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Time To Register A Complaint With The Head Office

, , , , , | Working | June 23, 2022

I am a cashier at a supermarket chain. On our system, no matter what method of payment the customer uses, the process is the same: payment is confirmed, the drawer opens, and then the receipt prints.

Today, I open a register and everything is normal at first. Then, an hour and a half after I first start using this register, the drawer doesn’t open. Payment is confirmed and then the receipt prints. There’s no sign that the system has even tried to open the drawer. The customer pays by card, so that’s no big deal. But it doesn’t open for the next customer or the next. I finally get someone who pays with cash, and the inevitable happens. The drawer doesn’t open. That’s when I discover that it won’t open when I input my password, either. I immediately put the cash and receipt underneath a nearby weight and call a supervisor.

The person who comes is new to her position. All she can do is watch me try to open my drawer, verify that the problem is as I described, and go back to the office. Two more senior people come over: [Assistant Bookkeeper] and [Manager]. They both watch me try to open the drawer. Then, they look around the register testing various systems, making sure the electricity works, etc. The whole time, the customer is standing there waiting for his change. He has a good sense of humor about it.

Customer: “My wife always says things like this might happen! If she were here now, she’d be laughing up a storm. I’m just glad I didn’t get the ice cream.”

The only thing they don’t try is the one thing I thought they would do first.

Me: “Can’t you manually open it?”

Assistant Bookkeeper: “We don’t have a key for them.”

Me: “Why do they have keyholes if there’s no key?”

Assistant Bookkeeper: “I don’t know.”

Twenty minutes pass. They bring out tools to try to pry open the box that holds the drawer. It resists pliers, screwdrivers, and a hammer. A would-be thief would need a blowtorch to open this thing. [Assistant Bookkeeper] reads the receipt to find out how much change [Customer] should have gotten and gives him that amount directly from the office so he can leave.

Finally, [Manager] goes back to the office. He roots around for a while and comes back out with a key that has a very distinctive red tag attached. The key opens the drawer.

Assistant Bookkeeper: “[Senior Bookkeeper] told me that she was absolutely sure we didn’t have a key for these things!”

[Manager] just shrugged.

I put the money in my drawer and closed it to sign out. Signing out didn’t open the drawer, either; he had to use the key again. I moved to another register and began to check out customers from the line that had built up while this was happening.

There is a silver lining to this story. As I moved to the other register, I heard [Assistant Bookkeeper] tell [Manager] that they had to get the head office to do something. Three weeks before, another register had its belt stop moving. The head office has been stubborn about sending anyone in to fix it, even with Easter approaching. The store managers have been of the opinion that as long as the head office won’t do anything, there’s nothing they can do. But TWO registers down, out of seven, with Easter approaching? I have a feeling the head office is going to get as many phone calls as it takes to annoy them into sending a maintenance team very soon.

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