One of the benefits of on-line shopping, besides not having to change out of your comfy flannel pajama pants and warm hoodie to brave the arctic blasts of winter, is the lack of a human cashier. Now I don’t mean to sound rude or anti-social, nor am I trying to eliminate anyone’s job, but I do have a pet peeve involving some cashiers…they can be SO DARN NOSY! Yes, I’m depositing all of the objects that I want to purchase on your conveyor belt or counter. Yes, there is no hiding what I am buying. Yes, I am a human being who might help end your boredom, however, why do some cashiers find it necessary to make a comment about one or more, or all of the items a person is purchasing? What makes this bottle of Tylenol, that box of Kleenex, or that bar of soap SO interesting that you have to comment about each item you scan? Sometimes I feel like someone must have stuck a, “Please make unnecessary, and possibly embarrassing, comments about every item I am buying,” sign on my forehead.
I was in a certain bookstore some time ago buying some of my favorite tea and a book. All I wanted to do was buy said items, get in my car, and go home. Unfortunately, I saw that I was next in line for the chatty cashier who thinks he’s auditioning for a spot on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” There is nothing funny about the tea I am buying nor the book I am going to read, yet he just finds it all so hilarious. I try to hide my derision, fight back the eye roll, grunt a couple times before finally being allowed to pay and get the heck out of there. Full confession…one time I returned a book back to the shelf because Mr. Comedian was the only one at the checkout.
My mother has experienced this as well. She recently took 6 bottles of her favorite wine up to the register to purchase. Now my mom is certainly no lush, so these bottles will last months. There are perfectly good and innocent reasons for buying 6 bottles of wine at once: a large party, multiple gifts, grabbing a bottle or two for oneself as well as some friends, or simply stocking up since the wine is on sale, as was the case with my mom. So there was no need for the cashier to comment, “WOW…you must really like this wine to be getting so many bottles.” I suppose it’s not such a bad comment, but it was also completely unnecessary and none of the man’s business. To a sensitive person, it may even appear that he is insinuating some type of drinking problem.
I am sure that most times, these third degrees are all in an effort to be friendly and provide good customer service, but frankly, I’m good with a smile. A simple “hi” is completely acceptable. Anything more than that I can start to get a little uncomfortable and a little annoyed. I can only imagine how mortified I would be if I had to buy bulk toilet paper. In such cases (or in all cases, really) God bless self-checkouts!