• May 23, 2018, 08:17:52 AM

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Author Topic: Is this rude or standard? Etiquette from a cashier's point of view....  (Read 30393 times)

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My fiance and I get into pseudo-arguments over this issue.  He always unloads, I rarely do.  I think this just comes from our different experiences working retail.  I hated when customers unloaded; I worked at JoAnn's, and a lot of the time there would be items that rolled around the counter and onto the floor.  It was really annoying and I preferred customers to just keep their things contained.  It seems neater to me.  Of course, I would never show my annoyance, it just reflects how I feel about the baskets.

My general rule of thumb now is that if there's an obvious spot to stack the baskets, I'll unload.  If there isn't, I don't.  I do think it's on the stores to make it easy on both the customers and the cashiers.  OP's store either needs to provide her a stool to make it easier on her, or make an obvious place for the baskets to go so the customers have a cue that they should unpack and leave the basket.


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As a cashier, I ask the customer to take the heavy items out of the basket, because I'm afraid I'm going to hurt my shoulder. I also put my register on "twilight" and unload the basket, or I tip it on it's side to unload it.

I had a customer say to me while I was unloading the basket, "Oh, I thought you were supposed to scan it as you unload it."

I told him that the powers that be keep track of how many items per hour we scan, and if I scan them as I unload them, it slows me down.

We've had a few very vertically challenged cashiers and they just tip the basket over, as they could not see into it, let alone reach into it to scan it.


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I think that if the store would like customers to unload their own purchases, they should put a sign on the front of the counter that says, "Please unload your purchases onto the counter" and they should get something to set in front that indicates where the baskets should go.

Otherwise, tipping the basket over, or setting it on the floor behind the counter, seem very sensible.

As does the query, "could I ask you to unload your basket?"

In several of the stores I'm in, it's hard for ME to unload the basket because the counters are so high.


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I was one of those people who never unloaded my basket because I assumed it was easier for the cashier to have my items handy and contained. Then a few years ago I read here on eHell that it causes shoulder problems and I've emptied it ever since! I can vouch for customers not having a clue that emptying baskets is preferred, although of course anyone who responds to the request with a hissy fit and demand for the manager is a real snowflake!

I think you'd be fine to ask them to empty it, gently tip it over or take it to the lower counter - whatever works best for you.


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Wow, something I've never thought about before! :) I think sometimes I unload my basket myself, and sometimes I don't, without giving it much thought. I will try to unload the baskets myself from now on, unless I figure out some reason not to, like a very short counter.


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It has been a while since I posted this and there are a few points I would like to comment on. No names mentioned but someone commented that signs should be posted stating that items should be placed on the counter and not left in their buggy/hand cart.

My post was never about changing company policy- it was simply a question about what is considered the most polite way of handling your purchases when approaching a cashier with a hand-held shopping basket (and a designated place to put them)

I have never witnessed anyone placing their entire basket on a belt or counter until I started working retail. It never would have occurred to me to not empty it so the cashier could scan it.  I welcome different perspectives for sure. 

As for the poster who said they either work or shop at Shoppers Drug Mart and that is the way you prefer it to be done- that is where I work as well and I don't. I think it is beyond rude to fill your basket up and then heft it up on the counter in front of the cashier so they have to reach into and pull out your items and scan them and place them in a bag. This might seem petty and not worth mentioning to many but even the owner of the store I work at took her items out of her basket and placed them on my counter and said "I don't want to hurt your shoulders."  Are signs really needed?


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I am 5'7, and a cashier. Those baskets are one of my major annoyances. We, the collective group of cashiers, will tip the baskets on the side, carefully. For heavy items, I ask the customer to lift them out. I have messed up my shoulders from lifting the heavy items out of the baskets.

Nothing irritates me more than when a customer stands in line with one of those baskets and then gets all huffy when I don't rush right through unloading them. We are timed by how long it takes us to ring up items per hour, so I will "sleep" my register, unload a basket, then ring it up. If they say anything, I explain to them that we are timed, and I have to unload it before I can ring it up.

Cell phone users in line are the worst.


