Author Topic: Is this rude or standard? Etiquette from a cashier's point of view....  (Read 9410 times)

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Jones

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Back when I was a cashier, I don't think the customer ever unloaded their basket; that was all for me to do. There was a spot for the basket to sit, and I reached in to grab the products. Some of the counters had a little cutout for parking the cart, I'd just reach into there and pull those out myself, too. That grocery store is one of two in my town, and it's still that way. The other store has conveyer belts, so carts are unloaded onto it, but I don't think I've seen people with a small basket unload that, just set the basket down. I buy too much for a little basket on a given day, so I haven't had to think of it yet.

turnip

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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?


If you still think it is beyond rude than I'm not sure you are welcoming different perspectives.  I think a lot of good reasons have been given why well-meaning, considerate customers might not unload their baskets.  You do seem to have legitimate health concerns though, and I do think it's something to discuss with your manager - OSHA regulations are generally pretty clear that employees should not have to endure physical harm in order to work.

I used to work at a company that made piece of manufacturing equipment, and one of our guidelines was that a pregnant 5 foot woman and a ( non pregnant  ;) ) 6 foot man both needed to be able to comfortably reach in to the machine to adjust it.  Otherwise it might be rejected purely for employee safety reasons.

oogyda

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I normally unload my basket. When there is enough room on the counter or conveyor belt, I put the basket down for the cashier to deal with.
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Katana_Geldar

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DH and I normally self-checkout as there isn't much. In the off chance we are at a place without it, we unload the basket ourselves and put it on the rack or under the conveyer belt.

TylerBelle

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If I was a cashier, with my height I'd get a step-stool, and if possible, I'd want to purchase my own, that way I'd be in charge of it. As a customer, if the place where I got the basket when I came into the store is relatively close to where I'm checking out, I go put it back there myself after unloading it. ;D
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camlan

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There is one drugstore chain in my area where I put the full basket on the counter. The counter is set up so that there is a tiny bit of space to put things--the basket just fits. You can't unload the basket while the customer in front of you is concluding their transaction--you don't move along the side of the counter, but instead approach the counter at a right angle, so you aren't within arm's reach of the counter until it is your turn to be rung up. And the customer in front of you is blocking the tiny bit of counter, anyway. There is no place to put the basket once it is empty. In fact, you have to give the basket to the cashier to put away someplace behind the counter.

Based on the way the entire line/counter/cashier system is set up in these stores, the expectation is that the cashier will unload the basket and ring up your goods and then put the basket wherever it belongs. If you unload the basket, you are left holding it, and then you have to juggle giving the basket to the cashier at the end of the transaction at the same time the cashier is handing you your bags, receipt and any change.

Mind you, I don't shop there much, because the way things are set up, you get your bags of purchased items, plus your receipt, plus your change--all thrust into your hands at the end, while you are still trying to put away your debit/charge card. Then the cashier reaches around you to grab the next customer's basket, and you have to step awkwardly to the side, usually bumping into another line, as you attempt to put things back into your wallet and your wallet back into your handbag, while dealing with the receipt and not dropping your shopping bags.

I'm sure it is an efficient check-out method for the store. It has successfully kept me from being a regular customer for nearly 20 years. There are other stores with the same prices and easier checkouts to deal with.
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sparksals

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I worked as a cashier for several years in my university days.  I was always perplexed by the people who didn't remove their items from the carrying basket.  It was more difficult for me to reach in to remove the items and it slowed me down considerably.


For those that think it isn't rude not to unload the carrying basket, do you think it would be rude not to unload the cart?  Why is the basket different? 


I think it is inconsiderate to the cashier to leave the basket to empty.  If you unload the cart, which at most stores is a necessity, why on earth don't you unload the basket?  You are creating more work for the cashier.  To me, that is inconsiderate.  Just b/c a cashier is there to do a job, doesn't mean you have to make it more difficult for them.


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sparksals

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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.


The same way they know to unload their cart contents onto the conveyor belt?

Syrse

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I am also at a loss as to why customers seem to think unloading is for the cashier to do? Unless the counter is set up that way.

If there's a misunderstanding, I've always found it works best to ask cheerfully :) Most customers don't mean bad, they just have no idea how it works at the till.

For example, our tills are set up so we load groceries from one cart into the next. We're supposed to work front to back, back to front, so you work sideways, with absolutely no bending over. Sometimes a customer has only a few items, so they're in the back of their cart, which means I am putting them in the front of the next cart. There's a lot of customers who proudly put their bags in the back of the next cart. I usually pull them closer, but it's really mindnumbing how many pull it right back  ::) Again, cheerfully explaining what you're doing helps.

Still, there's customers who will always take offense no matter what. The carts have two levels, and we always put the bottom stuff in the bottom of the other cart. Again working sideways. I once got completely chewed out because I refused to move heavy items top to bottom. Patiently explaining that it was company policy to safeguard our backs did nothing, because I was obviously young and they had no such nonsense 'back in his days'.

