Forte: Talent, strength, skill, specialty, excellence, knack, bent. Everyone should be able to acknowledge when they have what it takes to succeed in whatever they do, be it a hobby, profession, vocation, whatever. I have neither the knack, personality, or the interest in my new retirement career: cashier. None of the aforementioned descriptions apply to me but I'm trying. The personality thing...well, it is what it is. My hat is off to all those who have to do this as a living. A new-found appreciation for the job that they do.
How hard can it be? Excruciatingly hard, as it turns out. OMG! I can't believe it. The pain is awful. What pain, Missy? Shoulders, lower back, the muscle in the thumb. Yes, I said thumb! I'm eating aspirins by the handful and going through tubes of rubbing ointment. Not to mention the patches for the shoulders and back. I don't think they have one for the thumb. And let's not forget the feet. Tennis shoes, rubber mats, thick soles, and they hurt like hell at the end of the day. Thank God I only do this three days a week.
Let me take you way back to the day...before plastic bags...when brown paper bags were all that we had. (Down here, a bag is a "sack.") Safeway and Acme were the local grocery stores. Giant wasn't in my neighborhood for several years. There was no such animal as Fresh Foods, Save-a-lot, or Shopper's Food Warehouse. Anyway, there was a cashier at the Safeway who was a master at packing your bag. She was efficient, not a wasted effort, and every item went neatly and perfectly into the bag. Funny isn't it, how those memories come back to you? She was a pro. And I wanted to be, when I was small, just like her.
So back to the question: "How hard can it be?" Hard as hell. No one in my neighborhood had a dog, or one who ate anything other than scraps, so there were no huge bags of dog food to be lifted and scanned. Beer was not sold in the grocery store so those huge cases of beer were not a consideration. Nor were 24-can-cases of sodas or any of the other heavy-assed stuff that people insist upon placing on the belt.
Add to the equation that I hate math (makes my head hurt) so why don't they give up the exact change instead of waiting until the drawer pops open? "Oh, I've got (fill in the blank) cents." Now, I have to figure out how much they should get back. And, I am not trying to make Wally's drawer come up short.
Let's not forget the customers who want their groceries double-bagged or bring their recycled bags and give them to you half-way through the process. Or the WIC recipients who know damned well that they have to give you the voucher up front and all the items have to be grouped together. Frankly, my dear, some of you make a prime case for sterilization. You've got too many damned children, by different fathers, and are content to live on the public dole. It's a privilege, darlin', not a right. That sorry S.O.B. that you are feeding needs a real job. If he has such a wad of cash (you, too, for that matter) then he can afford to feed you and yours.
And speaking of feeding, have you heard of a balanced diet? What's up with a belt full of snacks and sodas? Two and three hundred dollars worth? I was so proud of one young lady who had a voucher for fresh fruit and vegetables. She had a bag of onions and one of white potatoes. Hot damn, girlfriend can make a lot of meals off this. Except, WIC doesn't pay for white potatoes. Sweet potatoes, yes. White potatoes, no. Sweet potatoes and onions? I don't think so. Seems to me that the state programs need to make meal-planning, dietary classes, and shopping effectively a part of the requisites before doling out the vouchers. And how does everyone down here have an EBT card except me?
On to the personality aspect. You know I've already spoken about the habit of throwing the money on the belt instead of putting it in my hand...but your hand is outstretched to receive the change. Sure that I'm going to get reprimanded because I put one man's change on the counter just like he did. I've already had a complaint (and I've only been there two months) because I was rude. Seems like I told a child to sit down in the cart instead of telling the mother. Hell, I don't know if I did or didn't. There were a string of mothers with children standing in the cart, reaching over the belt while it was moving, sitting on the very edge of the cart, horseplay...the whole nine yards. All those chil'ren need to sit down in the damned cart so they won't fall and hurt themselves. Common sense. So I was rude and you were offended? Sorry. You know that my lips are now tightly sealed, right?
Cashiering is definitely not my forte. It has got to get better. If not, Wally or I will have to make a move.
Be safe. Be Blessed.