As many of my friends and family in real life know, I now have a great paying job at an up-and-coming store. It isn’t Walmart, but just for security reasons I’m not going to tell you the actual name of the store because something-something-policy-blah and the fact that I’m not store Corporate. What I am though, is a grocery clerk and checker (yes, totally classy) and in my first few weeks at working in retail, I already have a few interesting tales to tell.
Since I have a little less time to add food to this blog, I’ll add stories instead! Now, without further ado, I present to you, the (slightly) embelished tales of my time in retail so far. This week’s episode brings us an interesting viewpoint on Millenials, and two women in burqas arguing about the price of a picnic table.
1 – A tale of two tables
This was a few days after I started work, and while It wasn’t at a store that I worked at, it was at a retail store, so that counts. I was looking at some bath towels when I heard two female voices arguing in a foreign language. I turned around to see two women in burqas bickering and gesturing wildly at the foldable picnic tables that were on clearance. There were multiple tables in a wide variety of sizes, but they were all the same price for this sale. I was thinking that maybe they needed some help, and was about to get an employee for them when one of the burqa gals burst out, in a strong American accent “STOP BEING CHEAP! THEY’RE ALL THE SAME PRICE!” and with a huff, she hefted one off the larger tables into their cart and pushed it away, the other woman muttering in tow.
2 – It’s the great pumpkin, Mrs. Aanderson!
I was checking on a Thursday afternoon, and we’ve had our Autumn displays up for a while, so a lot of people were buying Pumpkins, squash, gourds, and lovely wreaths. One of the customers was a regular, a one Mrs. Aanderson (this isn’t her real name, and even if it were, this is Minnesota. We have a lot of Aandersons.) and her little boy. This little boy was always extremely well behaved in the store, never knocking stuff down, never throwing fits. So, according to my store’s policy, the cutey got all sorts of little freebies. Little balloons, lollypops, flowers… nothing expensive or anything, just cute little things that kids like. This little boy, however, didn’t want any lollypops or flowers. For whatever reason, every time he and his mom came into the store, they had to get him a miniature pumpkin. These mini-pumpkins ran anywhere from .25 cents to a dollar. So he got his little pumpkin, and because the pumpkins were so cheap, he was able to get a lot of them because his mom had a rewards card of some sort. Naturally, these pumpkins stacked up over time. Mrs. Aanderson’s apartment is, according to her, “filled with pumpkins.” that her son wanted to pick up every time they ran errands.
2 – Exorcist
Every grocery store has one. That one check-out till that seems as if it’s possessed by ancient demons. Scanning stuff when it isn’t supposed to, or not scanning at all. In my store, it’s register 10. I have no idea what spirits take control of that machine, but they have caused it to rip up important checks when it should have scanned, it read Kool-Aid packages as coupons for bananas, it blatantly refused to scan oranges, eggs, and hedge-balls. It occasionally refuses to turn on. The phone rings on it’s own. The salt-circles haven’t been effective.
The worst of register 10 came when a frail, elderly woman needed to buy her food for the week. She decided to pay with a check, the check that was probably her entire income for the month. What did the machine do to it?
As I stood there, going through the “Did you find everything okay? Great! Do you have our [insert generic rewards card]?” script and finished scanning. The sweet little lady talked about her kids, grand kids, and this sweet little dog she met on her way to the store that day. She finished writing out the check and inserted it into the machine.
And with that, the front half of her check was jammed and shredded into the machine. Jammed so badly, in fact, that my supervisor had to come over, turn off the machine, and pull the remains of the check out with a pencil. We were able to tape it back together and explain the situation to accounting, but Checkout 10 has stayed closed since.
3 – Yo no creo que nadie en realidad va a molestar a la traducción de esta frase.
I was working register 6, when a family came through with a large amount of produce. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, except that every single item that they bought was sold by weight, and not by unit.
This meant that I had to take the fruit from the bag, lay it on the scale, wait for the scale to respond, type that number into the till, and wait again as it registered. Because my till has issues, I kept having to zero out the scale (meaning reset it) in order for it to accept anything on top of it. Around the fourth time I did this, a little blue light lit up above the scale and, for whatever reason, the till began speaking spanish.
“Restablecer la escala pulsando el botón ‘cero’.”
It repeated this several times before shutting down, meaning I had to find my supervisor to help fix it. After that family had left, it was about an hour or two before it, once again, proclaimed:
“Restablecer la escala pulsando el botón “cero”.“
I still don’t know why it was speaking spanish.
So that wraps up today’s episode! I’ll be back soon with more fun from retail!