Things You Should Never Say To a Cashier

People do not believe it, but being a cashier is dangerous work. Cashiers get jabbed and poked by mysterious bags of. . .what's this?. . .oh!. . .never mind. . .cactus leaves buried in layers of plastic produce bags in an effort to avoid the pricks but instead effectively concealing the contents. They also bump and bang themselves, somehow get scratches and bruises on a daily basis. You might be surprised at the many ways a cashier can find pain, including all of the painful noises to the ears. You can help, though, by not saying these things to your cashier.

"Smile, you're prettier when you do."

Obviously, you should never say that to a man. There's no telling what might happen if you do. You might awaken the next Caitlyn Jenner. Who knows, maybe it will surprise him too. Then again, you might get cold cocked.

As for a woman, she is probably wondering if she should accept your backhanded compliment with a simple "thanks" or tell you that you should see her without makeup on when she is truly hideous.

"You look bored. Let me give you something to do."

Really? How nice of you to let me do my job. I was just standing here greeting customers because I had nothing to do. Oh, the shelves I was cleaning, they must be called nothing too. Thanks for pointing that out.

"Don't smash my bread."

You mean like this? Let me just put your bread in here with these canned goods. And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and put the bowling ball on top of your eggs. If that doesn't work, I'll gladly place it on the floor to stomp it to perfection. Would you like your bananas to have the smash treatment too?

"After you scan this, will you throw it away?"

Cashiers spend countless hours dreaming about handling your child's slobbered on package or throwing away your trash from an item you consumed BEFORE it is paid for. Of course, integrity is a dying art and there is no shame in stealing. You know, because you are going to pay for it.

"It says it's waiting for the cashier."

Oh, pardon me. I didn't hit the payment button while I was busy loading your groceries into your buggy. Next time I will remember to activate my hidden third arm extension.

"You shouldn't have to work on holidays."

And yet you are here. Enough said.

"Can you shoot this with your gun?"

You probably should not hold your item up like that for me to shoot. I am not so sure about my aim, you know. Besides, I am a little busy scanning and bagging the items already on the belt. I will be glad to shoot you - I mean your item - in just a few moments.

"Don't let my kid see this (item I don't want)."

Thanks for allowing the cashier the honor of putting away your child's chosen choice of entertainment for the past half an hour. Be sure she has more self control than your child, because the urge is to "accidentally" let the child see it not go in the bag. Oops, so sorry.

"That was on clearance. And it's the only one."

Could it be, just maybe, someone put it in the wrong place? Customers assume it is the job of the employees to put things back where they go. And it is, but it sure is ten times more difficult when laziness or embarrassment takes over common decency. Seems simple enough, but that is how things often end up with the wrong display price in front of it and random items are often found where they obviously do not belong. Seriously, you should not have to be told a frozen fryer hen does not go behind the candy in the checkout line. Or that your too good to be true clearance item is in fact actually too good to be true. Sorry for the immense disappointment.

"I'm sorry, I was on the phone.'

Oh, good. What a relief! For a second, I thought I was watching a real life soap opera play out before my very eyes. It seemed so real, but I was struggling to catch up on the storyline.

Besides, I am only doing you a service. I do not find your complete lack of social etiquette rude at all. It saves me from the same repetitious small talk I have all day long with a hundred other people. Oh, but do not blame me if I failed to meet your preferences when you could not bother to notice I asked the question. No, worries. I answered the question for you.

"Are you open?"

Nope. I stand at this register with the light on just because I can. Keep on moving down the line. Oh, but by all means, if I am standing behind the register with the light off, please feel free to get in line anyway. No need to ask. I'm obviously open then. And, by all means, take offense when I tell you I am closed. It is, after all, all my fault for standing here with my light off.

More by this Author

Comments 30 comments

Kara Skinner profile image

Kara Skinner 18 months ago from Maine

haha this is very funny and I am so glad I've never said any of these things to a cashier. I'm afraid I'm guilty of the repetitive small talk, though.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 18 months ago from Texas Author

Rhanks, Kara! LOL Small talk bests being rude anytime!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

Very funny indeed! I was a cashier for awhile and I can definitely relate to this...great sense of humor.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 18 months ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Bill! Congratulations for your hubby! (That looks odd. Is it hubbie?. . .Your award. LOL)

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 18 months ago from london

Interesting take here, and funny too. Well, life has so many variables, all I know is that I do not know. Hey!

Hope that you are well shanmarie. You know, I was about to respond when it flashed across my mind that perhaps you have not seen my dedication. http:

Much Love.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 18 months ago from Texas Author

Thank you, manatita. No, I had not seen it, but thank you for bringing it to my attention. I do not get to read hubs as much as I would like to, but I try to post some when I can. I do enjoy reading the hubs of others, though, yours included.

drbj profile image

drbj 18 months ago from south Florida

Too realistic, too true, and mostly too funny. It's time for me to find you another job, m'dear. Which was my favorite line? The final one - 'Are you open?'

MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean

I worked as a cashier in a health food store for a few years. The statement I would have disliked the most is from the customer talking on the phone while checking out; but all these are so relevant. Thanks for looking out for the cashier.

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 18 months ago from New Delhi, India

This is really very funny, interesting and insightful hub and I am so glad I've never said any of these things to a cashier.

You said some important things from the point of view of a cashier.

Thanks for sharing!

