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Old June 22 2013, 08:53 PM   #1
sonak
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creepy encounters with cashiers

I hate faux-friendliness, especially the creepy kind. I was making a purchase at a store, and (of course) used one of the "discount" or "preferred" or whatever card that you basically fill your wallet or purse with these days so that companies can track your purchase habits.

Anyway, so after I give her the card, she says "thanks ----(my first name) Well, since she obviously got that from the card, I found it a bit annoying and just gave her a look. Then she made some comment on something I purchased. You know, I'm all for "hi, how are you?" or "how was your day?" and a level of politeness and friendliness, but I just found the combination of using my name that she got from a card and the comments on my buying choices creepy rather than friendly.
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Old June 22 2013, 09:09 PM   #2
Third Nacelle
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

I worked behind the counter for many years. I was always polite, but I really tried not to get into the fake friendliness. It can be hard when your prime directive is always to smile.

I was buying Claritin last week, and the cashier felt the need to chime in about all the luck she's been having with Zyrtec. I gave her the old blank stare. I can't stand cashiers who make comments (or worse, ask questions) about my purchases. It's unprofessional and seems like a breach of privacy and anonymity.
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Old June 22 2013, 09:09 PM   #3
RoJoHen
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Cashiers have a habit of telling me how shitty their day is going. I have no idea why. I usually ask how they're doing, just to be polite, and the usual response is, "I can't wait to go home."

Um...neat.
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Old June 22 2013, 09:12 PM   #4
auntiehill
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Meh. I worked retail for years. Sometimes, cashiers just want to strike up a conversation just to break up the monotony. I don't find it creepy at all. I appreciate that they are trying to at least pretend to be friendly, which, frankly, is their job.

I've seen much more creepiness from customers towards the cashiers. We had one guy who came in to buy, oh, some useless thing or another every week, just so he could flirt with the girl behind the counter. He would lean over, staring psychotically, and whisper, "You're such a pretty girl. I love your eyes. Let me take you out somewhere," etc. He was 60ish and she was 19. He kept on doing it until security had to show him the door. Scared the hell out of the poor girl. Then there were the tweakers who kept wanting to buy a gross of water purifier (ssshhyeah), and as you're standing there, explaining why you can't do that, they're scoping the joint out or going into withdrawal right in front of you.

And I won't even get into the pervs who bought ladies undergarments, just so they could take them to the youngest female cashier. The guy would moan and stroke the garments right there at the counter.
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Old June 22 2013, 09:47 PM   #5
thestrangequark
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

^Oh man! That reminds me! I was once buying a silk slip and the cashier was so ...touchy feely with it I told him nevermind and left. I didn't want to wear that thing after the nasty way he was feeling it up!

I occasionally get leering cashiers...I've definitely been leered at to the point that I became uncomfortable enough to leave the shop, but what I really hate is the guys who use the exchanging of money as a chance to do this nasty thing where they slowly slide their hand across mine. Combined with an overly sexual stare it makes for a really unpleasant encounter.

I don't really mind talkative cashiers or the ones who read my name off my credit card -- I assume their bosses make them do that.
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Old June 22 2013, 10:08 PM   #6
The Festivus Awakens
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

If the cashier is using your first name and you're not a regular who they're familiar with, nine times out of ten it's because it's company policy since in their view it fosters a friendlier environment for the customer. Now, whether that's true or not depends on the individual customer's perspective, but regardless, it's highly unlikely that the cashier decided to do this on their own, so it's best not to blame them for it.

Plus, I think creepy is too strong a word. There's no mystery where they got your name from, since it's right on your store card, credit/debit card, or check. If you had never said your name before, never used a store card, and always pay cash and they still knew your name, that would be creepy. This is just being a bit overly familiar to make you feel welcome at worst, and the issue is most likely at the company level, not with the employee.

Now, as far as commenting on your purchases, if it's just saying "Oh, that juice tastes great" or something harmless like that, it's just making small talk and trying to be friendly or break the monotony, as said above. If they comment on personal hygiene products and make you uncomfortable, say "Wow, that's a lot of liquor" and make you feel like a lush, or make a joke about the large size of the clothes you're buying, that would be inappropriate. Otherwise, what's the big deal? If you don't like it, it's at most a couple seconds of grunting an affirmative and nodding in response to treat the cashier like a human being; hardly any great hardship.

