Author Topic: Please, let me do my job!  (Read 2876 times)

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TexasRanger

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Please, let me do my job!
« on: September 14, 2012, 11:38:33 AM »
I am a bagger in a regional chain of grocery stores. When stuff comes down the belt I will put the fragile things (bread, eggs, produces) off to the side so it doesn't get damaged. Sometimes I get customers who will move whatever the item is and put it back in the "stream" of groceries.  >:( Worse, some of these customers are the type who will rant and rave if you put their bread on top of their eggs.  What is a polite way to say, "Please leave that there.".  To clarify, these people aren't helping to bag, they're either staring at me or talking on their cell phone.
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 11:56:56 AM »
Can you place it on the other side, away from them, so they can't reach it?  Other than that, not sure how to politely convey to them to keep their hands off!

Jones

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 12:05:24 PM »
I remember those people well.  >:(

There's the passive aggressive "Oh dear, I thought I put that bread over here, but now it's getting run over by cans! I'll just move it back."

As for the bread and eggs, I had a man ream me once because his eggs were ruined last time. I apologized and asked what had happened. Apparently, upon reaching his home, he had just dropped the bag with the bread in it into the freezer without unpacking the loaf. Because he hadn't known the eggs were under the bread, they were dropped into the freezer too and therefore froze and were useless.

It was all I could do to not ask him "Did you really think a loaf of bread weighed that much? And who tosses groceries into the freezer without unpacking the bag anyhow?" but I did not. I simply asked him to be sure to remind us in the future if he needs certain things separate, as we bag certain things together and get into a habit we might not remember he has a special preference.

TexasRanger

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 12:23:15 PM »
Can you place it on the other side, away from them, so they can't reach it?  Other than that, not sure how to politely convey to them to keep their hands off!

It could be on the other side of the register and they will reach clear across (basically laying on anything that is on the belt at the time ::)) just to move a loaf of bread.
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Moray

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 12:25:58 PM »
I guess you could move it again and say "Oh, I don't want this to get crushed while I bag your other items" with a sincere smile, but I suppose the best thing to do is just ignore it and leave it sitting wherever they put it while you bag the other groceries.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 12:33:06 PM »
It may be your job, but it's their groceries.

So, don't take it too personally. (I know how you feel, though.)

siamesecat2965

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 12:44:31 PM »
Can you place it on the other side, away from them, so they can't reach it?  Other than that, not sure how to politely convey to them to keep their hands off!

It could be on the other side of the register and they will reach clear across (basically laying on anything that is on the belt at the time ::)) just to move a loaf of bread.

So I guess having a stick to smack them on the knuckles when they do that is out of the question?

TexasRanger

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 12:47:48 PM »
It may be your job, but it's their groceries.

So, don't take it too personally. (I know how you feel, though.)

Its more, I don't want me or the cashier to be blamed if something is broken/crushed because while I was doing something else, they put the eggs/bread/fruit in front of a giant jar of pickles. Management believes customers are deities and will always take their side. I don't want to take chances.

I've stopped taking things personal long ago, from the customer saying he wanted the "pretty girl" to bag for him or the middle aged man saying I, in his words, "look like a monkey with down's syndrome" :o.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2012, 12:58:20 PM »
In which case, I'd suggest something like, "I hoped to keep that safe in a separate bag."

or a question, "Don't you want to keep the chemicals away from the food?"

Or, "Shall I make a place for all the fragile things?"

"Will you be able to handle a heavy bag with all the canned goods?"

Think about what they might be trying to accomplish and then offer to help them to that goal.

O'Dell

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 01:37:04 PM »
It may be your job, but it's their groceries.

So, don't take it too personally. (I know how you feel, though.)

Its more, I don't want me or the cashier to be blamed if something is broken/crushed because while I was doing something else, they put the eggs/bread/fruit in front of a giant jar of pickles. Management believes customers are deities and will always take their side. I don't want to take chances.

I've stopped taking things personal long ago, from the customer saying he wanted the "pretty girl" to bag for him or the middle aged man saying I, in his words, "look like a monkey with down's syndrome" :o.

Does the bolded mean that employees actually are disciplined on the say so of a customer? Or does it mean that the manager fixes the problem for the customer and never speaks to the employee that the customer blamed?
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Cleargleam

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 01:44:47 PM »
:hugs: These are the same kind of people who will take something from a waitress' tray, then be stunned if (when) everything on the tray spills. 

I have no advice for you, OP, but lots of hugs. 

cicero

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 02:10:41 PM »
hugs.

as the fragile stuff comes down the belt and you put it aside - can you say out loud (to the customer) "i'm just going to put these here for a minute so they don't get crushed"


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TootsNYC

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 03:14:53 PM »
Or just always ask, "Do you have any special bagging requests, beyond the basics?"


That will indicate that you are actually *paying attention* to what you are doing as a bagger and will make you instantly seem more trustworthy.

And it will offer an opportunity for them to say, "Yes, I want to keep all the canned goods in a single bag" or wahtever.

TexasRanger

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 03:35:56 PM »
It may be your job, but it's their groceries.

So, don't take it too personally. (I know how you feel, though.)

Its more, I don't want me or the cashier to be blamed if something is broken/crushed because while I was doing something else, they put the eggs/bread/fruit in front of a giant jar of pickles. Management believes customers are deities and will always take their side. I don't want to take chances.

I've stopped taking things personal long ago, from the customer saying he wanted the "pretty girl" to bag for him or the middle aged man saying I, in his words, "look like a monkey with down's syndrome" :o.

Does the bolded mean that employees actually are disciplined on the say so of a customer? Or does it mean that the manager fixes the problem for the customer and never speaks to the employee that the customer blamed?

Disciplined and whole  new systems implemented.
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O'Dell

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Re: Please, let me do my job!
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2012, 05:17:33 PM »
Thanks for the clarification, TR. That's just bad management then. I asked because when I worked in retail, managers would seem to take the unreasonable customer at their word and then pretend like it never happened. Or even sometimes tell the employee that they had done fine and to never mind people like that...just do their job the best they can. Some employees would claim that managers sided with the customer, but the managers really weren't. They were just getting rid of complainers without wasting a lot of time and effort.

I like the idea of letting the customer know what you are doing when you are doing it. Particularly if you can begin spotting the troublemakers...either thru repeated problems or you start to see the signs. "Let me just put this fragile item over here." Or you could bag that item and set it to the side so it's obvious that you aren't forgetting it, but protecting it. It also might help if some cashiers wouldn't push fragile items into the flow but would turn and place them to the side. Asking them to do that depends on your system and your relationship with them.

You might also ask what they want done or point out where the fragile item is. "Do you mind if the cans go on top of the eggs?" or "I put the hand weights on top of the light bulbs, so be careful with that one." I used to say things like that. It shows you are engaged and then maybe they feel more comfortable saying something rather than reaching and interfering.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman