After working as a supermarket cashier for an extended period of time you begin to see the world a little differently.
First, learn all of your fruits and vegetable. No. Not just the basic ones, all of them. Learn them inside and out. Learn the fruit or vegetable itself. Learn the PLU. Learn whether you need to weigh the fruit or if it’s priced by each.
Look what’s coming down the belt, it’s in a produce bag. It’s green and it’s long. It’s a cucumber. No you’re wrong, look again. See that nub on the end of the vegetable, it looks like a growth. It doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s green squash, or zucchini. 4067. You will know it as 4067, but you must know it’s not a cucumber. 4062. Or a single English cucumber. 4593. They’re longer than your average cucumber, and much thinner.
Time matters. Stop wasting time trying to figure out what kind of apple you’re looking at. If you’re really stuck, look for a sticker. But wait, it probably fell of in the batch of apples over in produce. So that won’t help. What color are they? Yellow. 4020. Green. 4017. Red. 4016. Seasonal apples only come out once a year, the PLU is on the tote the customer brings up to your register.
Never assume you know what something is, until you are completely certain with yourself. Always ask. Just don’t ask the customer. They’re going to get annoyed with you and tell you to get a new job. There’s about six other cashiers around you, turn around and ask.
Make sure you are aware that organic produce is different than regular produce. If the customer is buying organic produce, they need to pay the price difference. If the produce is organic, put a 9 in front of the PLU. Bananas. 4011. Organic Bananas. 94011. Pay attention to the way the items are wrapped, organic produce is usually specially wrapped by a worker, not tossed into a bag by the customer.
Second, learn how to properly bag. Customers are picky when it comes to their food. NEVER put cleaning products in with food products. Even if the food is sealed in a can, the customer will come back and blame something on you. Always place the customers bread aside with their eggs. Eggs and bread get bagged alone, and last. Always last. Go ahead and bag the eggs first. The customer will pick up the bag and put it at the bottom of their cart, then blame it on you when they get home and realize they have scrambled eggs.
NEVER drop the blueberries. The day you do this, your entire day will become hell. You will close down your line, move all of your customers to a new line. Then you will need to pick each individual blueberry off the group so no one steps on them. Maybe, just maybe if you’re lucky enough when you walk to the front closet someone will have remembered to put the broom back where it belongs. If not, get on your hands and knees and sweep them into a pile. Use two brown bags to scoop them up, and whatever you do, do not step on a blueberry.
If you’re lucky enough to have someone help you bag, great. Maybe. Make sure you always watch your bagger. At the end of the day your name is at the top of the receipt, not theirs.
Cans all get bagged together, just not too heavy. Boxed items go together, but don’t rip the bag. No matter what always bag the customers meats by yourself. When chicken guts get on their canned foods, they will come back and blame you once again. Pay attention to what is going on around you at all times. In a short period of time, you will realize you are better off bagging a $700 order of groceries on your own.
Make eye contact with your customers. Make small talk if you have to. Most of the time people appreciate a simple conversation. Talk to them about the items they’re getting. If you know any simple recipes with some items they’re purchasing, suggest it to them. They’re going to want to come back to your line when they see you put effort into your job. Show that you at least like your job.
Avoid trouble with customers, at all cost because it may cost you your job. They’re having a bad day. Maybe they’re just not a people person, but don’t let that get you down. It’s one person. They’ll yell at you for taking too long, but they won’t offer to help you bag their overloading cart of groceries. Take your time. Breath. In a matter of less than five minutes they’ll be gone.
Smile. Always smile. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a terrible day. You are the last face the customer is going to see. You are the deciding factor when they decide to come back to your store, or take their shopping down the road, to the competitor.