Tag Archives: tales of a grocery store clerk

Tales of a grocery store clerk

This past week marked the one year “anniversary” (that word to me means a happy occasion, which this most definitely is not!) of the beginning of the pandemic and a new way of life. So much has changed over this past year, it is mind-blowing.

Retail stores have experienced some big changes. I had a discussion with my store manager yesterday – he showed me a picture of how the store looked one year ago – the line up was insane, the shelves were scarily empty, and it appeared that an apocalypse had or was about to occur.

Flash forward a year, and we now have to ask every single person who comes in whether they have symptoms, have travelled, and so on and so on – I am sure many of you know what I’m talking about. People are getting tired of being questioned. And they are getting tired of being masked. A lot of people want to get vaccinated and we are all waiting patiently for that to happen.

Here in Ontario, we are waiting our turn depending on the age. The over 80s are going first (now that the front line workers have been vaccinated, or mostly, now), and then 70’s, etc. As a grocery store clerk, we are anticipating that in April, our time will be coming up to be vaccinated. I will be at the front of that line! I want to be able to travel and go and see my new grandchild in the summer, and see my son and daughter in law.

I want to be able to work and show a smile to those people are serving. I have adjusted to wearing a mask. It’s been a year, and it’s necessary. What’s amazing is the amount of colds people are getting – basically none! Amazing how the insistence of washing hands, keeping a safe distance, and wearing a mask seems to have eliminated most people getting colds or the flu. Perhaps we should remember this in years to come.

So while we are all struggling each day to try to stay positive as this pandemic continues a year later, let’s remember that one day, it will be gone, and life as it is will return to “normal” – whatever that may be. Let’s be patient in the stores with the clerks and employees and our fellow shoppers. Get vaccinated if you can. Keep your distance. And put on a smile behind that mask – because it will show in your eyes!

Until next week…

Tales of a grocery store clerk

Working in retail brings many challenges. Working long hours on your feet. Trying to be nice to people who are really not very nice. Not having a regular schedule. Challenging for sure but at least I’m working! And while I work, I try to amuse myself.

I read the magazine covers – the gossipy ones, the self-help ones, the cooking ones – anything that looks interesting.

I go and “face” the cupboards. Straighten them out basically. Fill up the chocolate bar displays. It makes the slow days go a bit quicker.

Monday started off a bit slow and we had some idle chit chat happening. I was telling some of the other cashiers about the walk and it was nice to stand and chat with them. But then the crowds started coming in. It was pretty steady for the second part of my shift.

I had one lady come through who decided it would be fun to wear her earbuds the entire time of her sale. Seriously? Do you not think that MAYBE the cashier would need to ask you how you were paying, or if you needed bags, or you know something? I asked about 3 times if she needed bags, she never answered- so I put them in bags. She comes to the end of the lane and says oh I have bags. So I just smiled and said oh well you didn’t answer so I presumed you didn’t. She seriously said – well I didn’t hear you ask. Really? Maybe because you had earbuds in?? Ugh.

And then I had another one come through while talking on the phone. This is such a common occurrence now that I just yell to ask the questions. I LOVE getting the eye roll from people, like I’m inconveniencing them by asking a question. I really don’t know how these people survived before cell phones. I mean I like having my cell phone around but I would not do that to a person in retail. Probably the rudest thing a person can do. Unless the person on the other side of that phone call is being attacked (call 911 and not your friend/family instead) or someone is being rushed to the hospital – there really is no need to be talking on your phone when you are checking out anywhere. Just my opinion.

But then there is always a sweet person that makes my day. It’s usually an older person, but this time it was a lovely lady who, after she paid, passed me one of her chocolate bars she had purchased, with a little thank you card, and said Happy International Women’s Day. This completely made my day!

It’s the little things that make people working in retail happy. Even just a thank you works.

Till next week….

Tales of a grocery store clerk

With the crazy weekend I had with my daughter, work was put aside for two shifts and time was focused on their well-being. However, I did make it back yesterday for a closing shift, and they are now officially training me to be put into another position! I find this exciting but a tad bit scary as this position has me dealing with money, the counting of the tills essentially at the end of the day.

I’m not sure what will be more confusing for me – learning the counting of the tills and all that entails, or learning the lottery machine. I now understand why, when there is a big lottery draw coming up, why the lines are so long and the time that it takes to get the tickets. It’s not simply pressing a button and the ticket prints out. It is much more complicated and time consuming than that, and if there is a big lottery, the system slows down because of the sales happening. I know I can do it, but it will take lots of practicing to fully understand how to do that part.

I am excited that I’ll be able to interact more with customers, and be able to move around and not just stand still in one place for hours. That’s the worst part about being a cashier -some days the time goes quickly because it’s busy, but you are literally standing in one spot for hours.

