I just came back from a super grocery store whose name rhymes with "Chalmart." I got 10 things and went to a short checkout line because, in my mind, short is supposed to take less time. I decided to treat myself to an ice cream Snickers bar and added it to the conveyor belt. I was in line for about 3 minutes before it dawned on me the belt hadn't been moving. Looking back, I wonder if the line was short because everyone else was already aware of the situation. The situation was that the cashier was less-than-fast. He was less-than-efficient. He may have been less-than-awake.
George was a non-smiling older gentleman. He seemed undecided as to whether he wanted his lane light ON, OFF, or FLASHING. I watched him use all three options every few minutes, at least 3 times. It was like a Checkout Disco. (If only I had been wearing silver platform shoes and a gold polyester dress.)
I noticed George fumbling with the purchases of the person ahead of me and then realized he had been for quite some time. I saw conversation happen between the cashier and the customer. The light went off, came on, back off, and then flashed. I heard the customer say "I can just pay with cash." The light went off.
By the time it was my turn up to bat, I had had 2 birthdays and my ice cream bar looked softish. George clearly did not want to be there. I watched him fumble with my purchases. I asked him if he was looking forward to going home (he was) and asked when his shift ended (1 am, which was 6.5 hours away). My questions seemed to throw his concentration off, so I waited until he finished ringing me up before I nonchalantly asked how long he'd been working there (about 4 months).
I happened to have some cash on me so I paid for half of my total with cash and was about to hand him my debit card when George closed out my transaction and put my bills in the till. A less honest person could have said, "Bye! Have a good evening" and George would have totally let them walk out with half-priced groceries. But I pointed out, "I still need to pay the rest."
George seemed inconvenienced by this. He couldn't remember how much cash I had given him. He played around with the disco light again and got someone to help him. I knew Irma had authority because she looked stressed and she had a walkie-talkie. (I only know of three jobs that involve walkie-talkies: the police, the secret service, and the commander of grocery cashiers. Perhaps, my grocery store has an army? And maybe their aged greeters are actually trained ninja assassins.) George kept telling Irma I paid with less cash than I had given him, which kind of bugged me. She unloaded my purchases and re-rang them up. George walked away. Just like that.
"He seems to be having a hard day," I said.
Then, she said, "He's not a cashier."
"He stocks shelves but when we're busy, we have him man a lane."
OK, I know that being a cashier does not require specialization like say, a heart surgeon or a ninja assassin, HOWEVER, shouldn't the person handling people's cash and credit cards know how to, at least, use a cash register? This falls just below going to the gynecologist's office and finding out that your exam was done by a bored janitor.
Had my baby not been fussing for dinner, I would have taken the time to make an a-gasped scene about my fake cashier. (Irma, thank the baby. Thank the baby.)
When I finally got to my car, I looked for my delicious ice cream Snickers bar. George had thrown it into a bag with some glass jars. I found my treat under a heavy jar of natural peanut butter. The package was flat. Had my baby not been fussing, I would have gone back in and gotten a replacement. (Chalmart, thank the baby. Thank the baby.) I drank my tube of melted ice cream, crushed chocolate bits, and peanut pieces. Hmph.
Well, at least George has their bagging techniques down pat.