It's really a thankless job. Because you're the last employee the customer usually encounters, you get the sum total of their complaints if they have any, most of the time about shit that's way above your pay grade or which you have little or no control over. You're required to interact with people even if the customer is having a bad day and just wants to tell the world to fuck off, and that doesn't even take into account how you're feeling. You have to deal with people doing stupid or time wasting shit all day long, with the full knowledge that for every second they waste, you're probably going to be the one who gets blamed for it by other customers unless the stupidity is obvious to everyone. It's mind-numbing monotony coupled with back and leg straining physical work and standing in place (which is worse than being able to walk around). Plus, it combines everyone's favorite activities of having to stand in lines, being herded through small lanes like cattle, being in extremely close proximity to others, making small talk with strangers, and then having to pay for the privilege. YAY!

So knowing all that, unless a cashier is really a horrendous douchebag, I go out of my way to try and be as nice to them as possible and to make things easier for them: bagging things myself if need be, making sure my method of payment is ready to go before I get to the checkout, being polite and responding to their questions/comments, organizing my stuff by category so it's easier to bag, etc. I'm not saying everyone should have to do this, because it is the cashier's job, but that's just what I try and do because of past experience. I worked as a cashier when I was in high school and while most of the time it's pleasant and you get to interact with nice people, it can be an awful, soul crushing experience at times.
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Old June 22 2013, 10:28 PM   #7
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
So knowing all that, unless a cashier is really a horrendous douchebag, I go out of my way to try and be as nice to them as possible and to make things easier for them: bagging things myself if need be, making sure my method of payment is ready to go before I get to the checkout, being polite and responding to their questions/comments, organizing my stuff by category so it's easier to bag, etc.
I'm not great at all those things, like organizing my items and such, but I do always try to be nice too. I won't bug them if they seem super busy but otherwise I do try to make a little conversation by at least asking them how they are doing, things like that. I hate the lines but at least I get to walk out of the store after they are done ringing me up. They're stuck there. The other day this guy was missing some game that he wanted to watch so I checked the score for him.

I haven't gotten too many creeps. Sometimes they'll hit on me but usually it's not too bad. I've had multiple creepy and unpleasant encounters related to grocery stores, but it's almost always been a customer, not someone who works there.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:11 PM   #8
Lumos Ziyal
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

I worked retail a couple times, just for the Christmas season, many years apart. Hated it with a passion both times.

Like Locutus pointed out, I was required to look at the credit card and address the customer by name. Knowing that I found it annoying as a customer, I disliked doing it as the salesperson. Even worse was having to ask anyone who paid with something other than the store's own credit card whether they wanted to open an account. Of course they didn't.

I treat cashiers the way I want them to treat me: I'm polite, I'm pleasant, I'm usually not all that friendly.

My worst encounter:

Last winter, when I was still using a cane and had an infusion pump slung over my shoulder, I decided to try on a cape. The saleswoman heard me tell my friend that I usually don't like loose, floppy clothes, but sleeves were uncomfortable over my PICC line, so a cape would be perfect for a while. So she starts telling me how great I look for someone who's sick, and how many capes she's sold to women who use wheelchairs, and btw what was wrong with me anyway.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:14 PM   #9
Poinsettia
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
If the cashier is using your first name and you're not a regular who they're familiar with, nine times out of ten it's because it's company policy since in their view it fosters a friendlier environment for the customer. Now, whether that's true or not depends on the individual customer's perspective, but regardless, it's highly unlikely that the cashier decided to do this on their own, so it's best not to blame them for it.

Plus, I think creepy is too strong a word. There's no mystery where they got your name from, since it's right on your store card, credit/debit card, or check. If you had never said your name before, never used a store card, and always pay cash and they still knew your name, that would be creepy. This is just being a bit overly familiar to make you feel welcome at worst, and the issue is most likely at the company level, not with the employee.

