So Much For Out-Of-The-Books Thinking

| Working | December 14, 2012

(It’s the holidays, and I have a seasonal job as a cashier at a large, national bookstore. To reiterate, I am a cashier, which means I am stationed at the cash register. There are floor associates, who walk the floor and help customers find items. The following happens while I’m off the clock on my lunch break.)

Customer: “Excuse me, do you work here?”

Me: “Yes, I do.”

Customer: “Great, I was just hoping you could point me in the right direction. I’m looking for Monty Python’s Best of John Cleese.”

(Note: This would have cost her about $15. I’m also a HUGE fan of Python and British comedy in general.)

Me: “Ah, I’m sorry! We actually just sold that earlier today. If you’d like, [coworker] can order that for you and we can have it in about two weeks.”

Customer: “Oh. I really wanted to give it to my boyfriend for his birthday tonight. Do you have any suggestions?”

Me: “Yes, actually! BBC has just released a box set that contains all of the Python episodes plus tons of bonus materials. We also have this 365 Days of Python tear-away calendar.”

(The customer buys the box set ($200), the calendar ($20), and a compilation of best British stand up ($20). So, she ends up spending about $240 when she’d planned to spend only $15. However, my manager grabs me on my way back to the break room.)

Manager: “What are you doing?! You are a cashier. There are people here whose job is to talk to the customers. Go do your job!”

Me: “Um, I just talked a customer into spending FIFTEEN TIMES the amount of money she’d intended to. And you’re upset about this sale?”

Manager: “It’s not your job!”

Me: “Serving customers is not my job in this customer service position? Really?”

Manager: “YOU’RE A CASHIER! GO BACK TO YOUR REGISTER!”

Me: “I’M OFF THE CLOCK! And you’re welcome for the TWO HUNDRED FORTY DOLLAR SALE that [coworker] wouldn’t have been able to make because he doesn’t know the genre.”

(Needless to say, my seasonal job did not turn into a long-term position. This large, national bookstore chain collapsed under bankruptcy and closed last year. I was neither sad nor surprised. At my current job, if an employee makes a $200+ sale, we get a certificate of recognition and a 40% discount on an entire purchase!)


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