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 18 months ago from Texas Author

What job do you have in mind, drbj? LOL I'm sure I coukd find the humor in that too.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 18 months ago from Texas Author

Hi MsDora. Yes, that one does irritate me the most, too, because I do think it is rude. But, today, I got asked to put it all in one bag. She had big bags of chips, bread, and a pile of other things that would not fit around the chips and bread. I thought of that image and nearly laughed out loud. Instead, I told her I can put it in two bags.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 18 months ago from Texas Author

Chitrangada, thank you. No worries if you do say these things. At least you are not the only one if you do! LOL

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

Very amusing:-)

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 17 months ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Larry!

phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 17 months ago from United Kingdom

Sounds like you had a bad day. I can sympathize. We live in a small village and the local supermarket is the main employer in the area. I and my children have worked there at one time or another and we've all played at being cashiers. I say play because check-outs was not what we were hired to do. We've heard all these over and over again. Please allow me to add a couple of other gems:

- If there's no price, it must be free. Oh ha-ha-ha. That never gets old.

-Smile, it might never happen. It already has. I'm on check-outs.

It is curious how offended people get when you put up the 'Closed' and lock up the station. Do they not realise that we are people too and have lives outside of the shop that need our attention?

Really funny stuff. Will definitely be sharing with my kids.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 17 months ago from Texas Author

Yes, phoenix, the 'it must be free' one is a classic too. Haha. Or the 'keep all my cold items together, please.' I don't think Ive heard the smile one, but now I will surely notice it multiple times. Hehehe.

As for the closed one, that probably irritates me the most. I had three more people in line after I shut my light off one day. I was down to the last person when this woman gets in line behind her. Of course, I say "I'm sorry, but I'm closed" and she lit me up like a firecracker! She said "Don't you think you could have told me that before I stood here in line?" She was there less than even half a mimute. I know because I just had the customer I was waiting on bring me something she left down at that end of the belt. Anyway, I told her that I just notived her presence and apologized again, but then she wants to argue that my light was just then turned off. At that point, I was kind of like whatever, but she begrudgingly went to another line. The customer I was with was astonished by her behavior.

phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 17 months ago from United Kingdom

I had a woman once who saw the closed sign and still put her groceries on the belt. I informed her that I was closed and she had the gall to say she hadn't seen the sign. I knew she had seen it because I watched her read it. I informed her that my shift was over and I was going home. I informed the Team Leader and she got on the till and rang the customer up.

Customers are strange creatures. I'm so glad I quit and don't have to deal with them any more.

lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


Really enjoyed this hub! I could identify with every point you make! I'm a Bus driver!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 16 months ago

OMG , Shannie is also a FUNNY woman ! I didn't know that !LOL

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 16 months ago from Texas Author

They are strange indeed, phoenix!

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 16 months ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Lawrence! Both of my parents were bus drivers for awhile when I was a kid. Maybe that should be my next "what not to say" hub.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 16 months ago from Texas Author

Oh, Ed, my man, where have you been? I love to laugh. You will find more of my humor in other hubs of mine and comments on the hubs of others. ;)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 13 months ago from Orlando, FL

Hilarious! I actually do say "You look bored" to cashiers, but they are my friends and they laugh out loud! :)

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 13 months ago from Texas Author

Sometimes we really are bored! ;) In that case, what else is there to do but laugh at being called out for it? LOL . . .By the way, I think from reading your New Year's Resolutions hub earlier, we may have a similar sense of humor. :)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 13 months ago from New York

Sounds like you speak from experience! Funny how people have a need to voice the obvious. By the end of the day I'm sure cashiers want to run out of the store. Well done.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 13 months ago from America

Funny I'm sure I have said things to cashiers that they haven't liked. I hate it when someone says to me "smile" it actually makes me angry. Most of the time if I'm not smiling I'm concentrating on something else. If a cashier hears said to them many times a day I can understand her/him not liking it.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 13 months ago from Texas Author

Haha! I do indeed speak from experience, tillsontitan! Although, I said to a fellow coworker yesterday that if someone said I looked bored, they'd be right on the mark that time. It seemed slower than usual. Or maybe I was just itching to go finish reading a book I was really into. haha

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 13 months ago from Texas Author

Hi moonlake! I don't get mad when someone tells me to smile, but it is annoying sometimes. I agree that no one smiles all of the time, especially while concentrating on another task at hand. I do not think that no smile means someone is being unfriendly.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 8 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Interesting perspective on being a cashier. It is truly a rude awakening when hearing some of these things time after time. The "smile" comment is universal and I remember working a fourteen hour flight standing on my feet when a passenger told me to smile. It gets frustrating, that's for sure.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 8 months ago from Texas Author

Hi, Peg. It can be frustrating at times to hear these things. I'm sure they are a part of just about every retail profession or dealing with the public. Either these things or something similar. I really don't mind most of the time, especially if I can see the humor in it with a piece like this. Actually, this sort of came about after joking with fellow cashiers about things that annoy them when customers say them.

I think the smile thing kind of irritates me because people are not necessarily unfriendly if they are not smiling. There are a ton of other reasons a smile is not always ready. On the other hand, I understand that a customer does not want to be completely ignored either. . . .Well, unless they are on their cell phones ignoring me. ;)

I see you are from Dallas. . .I work in Midlothian and we have people come from Waxahachie and a few other areas to our store because they think ours is friendlier, so I guess we must be doing something right.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article