Now, as far as commenting on your purchases, if it's just saying "Oh, that juice tastes great" or something harmless like that, it's just making small talk and trying to be friendly or break the monotony, as said above. If they comment on personal hygiene products and make you uncomfortable, say "Wow, that's a lot of liquor" and make you feel like a lush, or make a joke about the large size of the clothes you're buying, that would be inappropriate. Otherwise, what's the big deal? If you don't like it, it's at most a couple seconds of grunting an affirmative and nodding in response to treat the cashier like a human being; hardly any great hardship.

It's really a thankless job. Because you're the last employee the customer usually encounters, you get the sum total of their complaints if they have any, most of the time about shit that's way above your pay grade or which you have little or no control over. You're required to interact with people even if the customer is having a bad day and just wants to tell the world to fuck off, and that doesn't even take into account how you're feeling. You have to deal with people doing stupid or time wasting shit all day long, with the full knowledge that for every second they waste, you're probably going to be the one who gets blamed for it by other customers unless the stupidity is obvious to everyone. It's mind-numbing monotony coupled with back and leg straining physical work and standing in place (which is worse than being able to walk around). Plus, it combines everyone's favorite activities of having to stand in lines, being herded through small lanes like cattle, being in extremely close proximity to others, making small talk with strangers, and then having to pay for the privilege. YAY!

So knowing all that, unless a cashier is really a horrendous douchebag, I go out of my way to try and be as nice to them as possible and to make things easier for them: bagging things myself if need be, making sure my method of payment is ready to go before I get to the checkout, being polite and responding to their questions/comments, organizing my stuff by category so it's easier to bag, etc. I'm not saying everyone should have to do this, because it is the cashier's job, but that's just what I try and do because of past experience. I worked as a cashier when I was in high school and while most of the time it's pleasant and you get to interact with nice people, it can be an awful, soul crushing experience at times.

Bravo! And well said.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:15 PM   #10
sonak
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
If the cashier is using your first name and you're not a regular who they're familiar with, nine times out of ten it's because it's company policy since in their view it fosters a friendlier environment for the customer. Now, whether that's true or not depends on the individual customer's perspective, but regardless, it's highly unlikely that the cashier decided to do this on their own, so it's best not to blame them for it.

Plus, I think creepy is too strong a word. There's no mystery where they got your name from, since it's right on your store card, credit/debit card, or check. If you had never said your name before, never used a store card, and always pay cash and they still knew your name, that would be creepy. This is just being a bit overly familiar to make you feel welcome at worst, and the issue is most likely at the company level, not with the employee.

Now, as far as commenting on your purchases, if it's just saying "Oh, that juice tastes great" or something harmless like that, it's just making small talk and trying to be friendly or break the monotony, as said above. If they comment on personal hygiene products and make you uncomfortable, say "Wow, that's a lot of liquor" and make you feel like a lush, or make a joke about the large size of the clothes you're buying, that would be inappropriate. Otherwise, what's the big deal? If you don't like it, it's at most a couple seconds of grunting an affirmative and nodding in response to treat the cashier like a human being; hardly any great hardship.

It's really a thankless job. Because you're the last employee the customer usually encounters, you get the sum total of their complaints if they have any, most of the time about shit that's way above your pay grade or which you have little or no control over. You're required to interact with people even if the customer is having a bad day and just wants to tell the world to fuck off, and that doesn't even take into account how you're feeling. You have to deal with people doing stupid or time wasting shit all day long, with the full knowledge that for every second they waste, you're probably going to be the one who gets blamed for it by other customers unless the stupidity is obvious to everyone. It's mind-numbing monotony coupled with back and leg straining physical work and standing in place (which is worse than being able to walk around). Plus, it combines everyone's favorite activities of having to stand in lines, being herded through small lanes like cattle, being in extremely close proximity to others, making small talk with strangers, and then having to pay for the privilege. YAY!

So knowing all that, unless a cashier is really a horrendous douchebag, I go out of my way to try and be as nice to them as possible and to make things easier for them: bagging things myself if need be, making sure my method of payment is ready to go before I get to the checkout, being polite and responding to their questions/comments, organizing my stuff by category so it's easier to bag, etc. I'm not saying everyone should have to do this, because it is the cashier's job, but that's just what I try and do because of past experience. I worked as a cashier when I was in high school and while most of the time it's pleasant and you get to interact with nice people, it can be an awful, soul crushing experience at times.

you're right about the job of a cashier, and it is good to be nice to them. And I didn't mean the use of my name was "creepy" in the sense of I didn't know where she got it, just that she'd just casually use it after clearly plucking it from the card. It could have been company policy, not sure.

