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Author Topic: Comments free with purchase  (Read 6915 times)

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citadelle

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Comments free with purchase
« on: June 22, 2013, 05:21:58 PM »
I was at the grocery store this afternoon with my husband and daughter. It is a small chain store in the next town over. We had a full cart of groceries to check out. Cigarettes are behind the service counter and you have to ask to purchase them, and I phrased my request as a question: "Can I get two packs of Favorite Brand, please?"

The cashier responded, "No." I assumed she was joking and chuckled a little. She continued, "Smoking is bad for you!"

I responded, "Really? No kidding!" Again, with a smile. We bantered a little, and then she said to my 9-year-old daughter, "You should really tell your mom to quit smoking."

I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable, but continued to treat the situation lightly and replied, "Don't worry, she does!" She continued to check out the groceries, and then began the banter about smoking again.

In a laughing but firm tone, I said, "You and the smoking! Move on already!" Since we had been bantering, I felt justified in getting my point across in a pointed yet light manner. Or so I thought. She looked hurt and said, "I was just kidding." She would not look at or really even speak to me for the rest of the transaction. I was polite and remained friendly, thanking her, etc.

Now, neither one of us was really joking, I guess. It was one of those situations where you laugh and smile, but are actually pretty serious about what you are saying. On the other hand, she had a point in that I had gone along with the banter up until that point.

I know smoking is bad for you. I honestly don't think you can live in the world at this point and not know that. She probably had a loved one who was sick or deceased from smoking, or maybe she was sick herself and she hates smoking. But cigarettes are legal and for sale in the store so I think I should be able to buy them without a lecture. 

So... assuming she should not comment on a customer's purchase (I can assume that, right?), did I make a mistake in bantering rather than being firm from jump? Was my ultimate comment out of line? Since smoking is such a huge issue, am I supposed to expect this kind of judgement? What is a better way to handle it?

Pen^2

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 05:47:41 PM »
"So kind of you to take an interest" might have worked fine. But it's a sudden and uncomfortable situation to be put into, to which most people (including myself) would respond with light banter and jokes.
The moment she refused to listen to you and kept on insisting (and telling your daughter what to do! Talk about massively overstepping the boundaries!) I would have come down much firmer, however. She gets one free pass, but that's it.
If it happens again, I would talk to the manager. Depending on how bad it was, I would consider talking to the manager now, actually. I know I wouldn't be comfortable bringing my daughter back if I knew that woman might try to get her to help be judgemental about me. It depends on how you feel about the chance that it could happen again.

Betelnut

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 06:08:00 PM »
I think your ultimate comment was fine--she was out of line to start that conversation in the first place.  Frankly, unless there were absolutely no option, I probably would stop shopping at that store--I despise when people make comments on my purchases.
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Library Dragon

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 06:13:40 PM »
You were fine.  She should be embarrassed.  The cashier was way out of line.  As anti-smoking as I am if I worked some place that sells cigarettes I'd have to shut my mouth and make any legal sales. 

I feel for your daughter.  How awkward for her to be called out like that.  You supported her in your response. 

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*inviteseller

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 06:15:44 PM »
She is paid to ring up your purchases (including cigarettes) not make judgements on your life style choices.  She was out of line and you were fine.  If she has a problem with people smoking, she needs to find a job where she is not responsible for selling them.

peaches

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 08:57:57 PM »
I wish stores would teach checkers and sales associates to avoid making personal comments of any kind to customers.

A lot of them are young and inexperienced, and they need training in appropriate behavior around customers.

My pet peeve is when a cashier refers to me by name (because I'm using a reward card and the cash register brings up that information). This always creeps me out. I don't want my name used (what if the next person in line is a stalker?). I find it off-putting. It's a false sense of relationship (we aren't friends).

citadelle

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2013, 09:10:26 PM »
You were fine.  She should be embarrassed.  The cashier was way out of line.  As anti-smoking as I am if I worked some place that sells cigarettes I'd have to shut my mouth and make any legal sales. 