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I think it's thoughtless to not unload your basket, not doing so is inefficient and will only slow down the line for others as it creates another step for the cashier.  I always unload my basket and then return the basket to where I got it from inside the door just like I would return a cart.  If I am expected to unload my cart for scanning why would the concept of unloading your hand basket be any different?

A perusal of some employee rant sites out there will drive home the point of how many cashiers loathe the people who expect them to unload hand baskets. 
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

Oh Joy

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I believe it's the cashier's job to unload the basket as part of checkout, and an expected courtesy for the customer to each unload their own unless there's a reason not to.


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Trader Joe's and Woodman's are two grocery stores around here that don't have a conveyer belt.  There is quite literally, no space for a customer to unload either a cart or a basket at those stores and so I don't even try.  I generally will tip the basket over myself, but it needs to be up on the conveyer belt for me to do that and often the cashier will start grabbing stuff out to scan before I can manage to get it tipped over for them.


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I wouldn't say it's rude to not unload the basket, but it does seem inconsiderate. It would never occur to me to just plop a full basket in front of the cashier like that, seems way more efficient all around for me to do it! I think that maybe it depends on the setup of where you're working, as I've heard some people say that where they shop, it's way more convenient for the cashier to do it, but in my city the grocery stores and drugstores are set up that I'd feel like a bit of a heel not doing it myself.

Miss Marple

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Just adding my 2 cents worth. I am in Australia and the unwritten rule is the customer unloads their basket. It is rare I see a customer leave the basket for the cashier to unload.  In over 20 years of shopping I would be struggling to have seen 10 instances of the cashier unloading the basket. I always assumed it was the done thing to unload your basket, as you unload your trolley.

The other thing I have noticed that the majority do, is when they finish unloading they put the barrier behind their items. From my experience when they don't and I politely excuse myself to get it, they will offer a sorry.


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As a rule, I unload the basket.  At Trader Joe's or some other place that does not have a conveyor belt, I don't.  If there's no place to set the empty basket (like beneath the overhang of the conveyor belt), I've concluded that the basket is to set with contents on the conveyor belt (rarely do I encounter this though).  I've never thought customers (either as a customer or cashier) were being rude for not unloading the basket.  I've also never considered a customer rude for not putting down the divider (I have, however, considered them greatly rude for not moving out of the way when done, and I've gotten the impression that some of them are doing it on purpose when they look at me then stay where they are anyway -- with those customers, I will often say "excuse me" and start reaching past them to load the conveyor belt so the person behind me could start doing it when I'm done or so my stuff is ready to go by the time the checker gets to me.

Lady Snowdon

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At the grocery store I shop at (a bit more "upscale" and thus more pricey, but totally worth it!) the carts have a back that lifts up and lies flat, so the cashier can just reach into the cart and pull items out, without having to lift them as well.  I can only imagine how it saves on shoulder/back pains!  I've noticed too that the counters the cashiers stand at are lower than other grocery stores, about waist height for me instead of rib height or taller, so it's not a problem to lift up items from a small basket. 

Everywhere else, I unload my basket/cart as long as there is room to do so.  I figure I'm the one who wants the heavy gallons of milk, or the laundry detergent, so I need to be the one who takes care of putting them where they need to be.  This was solidified (in my mind) after I started working with disability claims, and saw how many people who work in grocery stores go out of need due to needs shoulder repairs, back surgeries, etc.  It's just not healthy to have to lift that much weight every day, especially with some of the awkward positioning required by the cash register. 


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I wouldn't say it's rude to not unload the basket, but it does seem inconsiderate. It would never occur to me to just plop a full basket in front of the cashier like that, seems way more efficient all around for me to do it! I think that maybe it depends on the setup of where you're working, as I've heard some people say that where they shop, it's way more convenient for the cashier to do it, but in my city the grocery stores and drugstores are set up that I'd feel like a bit of a heel not doing it myself.

This. Most places I shop, I can start unloading while the previous customer is paying--more efficient all around. Sometimes this is with a conveyor belt but sometimes it's just a counter--it seems like my items will usually slide along the counter nicely if I just kind of sweep them along with my arm. If I had something messy like a package of raw meat, I'd actually pick it up, but if I'm buying shampoo and allergy meds, it's not even necessary. And then I hold my basket in my arm until it's my turn and usually they take it and put it in a stack behind the register.