So that is my exciting week that I have had – learning new skills and getting more responsibilities at my job. Never a bad thing!!!

Till next week….

Tales of a grocery store clerk

The past week has been unusually quiet at the store – we have our moments of busyness but for the most part, unless there is a snowstorm happening, the store has been quiet.

What is that phenomenon anyway? Why do people – including old people! – feel the need to rush to the store in a snowstorm to get hundreds of dollars of groceries? Do they not listen to the weather forecast and think the night before to go get them? I do not understand that at all!

Yesterday was an interesting day though. I had an afternoon shift and when I came in, it was quiet, even among the cashiers. We usually chat when it’s not too busy, but they weren’t. It turned out that the head office was visiting and we were all on our best behaviour! Cleaning, facing products, making sure everything was extra sanitized! (seriously, my hands are falling apart from the amount of sanitizer used every day at work) I presume we did well with the inspection because no one came up to us to tell us to fix anything.

Hopefully today will be a bit busier so that the shift goes faster. I like being steady busy, and I enjoy chatting with the customers.

Till next week…. be safe!

Tales of a grocery store clerk

It’s been another busy week at the store. We are asking for donations for a local charity and the people are actually quite excited to be donating money for this charity! It is a charity that is based on children’s needs, and this is something that is near and dear to my heart. I am so excited to be asking for donations and while not everyone is going to donate, I love talking about this particular charity. It’s such a great thing to be doing this!

People are still being extra cautious, and while I do totally understand why they are being cautious, we have some people who come through who go to the extremes about being cautious. Like the customer who refuses to touch the money that she gives me and I give back to her (so maybe use touchless debit or credit instead??), and who, if she doesn’t have gloves on, uses two plastic bags on each hand. I wish I was kidding but I’m not. And there are others who won’t take plastic bags and will pack their own – but they put things in, take things out, rearranges, – the stress that takes place watching these people is crazy. I am a pretty low stressed person, but this brings up my stress.

I am hoping that, since we are front line workers, the vaccinations will be coming our way soon so that I can get mine done! Then maybe we will be able to get back to a bit more normalcy soon.

Tales of a grocery store clerk (a day late..)

Last week I worked 6 days in a row, this coming week 10 days in a row! I am grateful I had yesterday off and spent it with my daughter and grandson!

But today I was back at it. And it was a busy 4 hour shift. Par for the course these days. I had a strange and confusing encounter with a customer near the end of my shift.

She came through and said quite emphatically that she needed to spend a certain amount of money in order to use all of her air miles cash. I said okay – and proceeded to get her grocery bill up to the amount she said she had. Well, I scanned her card and well the state of confusion that occurred after that was breathtaking!

She proceeded to explain that someone at the store told her how many points she had. Which definitely did not happen because we have no way of finding that information out. After a very confusing conversation with me and my supervisor, she insisted I separate the order so she could do her transaction. Of course it didn’t work because she didn’t have enough. Finally, after more conversation with her and explanations, after about 20 minutes of dealing with this, she acquiesced and paid the remaining amount. She actually took the time to apologize to me for taking up so much time and being confused about it all. I took it all in stride, because I know it can be confusing if you don’t keep up with what changes have been made.

After her, I was just taking my time with customers and one lady came through and what she purchased confused me. There are a lot of people that eat organic now, and while I do not do this, I sort of understand it. Organic bananas I don’t understand – just don’t get me started on that. But, probably because it wasn’t that busy at the end of the shift, I took the time to watch what people were purchasing. Organic vegetables, organic cereal, and coffee cream with the highest percentage of fat. That confused me, and then with the addition of a bunch of junk food, it confused me more. Why eat organic if you’re going to eat junk? Seems a little counter-productive in my eyes. BUT to each their own!

So a long 10 days is ahead of me – but only one early shift so that’s a good thing. Stay safe and be kind to everyone.

Tales of a grocery store clerk

2021 has been crazy and it’s only January 26! I swear each day is busier than the previous one.

People in Southwestern Ontario always seem to panic when the weatherman says SNOW. We live in Canada – surely people would remember winters of the past where there would be snow on the ground and it would be a bit icy some days. Nope, people seem to forget every year!

This has impacted the grocery store. Each day, people come in and say well we need to stock up because there is a storm coming! As of today, we have no snow on the ground here. In other parts of Ontario there is snow but not here. Yet every day there are people coming in saying oh it’s coming! Okay, so stock up and just stop saying that.

I was pleasantly surprised, and inspired, by a customer yesterday. She was a lovely elderly lady who had no problem with wearing the mask, and spoke nice and clearly and loud enough to hear. I could just tell she was full of vim and vigor in her younger years and still to this day. As I was helping her pack up her groceries, we were chatting and I asked her if she was walking so that I could make sure the bags were evenly heavy. She said oh no dear, I still drive. I am 93 and going strong! This woman looked maybe 75 – I was so shocked at the strength of this woman, and the vitality that she was showing – and so amazed that she was 93, getting her own groceries, driving a car and had so much life in her. True life aspirations!!

