Mumbles … public

Everyone, at some point in their life, should have to do two jobs. Any job having to do with working with the public. And also a little time in a food service job. They both teach you a lot about how to be a better customer, because there are some of us when placed in the public pool that act completely rude.

I have had jobs with the public both early (a paper carrier complete with collections needed on the route) and late (a cashier at a discount store) in life, and I can’t say one time was easier than the other. But I sure learned things about people in both situations.

People don’t think… they just speak. Favorite story working in retail was a slow day (a lot of them were) and a customer approached me looking for lint rollers. I easily directed her to the ones right by the check outs. She stared at the package (which pictured a dog and cat) and asked if it removed anything besides pet hair. While I WANTED to say no, it leaves everything else behind, I did say and point out on the label where it removed dirt, dust, hair, lint, the usual things a lint brush removes. But she had been dead serious when she asked if it took more than pet hair off. She just didn’t think.

I learned a few things in food service too. First of all it can be a lot of hard work if you are in a busy popular restaurant. I worked at both a popular restaurant and a fast food place. People can be downright rude about their food. The wait staff and kitchen have no problems with food being sent back, but do it in a nice tone. I recall on more that one occasion getting cheeseburgers sent back for no cheese… hello, that is called a hamburger then, don’t order it as a cheeseburger. And there are always those who don’t actually read the menu and act surprised when their food comes out with something on it they didn’t want. READ the menu, don’t just look at the pictures.

Sadly there are things I do now that I no longer work that make me cringe inside. Believe me cashiers have heard MANY times, “Do you need something to do?” “Are you working here?” (this one is usually asked when in full “uniform”) and the most popular “If there is no price it must be free?” And I should know better than to use those tired sayings, but I still catch myself every once in a while doing so.

Before I stop my mumbling for the day… remember the carts do NOT magically move themselves into the line up. If you want cashiers at registers instead of moving carts around, try putting them away on the way out the door… all the way away, not three steps from the other carts. (Sorry a huge pet peeve of mine when I worked). And when a cashier asks you how your day is, yes it is their job, but if they are a decent cashier, they really do hope you found everything ok. Have a nice day!

 

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – public

Mumbles… How Are You Today?

I worked retail for 20 years and having had that background I can usually tell who is sincere when they ask if I am having a good day or if I found everything ok versus those that are reading a script before they race to the time clock. The faster they say it the more fake it seems to be; a cursory response only to fulfill the minimum duties before the paycheck hits their pockets.

I am not saying I didn’t have days where I was robotic in nature. We will all have off days. But I really cared about my customers. There were regular ones that I would get updates on family or vacations they took. One of my favorite customers often shared photographs she was picking up with me. There were a couple I could always count on for a good joke. And of course there were a few I hoped didn’t come through my lane, but I still tried my best to make their day a little brighter.

So the next time someone asks you how your day is, please give them a response. Not all of them are reading cue cards waiting for their next dollar. There are actually people who enjoy working with the public, and do pay attention to how you answer that question.

 

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – cursory