I feel for your daughter.  How awkward for her to be called out like that.  You supported her in your response.

I felt for my daughter, too! Why drag her into it?

I just ended up feeling like I had hurt the cashier's feelings, like I'd gone along and then gotten snippy. If she had just dropped it, I would have too but she wouldn't stop. I am usually pretty tolerant of others, but it crossed a line for me. I don't know why it bothers me that she got pouty, why do I care? But the reaction caused me to feel like I was in the wrong, that I was too harsh.

veronaz

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2013, 09:18:31 PM »
When she said "No, smoking is bad for you" I would have repeated the request, then if she refused I would have politely asked for a supervisor/manager.

I would not have bantered with her.

I would also call and talk to the manager.  She needs to keep her editorial commentary to herself - whether it's about cigarettes, beer, lottery tickets, tabloids or whatever.  She is paid to ring up sales and collect money.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 09:21:49 PM by veronaz »

TootsNYC

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2013, 10:50:15 PM »
You were fine.  She should be embarrassed.  The cashier was way out of line.  As anti-smoking as I am if I worked some place that sells cigarettes I'd have to shut my mouth and make any legal sales. 

I feel for your daughter.  How awkward for her to be called out like that.  You supported her in your response.

I felt for my daughter, too! Why drag her into it?

I just ended up feeling like I had hurt the cashier's feelings, like I'd gone along and then gotten snippy. If she had just dropped it, I would have too but she wouldn't stop. I am usually pretty tolerant of others, but it crossed a line for me. I don't know why it bothers me that she got pouty, why do I care? But the reaction caused me to feel like I was in the wrong, that I was too harsh.

She intended it to.
That was *VERY* manipulative. Perhaps it was instinctive and not a deliberate manipulation, but it was manipulation nonetheless.

She deserved to feel embarrassed--she was in the wrong. And instead of being a grownup and taking the lumps that she created for herself, she did the little kid thing and pouted, which is absolutely a ploy to make you feel bad.

It is when a little kid does it, and it's no less pouty when a grownup down it.

"I was kidding"--yeah, right.

sweetonsno

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2013, 12:25:41 AM »
You were fine, especially if you kept it light when you asked her to move on.

She shouldn't have made the comment, even if it was supposed to be lighthearted. I don't think you necessarily need to go straight to super firm, but don't joke around. "Yes, I know they are bad for me. I choose to smoke anyway/It's a very difficult addiction to kick/I'm trying to quit/Whatever." Or, if you prefer a softer approach, "I appreciate your concern for my well-being, but I'm well aware of the risks of smoking already. Thank you for understanding."
You have just begun reading the sentence you have just finished reading.

Library Dragon

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2013, 02:16:49 AM »
You were fine.  She should be embarrassed.  The cashier was way out of line.  As anti-smoking as I am if I worked some place that sells cigarettes I'd have to shut my mouth and make any legal sales. 

I feel for your daughter.  How awkward for her to be called out like that.  You supported her in your response.

I felt for my daughter, too! Why drag her into it?

I just ended up feeling like I had hurt the cashier's feelings, like I'd gone along and then gotten snippy. If she had just dropped it, I would have too but she wouldn't stop. I am usually pretty tolerant of others, but it crossed a line for me. I don't know why it bothers me that she got pouty, why do I care? But the reaction caused me to feel like I was in the wrong, that I was too harsh.

IMO she got pouty because you responded.  She was attempting to bully you.  Bullies will often get upset if they don't get their way. 

Again IMO, you feel "in the wrong" because you care about other people's feelings.  You don't want to be mean, cause hurt, or embarrass others.  When the cashier reacted by pouting you felt guilty.  It doesn't matter that you had nothing to feel guilty for. I often have the same reaction.  I don't want to offend and will brood over something I've said that the other person has long forgotten. 

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Waterlight

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2013, 03:00:18 AM »
You were fine, especially if you kept it light when you asked her to move on.

