Author Topic: Is this rude or standard? Etiquette from a cashier's point of view....  (Read 10202 times)

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Charliebug

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I have been off the front line of customer service for many years, however, due to a 180 degree career change I am, at the age of 40, back on the front lines, while I pursue a certification in another field. Being back at the till has been fun ....a lot of entertaining characters, moonbeams (as I refer to the reality challenged), and just regular folks who make my job more than a place to spend time. I do, however,  have a few annoyances being that I am older and tend to expect the same from most customers as I would myself.

As kind as I can be, I am sure it comes across in my face (not a poker one believe me!) and mannerisms how annoyed I truly am at times and I would appreciate a way to convey this one particular annoyance while not being rude. I am not even certain this is considered rude or thoughtless. All I know is neither I, nor anyone else I have ever known, has ever done this.

The problem: I am 5'4" and the counter I stand in front of is approx 3.5 feet tall. Some people put their baskets on the counter and expect me to unload it for them. This requires me reaching over and into the basket and pulling out  their items...scanning and then packing them into a bag. (I work in a drug store so although we have a grocery section we are not equipped like a grocery store with a moving belt to unload on.) I only run into this problem every now and then, but when I do, I am at a loss as to what to say. It is painful to reach up and over for their items repeatedly....I could take the entire basket down and unload it onto the counter from behind the counter - is that the best way? I guess what I am wondering is, was this ever the norm when it came to hand baskets? It never would have occurred to me EVER to not unload the basket and make the cashier do it.

(I do not have back or shoulder problems...but lifting heavy items [we sell full gallons of milk and lots of them] from chest level requires strength I have not yet gained.)

Thanks in advance for your advice :)

Shopaholic

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Maybe you can ask your boss to place a small stepping-stool behind the counter for times like this?

SoCalVal

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I worked as a drug store cashier 20 years ago (so no conveyor belts AND no scanners; prices were rung up by hand) and am also height-challenged (4'11 3/4").  I don't recall it being rude then for the customers not to unload their hand baskets so I vote for not rude (although I think I do recall once having come from my side of the counter to pick up off the floor someone's hand basket and feeling annoyed by it -- I don't remember why the customer couldn't put it on the counter herself).  However, as for dealing with strain from repeated unfamiliar movement -- I didn't have a comfort issue then with unloading the hand baskets, but I couldn't say I wouldn't now.



Zilla

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Might want to search for threads on this.  I remember reading a time or two about this very subject.


I personally unload the basket. 


I think however the way people are, they will be offended at being asked.


Can you put up a small sign that says, please unload all carts/hand baskets?  Or I would do as you said, pull the basket over and make it more comfortable to you.

Sharnita

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I am 5'4" also, 37 and I have worked as a cashier, teacher, library aid.  I don't think the customers are rude at all.  It would be nice if the store designed a system that was more convenient to both you and the customers regarding baskets but my guess is they would rather have people pushing around carts and dropping in i,pulse items so they probably aren't going to design a check out system that is good for baskets on either side of the register.

sarahj21

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I get this very rarely at my work. I check the basket quickly for delicate items (cards, bread, eggs, etc) then tip it carefully on its side. Much easier for me! We are trained on health & safety at work and we aren't allowed to unload baskets placed on the register. Our training is to tip them. This is to protect our shoulders/backs as we work.

Ceallach

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I concur not rude by the customer.  How on earth would they know that they aren't supposed to put their purchased on the counter for the staff member to process?   

I would look at solutions to make the work less difficult, such as a stool to alleviate the height issue or similar.   I really don't think there's much you can say.  Even if you could, that would influence that customer only, not those who follow, so you'd still run into the same issue. Plus you risk offending the ones you do tell and driving away business - not a good strategy as an employee!  I sympathize, but not a lot you can do here.
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bonyk

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As a customer, I always get hung up on this too, because most stores (unless there's a conveyor belt to stick it under) have no where for me to put the basket after I empty it.  I've found it easier to let the cashier empty it, because she/he knows what to do with it.

LeveeWoman

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I could take the entire basket down and unload it onto the counter from behind the counter - is that the best way?
snip

I'd do just that.

