This Is The Dehumanized Checkout

, , , , , , | Right | November 20, 2018

(I am a cashier in a membership-based wholesale warehouse. We have a food court that is located past the registers; the food court takes only cash. If a member doesn’t have cash, they are directed to the registers where a cashier can ring them up for the food in advance so they can use credit. Most people assume that they can just cut the line — which is almost always long — and pay for the food; this is not the case. I am in the middle of a transaction with a member when I notice a lady hovering towards the end of the register. I assume she is with the member I am currently ringing up so I just smile at her and continue the transaction. When I am finished, I wish the member a good night and start the next transaction. The lady at the end doesn’t leave with the previous member so I turn my attention to her.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I thought you were with the member I was just ringing up, since you were standing at the end of the register. Can I help you?”

Member: “Yes, I want to speak to your manager.”

Me: “I am sorry, but did I do something to upset you? Maybe I can address it.”

Member: “No, it wasn’t you; it was her.” *points at a coworker working nearby*

Me: “Oh, okay, let me grab my supervisor.”

Member: “While you’re at it, ring me up for food. That’s why I was standing here.”

Me: “Oh, I am so sorry, but you are technically supposed to wait in line to pay for food with credit, but maybe you were misinformed about the procedure. Let me finish this transaction and I will ring you up real quick.”

Member: “And don’t forget to get your manager!”

(I realize that she is about to complain about me, and she said it was about my coworker so that I would willingly get a manager thinking I wasn’t in trouble. Knowing this, and also knowing that I did nothing wrong, I grab the supervisor I know pretty well, and who is fully aware that I would never insult or be rude to a customer. My supervisor pulls her to the side where she starts shrieking and pointing at me hysterically. A senior manager gets involved and she shrieks even more. The manager takes her to the refund register where I notice he is giving her the food for free. He and my supervisor later approach me.)

Manager: “That member claimed you made her feel inhuman, and were purposely ignoring her at the end of your register, like an animal. It was as if you personally did not like her and refused to even pretend that she existed. She said she never felt so ignored or dehumanized in her life.”

Me: “She was not standing in line, sir. She was at the end of the register where we load the carts, and she didn’t say a word, so I assumed she was with the member I was currently ringing.”

Manager: “Yes, that would make sense, now, wouldn’t it? But no, she expected you to somehow know she was standing in the wrong place because she wanted food, and when you didn’t acknowledge the food she wanted but did not tell you about, that was terrible customer service and you should be fired.”

Me: “Yes, here we are supposed to read minds. Right, so, I’m fired?”

Manager: “No, I gave her the food for free, and now I am pretending to yell at you until she leaves.”

(I would like to note that since then I have been promoted, and I am now the supervisor that has to deal with these types of people. I never let members step all over my cashiers, and NEVER give them anything for free when my cashiers are simply just doing their jobs.)

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