She shouldn't have made the comment, even if it was supposed to be lighthearted. I don't think you necessarily need to go straight to super firm, but don't joke around. "Yes, I know they are bad for me. I choose to smoke anyway/It's a very difficult addiction to kick/I'm trying to quit/Whatever." Or, if you prefer a softer approach, "I appreciate your concern for my well-being, but I'm well aware of the risks of smoking already. Thank you for understanding."

THIS. 

Also THIS:

Quote from: veronaz
I would also call and talk to the manager.  She needs to keep her editorial commentary to herself - whether it's about cigarettes, beer, lottery tickets, tabloids or whatever.  She is paid to ring up sales and collect money.

She does not get a free pass from me either.  If I'd been the cashier, I would never have commented on the cigarettes--and FWIW, my dad died of a smoking-related illness!  Her comments were inappropriate regardless of any "history" that may or may not have been behind them.
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juliasqueezer

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 10:15:42 AM »
This is reminiscent of an experience I had a few years ago. My reaction may not be e-hell approved, but at the time, I was in no mood.

I had attended a concert with a friend. I'd been given the tickets as a gift and asked her to come along, as she always raved about the band. In a nutshell, it was awful. The warm up band was horrible, the venue was packed and hot, the headline band was late and had sound problems, performed a couple of songs and stalked off the stage. My friend complained loudly, non-stop. I felt terrible. I was miserable. My friend (now ex-friend) was shouting at me as if I'd purposely ruined her night, with a FREE ticket to the concert!

What, I thought to myself, would make me feel better? Aha! Food!

At that time, I had lost a lot of weight and was still losing, but I was gradually permitting myself little treat-meals here and there.

I was hungry for bacon. As in bacon and eggs for breakfast in a few hours.

So on the way home (and it was a long drive, so I had plenty of time to fantasize about what a great breakfast I was going to fix) I stopped at a small, local 24-hour market. I grabbed a package of bacon and headed to the checkout counter.

The cashier, a young, cute thing (unlike myself) started in on how fattening bacon is, how she can never eat it because she's "alla-time" watching her figure, blah blah blah. I was not only dumbfounded but still in a really foul mood.

I said "never mind, cancel the sale", picked up the bacon and started walking to the refrigerated section at the back of the store. The manager was coming out from the back just then and said "Can I help you?" and I said "No, thanks. I was going to buy this bacon but your cashier reminded me just how fattening it is, so I'm putting it back." 

I left and went home. At that point, I didn't care if the dumb cow lost her job. As I said, not e-hell approved.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2013, 11:14:17 AM »
If she isn't willing to sell cigarettes without comment, she needs to be working at a different counter (or a different store altogether).  When she was behind that counter, she was a representative of the store - not of her own personal beliefs.

citadelle

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Re: Comments free with purchase
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2013, 12:25:16 PM »
You were fine.  She should be embarrassed.  The cashier was way out of line.  As anti-smoking as I am if I worked some place that sells cigarettes I'd have to shut my mouth and make any legal sales. 

I feel for your daughter.  How awkward for her to be called out like that.  You supported her in your response.

I felt for my daughter, too! Why drag her into it?

I just ended up feeling like I had hurt the cashier's feelings, like I'd gone along and then gotten snippy. If she had just dropped it, I would have too but she wouldn't stop. I am usually pretty tolerant of others, but it crossed a line for me. I don't know why it bothers me that she got pouty, why do I care? But the reaction caused me to feel like I was in the wrong, that I was too harsh.

IMO she got pouty because you responded.  She was attempting to bully you.  Bullies will often get upset if they don't get their way. 

Again IMO, you feel "in the wrong" because you care about other people's feelings.  You don't want to be mean, cause hurt, or embarrass others.  When the cashier reacted by pouting you felt guilty.  It doesn't matter that you had nothing to feel guilty for. I often have the same reaction.  I don't want to offend and will brood over something I've said that the other person has long forgotten.

Yeah, I have kind of a hard time with confrontation. I always try to use humor to keep it light, but it kind of backfired on me this time. I really didn't want to be mean or embarrass her, even though I was embarrassed myself.