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Things You Should Never Say To a Cashier

Updated on July 5, 2017
shanmarie profile image

Shannon sometimes has a quirky sense of humor. Sometimes she shares it with the world. :)

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.


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    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      10 months ago from Texas

      Nice list, Canyon. Thanks for sharing it.

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      Great article! Here is my list...

      Things you should NEVER do as a customer in a store...Don't...

      1. ...use your mobile phone when at the register unless its absolutely necessary. It is extremely rude and disrespectful.

      2. ...complain to the cashier or to the person next to you about the prices. It makes the cashier feel bad.

      3. ...take out your bad mood out on the staff.

      4. ...accuse the cashier of ringing up something 'wrong'. We are not in control of the barcodes.

      5. ...get huffy when you have to buy more than one item to get it at a reduced price. Please learn to READ the signs properly!

      6. ...shout at the desk clerk because the coin machine is not working

      7. ...shout at staff in general

      8. ...question every price of an item

      9. ...get funny about the way gas points work. Just be grateful you're getting something for free.

      10. ...complain and ask the cashier why there aren't enough registers open. It is completely out of their hands

      11. ...get upset with the cashier when they ask you for ID, whether it be for cigarettes, fireworks or other reasons. Store policies exist for a reason!

      12. ...expect the cashier to know every single item that is on sale. There are HUNDREDS of sale items and we don't all possess an idatic memory

      13. ...get huffy and give us a nasty look when our register is about to close. Believe it or not, we do have a life outside of the store

      14. ...let your mobile phone ring and ring. Shut it off already

      15. ...tap your credit card or fingers on the counter while waiting. This is both annoying and rude.

      16. ...fold your arms while you are waiting as this gives the impression that you are being impatient and don't want to wait

      17. ...get upset if your card is declined. It is not always the fault of the store

      18. ...get mad when someone in front of your line has a WIC order. Yes, it takes a little while, but please at least show a bit of compassion

      19. ...have a go at the cashier because you didn't tell them to pack the bags lightly. We are not mind readers

      20. ...take it out on the cashier when we don't have any paper bags. If we run out and they were not replaced that is not our fault

      21. ...shout at the staff at the courtesy desk because you didn't win anything on the lottery. Yes I've heard of this happening!

      22. ...act like a spoiled child when you realize that the item that you want isn't on sale.

      23. ...argue with your spouse in the store, especially in front of the cashier. It makes us feel extremely awkward.

      24. ... have a hissy fit when a price of something is higher and you want the cashier to void it off. Please just ask politely.

      25. ...make comments to the other customers in your line because you feel you have a slower cashier. Please bear in mind that they are going as fast as they can and bear in mind that your cashier may be new to the job.

      26. down to the staff like we are idiots. We are human beings who have thoughts, feelings and emotions just like everyone else.

      27. ...get angry with the staff because they have been taught to do things a certain way. Some of these decisions come directly from corporate and staff are just following orders.

      28. ...make that old joke if something doesn't scan, its free. Its old and extremely irritating.

      29. ...ask the cashier if they can open up another register. It is NOT up to them and they have NO control over it

      30. ...lean into or take up space in another cashiers cube. It is not only rude but you are also invading someone's space

      31. ...lean over the register belt and invade the cashiers personal space

      32. ...expect the cashier to be able to fix something once they have printed off the receipt. Once the receipt is printed it is out of their hands

      33. ...let your kids play around with the belt etc. Please keep your children under control. We are not babysitters!

      34. ...don't plan to do a week's shopping 5 minutes before the store closes. Also don't be surprised if they're only a couple of cash registers open at this time

      35. ...(I stole this one) ... don't put your cash or coupons on the belt. See the gap where the items stop? That is where dreams (and your money) go to die. You don't want to look down there

      Lastly, we are here to serve you but we are not your servants.

      And VERY lastly, we are NOT your emotional punching bags.

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      15 months ago from Texas

      Hi, Peg. Thanks for stopping. The one that annoyed me the mistakes the one about not smashing the bread or be careful with the eggs. One time I got yelled at for siting bacon on top of her eggs. Just the way her husband had it to begin with, I might add. How heavyvdoes she think a small pack of bacon is?LOL

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      15 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Most of these dreaded expressions I heard while serving as a cashier at a grocery store years ago. The one that seemed most irritating at the time was the "You look bored..." one. Later in life I must have heard the "Smile..." one about a million times.

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      18 months ago from Texas

      There can never be too many tomatoes!!!! I always ask for extra tomatoes at places subway and put at least two slices on sandwiches I make at home. Don't tow the line around me. LOL.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      18 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I was a cashier at a Dairy Queen when I was a teenager and I could not believe I actually had people come back with a hamburger because I put 2 slices of tomato or too much ice cream in a cone. (Women of course.)

      I learned to tow the line.

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      19 months ago from Texas

      Hi, Galaxy. Maybe someday we will be hearing some more original lines become a cliche. LOL

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      Loved this. I'm not a cashier, but I have heard people say these. A lot.

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      19 months ago from Texas

      Hi, Tamara. Thanks for stopping by. Glad I could offer a laugh! When I was a cashier we would laugh about the rude things customers did. Maybe people would be less rude if they knew they became the joke after the fact. And, of course, we often remarked about the things people who think they are being clever say when they are totally oblivious to the fact we'd already heard that joke several times that day. LOL

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 

      19 months ago

      Haha, thanks Shannon! This gave me a laugh, and also some very useful tips for when I'm at the store! Your tips are very insightful. Also, I love your new profile picture!

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      2 years ago from Texas

      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.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      2 years ago from Northeast of 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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.

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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

    • moonlake profile image


      3 years 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.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      3 years 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.

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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. :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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. ;)

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      They are strange indeed, phoenix!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

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

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


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


    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 years 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.

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Thanks, Larry!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very amusing:-)

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

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

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

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

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 years 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!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years 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.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years 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?'

    • shanmarie profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      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.

    • manatita44 profile image


      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

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

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

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

    • Kara Skinner profile image

      Kara Skinner 

      3 years 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.


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