About the commenting on purchasing-unless it's just a generic, positive take on whatever you're buying ("I love that movie!"), and the purchase is not for, as you wrote, hygiene or personal care products, I'd rather not hear it.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:22 PM   #11
marksound
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Young people these days are not trained in etiquette.

It is impolite to address elders by their first name unless they say it's ok. Doubly so for a customer. If they introduce themselves to you by first name it's good. If I introduce myself as "Mr. Zoid," then it's disrespectful to address me by anything else.

Restaurants are particularly bad. My skin crawls when a server refers to my wife and me as "you guys." On top of that, the wait staff will invariably interrupt conversation at the table.

The polite thing to do is to stand quietly and wait for a break. My tip subtractor goes into high gear when a server interrupts my wife and me in the middle of a conversation.

I have worked in many service jobs and I understand how it works. If someone wants my respect (and my money) they have to show me that they understand how it works, too.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:23 PM   #12
thestrangequark
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Young people these days are not trained in etiquette.

It is impolite to address an elder by their first name unless they say it's ok. Doubly so for a customer. If they introduce themselves to you by first name it's good. If I introduce myself as "Mr. Zoid," then it's disrespectful to address me by anything else.

Restaurants are particularly bad. My skin crawls when a server refers to my wife and me as "you guys." On top of that, the wait staff will invariably interrupt conversation at the table.

The polite thing to do is to stand quietly and wait for a break. My tip subtractor goes into high gear when a server interrupts my wife and me in the middle of a conversation.

I have worked in many service jobs and I understand how it works. If someone wants my respect (and my money) they have to show me that they understand how it works, too.
Were the kids on your lawn especially noisy this morning?
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Old June 22 2013, 11:25 PM   #13
marksound
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Young people these days are not trained in etiquette.

It is impolite to address an elder by their first name unless they say it's ok. Doubly so for a customer. If they introduce themselves to you by first name it's good. If I introduce myself as "Mr. Zoid," then it's disrespectful to address me by anything else.

Restaurants are particularly bad. My skin crawls when a server refers to my wife and me as "you guys." On top of that, the wait staff will invariably interrupt conversation at the table.

The polite thing to do is to stand quietly and wait for a break. My tip subtractor goes into high gear when a server interrupts my wife and me in the middle of a conversation.

I have worked in many service jobs and I understand how it works. If someone wants my respect (and my money) they have to show me that they understand how it works, too.
Were the kids on your lawn especially noisy this morning?
No.

Did I not tip you enough the last time you waited on my wife and me?
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Old June 22 2013, 11:27 PM   #14
Rķu rķu, chķu
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

I keep my mouth shut at work as much as I can get away with. I don't make small talk of any kind unless the customer starts it (and even then, I keep it short and simple). I talk to them if they ask me questions, but if not, I don't bother them with chitchat.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:31 PM   #15
thestrangequark
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Re: creepy encounters with cashiers

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
thestrangequark wrote: View Post
Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Young people these days are not trained in etiquette.

It is impolite to address an elder by their first name unless they say it's ok. Doubly so for a customer. If they introduce themselves to you by first name it's good. If I introduce myself as "Mr. Zoid," then it's disrespectful to address me by anything else.

Restaurants are particularly bad. My skin crawls when a server refers to my wife and me as "you guys." On top of that, the wait staff will invariably interrupt conversation at the table.

The polite thing to do is to stand quietly and wait for a break. My tip subtractor goes into high gear when a server interrupts my wife and me in the middle of a conversation.

I have worked in many service jobs and I understand how it works. If someone wants my respect (and my money) they have to show me that they understand how it works, too.
Were the kids on your lawn especially noisy this morning?
No.

Did I not tip you enough the last time you waited on my wife and me?


You think that implying that someone is a server is an insult? You must be real classy!

It's just that you sound very much like the broken record that's been playing for the past three thousand years or so about how horrible kids are these days.

Maybe the kids are fine, and you're just a grouch.
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