As our bosses put it: the customer is there for five minutes. You are here for life. Your health is important. At my job, the cashier is 'boss' at his/her till. While remaining polite and explaining what you do, of course. But nine times out of ten, politely stating 'I am moving your bag so I can reach easier' and 'I am going to move the cart back a bit' gets absolutely no fuss for me. The other one out of ten was grumpy when entering the store, and will probably still be grumpy by the end of the day, so don't take it personal  ;)

My suggestion would be: ask your manager what the policy is, and what he suggests you do in such a scenario. If he tells you to reach up, I would personally refuse. That is hell on your body and will destroy you shoulder in a couple of years.

I vote not rude of the customer though (some genuinely don't know, others zone out), unless they make a fuss once you ask them to unload.


« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 03:54:00 PM by Syrse »

delabela

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In my retail days, I didn't care whether or not they unloaded the basket.  I did not experience any more wear and tear on my body than any of the rest of the job imposed.  But certainly, different people, different experiences.

If there is a conveyor belt, I always unload.  If not, I sometimes do, and sometimes don't - it depends on the set up and how much room there is.  Some places, like Trader Joes, are set up for you to not unload your basket. 

YummyMummy66

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I am not sure if it is rude or not, but then I have never really heard of a rule that says you must empty your basket onto the counter. 

I usually will empty my basket, but I know some cashiers prefer, especially in a drugstore or with small counter space that the basket not be emptied as it is easier for them to pull items out of the basket, scan them and put them right into the bag.

In your case, I am sorry, but I think it is on you or the manager or owner of your store to provide something adequate so that you may do your job properly.  That may either be a stool or a chair or something along those lines. 

It is not the customer's fault that your height does not coincide with that of the counter's height.

You might be able to ask the manager if you may post a sign, when you are on duty, that states to please empty your basket onto the counter, but that might not solve your problem.  What if there are items that are still not within your reach? 

SingActDance

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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.


The same way they know to unload their cart contents onto the conveyor belt?

Not analogous. When items are in a cart, the cashier can't reach the items at all. Putting a basket on the counter right in front of a cashier gives them easy access to the items.
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Coruscation

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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.


The same way they know to unload their cart contents onto the conveyor belt?

Not analogous. When items are in a cart, the cashier can't reach the items at all. Putting a basket on the counter right in front of a cashier gives them easy access to the items.
I worked as a cashier for several years in my university days.  I was always perplexed by the people who didn't remove their items from the carrying basket.  It was more difficult for me to reach in to remove the items and it slowed me down considerably.


For those that think it isn't rude not to unload the carrying basket, do you think it would be rude not to unload the cart?  Why is the basket different? 


I think it is inconsiderate to the cashier to leave the basket to empty.  If you unload the cart, which at most stores is a necessity, why on earth don't you unload the basket?  You are creating more work for the cashier.  To me, that is inconsiderate.  Just b/c a cashier is there to do a job, doesn't mean you have to make it more difficult for them.


All you's general.

Well, I'm short too, so if I use the checkout with the conveyor, I am exactly the same height from the groceries as the cashier. So if it hurts them, it hurts me and I've just been carrying it around the store for fifteen minutes. Sometimes with heavy stuff that I should have gotten a trolley for inside. Some cashiers do have a stool, so it is actually more convenient for them. If I use a trolley, the groceries are way down out of the cashiers reach where they can't reach them so it is obvious that I need to lift them.

Usually, if I only have a basket, I go to the ten items or less checkout because I have ten items or fewer. There is a small cutout the size of the basket there where I am going to assume the basket goes. It brings the basket into what I assume is the perfect height as I have had cashiers take items out while I am still unzipping my cloth bag or guiding small children out of the walkway (when my kids were small).

I am always perplexed if the cashier doesn't do their job and instead expects the customer to it. There are usually things I can be doing to speed up the transaction like getting out my fuel receipt (our stores give you back a small amount if you present a fuel receipt) and my debit card. Until this thread I had never heard of stores timing the cashiers from the time the checkout if unlocked. I had always assumed that the entire transaction should be efficient. Usually my attention is on keeping things moving for the other customers and preventing the cashier from putting cans on top of my bread in an inconsiderate manner (don't they teach packing these days).

katycoo

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There have been a couple of instances in the past where I didn't unload (I don't remember why now, perhaps because there was only a few things? It doesn't matter) and the cashier tipped the basket onto its side for her to access.   I didn't like that as all my groceries fall to the side and if there's fruit and vege in there its gets bruised so now I always unload myself.

dawbs

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When I last worked retail, at a place w/o conveyer belts and w/o a scanner (had to key things into the registers), I didn't mind at all unloading baskets; like someone up-thread said, it made it easier to keep wee-small bits contained (otherwise things would roll away and I'd be chasing them under counters).

I really think, if this is causing a problem, you need a way to tell the customer because I find it hard to say customers are intentionally rude when they're doing what is preferred under other circumstances.