The Cold Hard Truth About Cold Hard Cash

, , , , , | Right | September 6, 2019

(My store only has two fully-functioning registers. Register #4 hasn’t worked in years, and register #1’s PIN pad very recently broke, so my cashiers are ringing people out on registers #2 and #3. There are signs all over register #1 saying it doesn’t work, but I’ve had to redirect quite a few customers to the correct registers multiple times. It’s a busy Saturday night. We’re slammed. With only two registers open, the lines are stretching about halfway down the store, and it’s gotten to the point where I see several customers drop their purchases and walk out. I decide to finally do something about the line and grab a cash drawer out of the safe. I print out several signs saying, “CASH ONLY,” in 72-pt font. I open register #1 and make an overhead announcement that the register is open only for cash transactions. Several people join my register, I cash them out, and things are finally moving. A woman with a fairly large order starts putting her items on my belt.)

Me: “Ma’am, this register is cash only. Are you paying with cash?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: *rings up her order* “Your total is $141.72.”

Customer: *hands me two $20s*

Me: “I’ll need about $100 more, please.”

Customer: “I’m paying the rest by card.”

Me: “I can’t do that, ma’am, since this register is cash only.” *gestures to the empty spot where our PIN pad was* “The PIN pad broke a few days ago and we’re waiting on a replacement.”

Customer: “Well, that’s very short-sighted of you. Why open a register if you can’t take cards?”

Me: “This register is still capable of taking cash, ma’am. If you can’t pay for your entire order in cash, then I’m going to ask you to please move to one of the other registers, where one of my cashiers can ring you out by card.”

Customer: “But those are long lines! This is very inconvenient!”

(The lines have shrunk considerably, and she shouldn’t have too long of a wait at either line.)

Me: “I can help you move your items to one of the other registers, if you like.”

Customer: “No! I’m not going anywhere! What kind of store expects people to pay with cash? It’s not my fault you aren’t with the 21st century!”

Me: “Ma’am, registers #2 and #3 are fully capable of taking debit or credit as payment. One of them can check you out. Now, please get out of my line so I can continue to check out customers who are fully paying with cash.”

Customer: *walking away* “This is awful customer service! I’m calling corporate about this!”

(She did. The complaint said I “wouldn’t let her pay by card” and that “customers should be warned about inconveniences like that so their precious time isn’t wasted.” You mean like the announcement I made, the giant “CASH ONLY” signs all over the register, and me telling her it was cash only at the start of the transaction?)

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