I always enjoy talking with the people – it’s such a treat to go to work and know that there are going to be mostly friendly lovely people to say hello to that come through my till. It’s not to say that I don’t get annoyed with some of them but for the most part, they are all lovely people who come in.

On that note, let’s all aspire to be as youthful and strong as the lady from yesterday. I know I will be! Till next week…cheers!

Tales of a grocery store clerk

Well it just seems to get busier and busier every afternoon. We were told today that the 5 cashiers that were on managed to cash out 44 customers in 15 minutes! Go us!! It was a crazy afternoon but the customers were well behaved and there were no angry outbursts by anyone – customers or employees!

However, being on a lockdown and in a state of emergency, people are still tense and stressed. And we are hearing interesting stories from the customers!

Today one of our customers (a regular) shared a story of his daughter being in a local pharmacy this past weekend in a nearby town and there was an undercover policeman who ended up giving out a fine to a woman who had been there to purchase hair dye and curlers. Can you imagine? The story is that the policeman advised her that this was not a necessity and part of the lockdown is we are to be out shopping for necessities only. So – her “hair necessity” turned out to be a very major purchase – with a fine of $1,000!! Be careful out there people!!

Other than that, people seem to be behaving themselves, and our numbers here are going down. Hopefully the lockdown will do the trick and make our numbers magically disappear! Haha – wishful thinking on my part.

Have a great week everyone and be safe.

Tales of a grocery store clerk – part ?

Honestly I’ve lost count on how many I’ve done of these haha!

Today was an interesting day here in Ontario. First, I had an early shift (early for me anyway) – 9.30am. I like to sleep in and that time does not allow me to sleep in! But I woke up in a good mood, and made my way to work with a positive mind and positive energy flowing through me.

It was slow at the beginning, just a few of the elderly people who live across the road in the retirement community coming in. They are always so sweet and friendly and I love working when they are all in. They are also very gracious and happy that we take the time to help them with their bags and loading their carts up. It is always a pleasure to help them because I know they appreciate it.

But about an hour into my shift, it started getting busier. And when it gets busier, people get more testy, and impatient. And I don’t mean just the customers. We cashiers get testy and irritable too. I always smile under my mask, though, even when I don’t feel like smiling. One customer told me (and she comes to me quite often) that she can always tell when I’m smiling because it shows in the rest of my face and especially my eyes. What a nice compliment! *Side note – I have been complimented all my life on my eyes and how expressive they are – I used to hate it but now I love the compliments I get.*

Anyway – today we had an “incident” between a customer and a cashier. One of our rules that we try to stick to no matter how busy it is, is that when you are in line, you are to wait until the person in front of you is done and the cashier says it’s okay to come up and unload your buggy. I am not 100% sure what happened today but there was a verbal altercation (okay there was a lot of yelling between the two of them). I am sure the customer will be complaining about this. I took a deep breath and continued on with my customer I was serving. He did not look impressed with either the customer or the other cashier and made a comment to the likes of “we all need to be patient and perhaps a bit more compassionate and speak nicer to each other – and I mean both sides”. And I agree. If I snap at a customer, of course they will snap back at me. We need to watch the tone of our voices with each other and try to keep each other calm during these unsettling times.

On top of this, our province has declared a second state of emergency and essentially we are on lockdown once again, with only essential services and essential travel allowed. It is about time in my opinion, but I will save that for another blog.

In the meantime, please stay safe everyone, be kind to each other, be compassionate, and also, remember to speak in a civil tone to one another. There is no need to antagonize each other.

Till next week…

Tales of a grocery store clerk

The past three days at work have been painfully slow! The Christmas rush is over and where I live we have been put into lockdown. I think people are actually listening to this lockdown notice and are trying to stay home as much as possible.

Despite that, there are still people coming into the store. We are an essential service after all, people need to eat and feed their families. I have been very pleasantly surprised at the appreciative people that have come in the past three days. Everyone is keeping their distance, being respectful of others in the store, and are generally in a good mood.

I believe the next couple of days will be busy, with New Year’s eve coming up and the fact that we are closed on New Year’s Day. Perhaps not, but I suspect that will be the case.

In any event, people

are behaving, and there have been no incidents. I wish it was busier, or at least steadier with customers, to make the time go quicker, but I’d rather people being safe. I actually sought out more work last night – I ended up dusting the perimeter of the store, which took almost 45 minutes of my time. It helped pass the time away.

Be safe everyone, follow the rules and we will all be able to get back to normal soon! Till next week…