from an understanding of the crappiest aspects of working there. I’m sure this is the same regardless of where you work, or what you do. Customers and bosses will always be common enemy.