Student Life

Advice from Cashiers

By Sophia Jaquez

Christmas is just a couple weeks away, but while most people are mainly focused on getting the best deals on presents, cashiers are just hoping to get through their shift without an angry customer. Whether or not you have worked as a cashier, we can all agree that getting yelled at by a stranger can quickly ruin your day. To help solve this problem I have compiled a short list of things that cashiers want you, the customer, to understand in order to make the holiday season a little less stressful.

Because holiday shopping makes everyone crazy.

1. Cashiers don’t make the prices.

As a cashier, your job in a nutshell is to scan items and be friendly, so when a customer complains about the price of an item there’s not really much we can do to help. Cashiers don’t make the prices, so if you feel like the price should be lower due to a sale or discount we can call a manager over to double check, but without their authorization cashiers can’t change the price of an item. Cashiers understand that some people just want to make conversation by talking about how outrageous it is that they have to spend so much money on presents this year, but if you seriously feel like the item was priced incorrectly, don’t take it out on the cashier.

2. How to tell if someone is old enough to scan your alcohol.

One of the most frustrating things that can happen at the checkout is when someone wants to buy alcohol and the cashier isn’t old enough to scan it. Many people may not know it, but it is actually illegal for a minor to sell alcohol under any circumstance. The law says that you have to be at least 18 years old to sell alcohol. As a minor who works as a cashier, I can say that I always feel really sorry when people come through my line and they think I am old enough to scan their alcohol because sometimes it can take a couple minutes for a manager to get to the register to override the transaction and scan the alcohol. After shopping for a while the idea of having to wait for your alcohol to be scanned is not exactly something that people want to do. If you have alcohol and you are in a rush, or you know you don’t have enough patience to wait, then it is suggested that you go to a cashier who looks like they are definitely older than 18. Even if their line is a little bit longer than all the other lines because in the long run it will be faster to do that then to wait for a manager, especially when the store is busy.

On a more specific note, if you are shopping in a Walmart store there is an easy way to tell if someone is old enough to scan you alcohol. All you have to do is simply look at their name tag! If the cashier’s name tag is yellow it means that they are a minor, but if their name tag is blue it means that they are 18+ years of age and can scan your alcohol. One easy way to remember this is to see the yellow name tag and think of a yellow school bus.

A blue name tag means that the cashier can scan you alcohol.
A yellow name tag means that the cashier can’t scan your alcohol, but they can call over a manager to scan it.

3. The registers are very complicated machines.

One thing that every store in the entire universe has in common is that all of the registers are super complex. There are so many different combinations of numbers and actions that cashiers have to learn in order to do the simplest sounding things, like loading money onto a gift card. On top of that, the registers get updates and are changing all the time. It may seem like the cashier doesn’t know what they are doing, but in reality they probably just clocked in and were told how to use the new system moments ago.

4. Patience is hard, but it’s worth it.

The funny thing about patience is that most people find it hard to be patient, but when someone is patient with us we are so grateful for it. Part of being a cashier is being patient with customers, so when a customer is patient with us too it really means the world. Being patient with people, not just cashiers, and letting them take a little time to figure something out is one of the nicest things that people can do for each other.

If you can only remember one thing from this article I hope it’s that a little bit of patience goes a long way. No matter what situation you are in this holiday season, the easiest way to make the experience better is with some patience.


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