Be kind to your cashier


Osman Bien Aime, Staff Writer

Imagine, for a moment, a crowd of several hundred people.

They gather at the doors, an unintelligible cacophony of voices and rustling of jackets, reverberating through the glass and echoing against the walls.

The clock ticks its last audible “tick,” before the doors open and a tidal wave of shoppers spills into the building.

The roiling deluge of flesh and fabric swarms the shelves and racks, stripping them bare.

Queues corral excited shoppers, embracing best-selling toys and television sets.

From the front, shouts of distress can be heard, as shoppers insist their item was much cheaper than it rang up for, or beg for someone to check the storerooms for that item they just missed.

Distress gives way to anger.

As the parade of open wallets intensifies, choice words can be heard, shouted with rancor, above the din.

“I want to speak to your manager.” “This is the last time I ever shop here.” “Give us a break, it’s the holidays.”


Those who have worked in retail no doubt sympathize with those who work behind a cash register during the holiday season, but the point does bear reiterating for everyone’s benefit.

Sales staff are no less deserving of respect than anyone else.

It can be frustrating when that hot new item gets sold out, or when pricing for something changes unexpectedly.

When it happens, it is natural to demand answers, and to vent your anger on the nearest person, but that doesn’t excuse abusive behavior to a store employee.

At their level, a cashier has almost zero control over inventory or pricing, and it is horribly unfair to demand that they shoulder that responsibility.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, we are all going to do a bit of shopping.

We are going to form crowds inside of stores, and we are going to get angry and frustrated.

When that happens, we cannot forget that these are people, handing our change over to us at 4 in the morning.

Like us, they are trying to get through the season with a smile on their face, and they deserve our respect.