Piratelvr1121

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As a customer, in situations like that, where there's not a clear place to put an unloaded basket, I've unloaded it onto the counter and then held it up to the cashier asking nicely, "Where can I put this?"

The response in those cases has been a "Oh I'll take that, thanks".
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Zilla

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As a customer, in situations like that, where there's not a clear place to put an unloaded basket, I've unloaded it onto the counter and then held it up to the cashier asking nicely, "Where can I put this?"

The response in those cases has been a "Oh I'll take that, thanks".


I have done this.  I always unload my basket.  I wouldn't say it was rude not to but I do think it's a bit entitled to expect the cashier to unload it for you.


With that said, it was a huge adjustment for me when I moved here 5 years ago. The stores here don't allow you to unload your carts.  Their registers are set up in a way that you go one way and the cart goes another.  I have grappled with this thinking omigosh I have to help unload all my stuff!  Now I am all blase about it.  ;D


But in the smaller stores like you described, I always unload.

MacadamiaNut

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I get this very rarely at my work. I check the basket quickly for delicate items (cards, bread, eggs, etc) then tip it carefully on its side. Much easier for me! We are trained on health & safety at work and we aren't allowed to unload baskets placed on the register. Our training is to tip them. This is to protect our shoulders/backs as we work.

This is what some of the less tall cashiers do at my local Shoppers Drug Mart.  They also don't want you to unload the basket because there's really nowhere to put your stuff other than right on the scanner (which they need to scan your items).  We also bring our own bags here and they appreciate if you give them the bag so they can load it as they scan, because again, there's no room to put stuff!

In the times where I have unloaded my basket one item at a time, I see that it is a slower process and also prevents me from getting my shoppers points card out and my payment ready.  It takes too long. It's just much faster when it's like this:

Give cashier basket.
(Cashier begins scanning.)
Dig out bag from purse.
(Cashier puts stuff in bag.)
Get payment ready.
(Cashier finalizes the bill.)
Pay and leave.

If I was busy getting things out of the basket one by one, you can see how that would hold up the process and everybody waiting in line too.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 12:22:16 PM by MacadamiaNut »
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O'Dell

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Have you asked your supervisor for suggestions? You have plenty of options, but the ones you use will depend on store policy. Ideally you and management can find a solution that works for everyone including the customer.

There is nothing wrong with asking a customer to help you out. In fact that's usually how I approached it. "Could you help me by unloading your basket (taking the milk out)?" The customer is just another human on the other side of the counter. Humans usually want to help if you ask nice.
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Zilla

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There is nothing wrong with asking a customer to help you out. In fact that's usually how I approached it. "Could you help me by unloading your basket (taking the milk out)?" The customer is just another human on the other side of the counter. Humans usually want to help if you ask nice.


Regarding the bolded.  When I was a cashier at Winn Dixie upteen years ago, you would be amazed at how many got offended that I asked nicely if they could unload their basket.  Literally 9 out 10 customers got insulted.  1 would ask for my manager who would back me up saying that the baskets are the same as the cart and to please unload.


(I too was short and couldn't reach in easily)


I just kept my mouth shut and would push back the basket and unload it and then scan it.

redcat

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In the supermarket where I work, at the smaller tills we unload from the baskets that the customer puts down on the counter.  However, there are niches in the counter that the basket sits in, making it easy to reach in and pick stuff up.  Once the basket in empty we pick up the basket and place it behind the counter in a kind of trolley until there are enough to put back at the shop entrance.  We prefer customers not to empty the baskets themselves, as then they're left holding an empty basket with nowhere to put it.  On occasions when a customer doesn't have a basket, just a few items, they put them down in the niche.  I'll ask them push anything heavy towards me if it's out of reach, I've only had one person object to pushing anything towards me, and he was a bacon fed knave, so I'm happy to disregard his opinion.

So, no, it isn't rude for customers not to unload baskets themselves, especially if there's nowhere visable for them to put the empty basket.  However, if you're having problems reaching into the baskets, that's an issue in it's own right.  Tills get designed for the average, and if you're short, you should ask your manager about adjustments, like the step someone mentioned upstream.  I have had shoulder problems that required treatment from a physiotherapist, and I think part of that was due to work at the tills.