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Just another day at work.

Occasionally, I have to get to take a shift at register.  Generally, I don’t mind, because I like to interact with our customers.  And it can get real interesting up at check-out.  A few days ago, for example, a guy came in looking for a specific kind of cigar.  I say guy.  He looked to be at least 80, but maybe that’s just a result of his lifestyle.

This is an accurate account of our sparkling conversation.  I know because it was so good that I wrote it down right afterwards.  You’re welcome.

An older gentleman approaches the register, where he chooses a brand of cigar…

Older Gentleman: “They keep pushing up the prices on my cigarettes; I had to change to cigars.”

Me:  “Yeah, I guess cigars are cheaper, if you smoke less of them.”

Older Gentleman:  “If they keep going up, I’m gonna have to switch back to pot.”

Me:  *silence*

Older Gentleman:  “I can get a quarter pound of pot for $250.”

Me:  “That’ll be $2.19”

Older Gentleman:  “Do you know how much pot that is?”

Me: “No, I sure don’t.”

Older Gentleman:  “Sure you do.”

Me:  “No, I can’t even picture what a quarter pound of pot would look like.”

Older Gentleman:  “Oh, you can’t, huh?”

Me: “No, sir, I sure can’t.”

Older Gentleman:  “One day, I got up and I started drinking beer and liquor at 6am.  I kept on until midnight.  Then my son came over and we were smoking it up.  I didn’t know where I was or what I was doin’.

Me:  “I guess not.  That’s a lot of drinking, from 6am to midnight.”

*silence*

Older Gentleman:  “You don’t know where I can buy some pot do you?”

Me:  “No, sir, I don’t know where.”

Older Gentleman:  “If I was in Maryland, I could get some easy.  You sure you don’t know?”

Me:  “No sir, I don’t know.  But I’ve got another customer in line behind you.”

Older Gentleman:  Turning around and looking at the woman behind him, “Oh, she don’t know where to get any pot, either.”

Aaaannnd…scene.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have never had a job where i had to work a register before, but can tell from the worn out look on some cashiers faces that it can be a challenging experience. I bet you could keep a blog just on rhe things people say and do each day at the checkout! I bet it would be full of great stories.

    January 11, 2012
    • I did start a little page on things people say or talk to me about. It’s in the Being Human tab and named the same as this post. But it’s kind of boring so far. To be honest, most of the stuff that goes on gets forgotten before I can write it down.

      Also, I’m okay on register for 4 hours or so, but a 6 to 8 hour shift can be brutal. It’s okay if you don’t care about service, but if you do, it’s like being on stage for that long. You are talking the entire time. You have to be (should be) friendly and smiling. Even to people who are jerks to you. At the very least, in my case, you’re explaining the benefits of getting the store card and the coupons, etc. – basically talking up the business. People talk on their phones the whole time, while you’re trying to be polite still and you have to prompt them for every step of the credit card machine because that call is so important that they can’t pay attention. They toss product and money at you across the counter, or set it on the very edge, so you have to lean way over to get it. They dig in their purse or in ten different pockets for their money or coupon or checkbook for what seems like 5 minutes, instead of being prepared, knowing there are people waiting behind them, then they take the same amount of time to put everything back. They yell at you when something is not in stock or a price goes up or the store doesn’t carry what they want or they KNOW they saw a product here last week that you know we’ve never, ever sold. Or they treat you like a personal servant or assistant or just a nobody. And then there are the people like that guy.

      It’s not a nothing job. I don’t mind some register work, but I couldn’t do 40 hours a week.

      On the other hand, I’ve rung up just as many friendly, funny, happy, talkative, nice, wonderful people.

      January 12, 2012
  2. What a conversation. What made him think that you knew, or if you knew, that you would tell him right there at the cash register? Funny and sad at the same time.

    January 11, 2012
    • It is funny and sad at the same time. But I’ve encountered many people like that, who will tell you anything or say just about anything. I assume they’re just like that. Or maybe there’s something about retail employees that just makes them spill their guts.

      January 12, 2012
  3. Reminds me of those old commercials: “This is your brain….this is your brain on drugs…” Remember those? I agree- sad and funny both.

    January 11, 2012
    • Yes I do remember, with the egg. He was probably a little fried up, but I think a lot of it was just who he was.

      January 12, 2012
  4. Jacque M #

    He felt he could ask because the pot has burned through all the brain cells that filter what we think from what we say. Sometimes when I’m in line, I am astounded at what other people talk about. It is as if they are in a bubble or something and think others can’t hear what they are saying. I’ve heard people discuss their intimate medical issues, crimes their relatives have committed (oh, wait, that was my relative), details of financial transactions that were less than above board, and the list could go on. I sometimes feel sorry for the cashiers who are stuck listening to this type of stuff day in and day out. They must have developed some way to tune it out, otherwise, they would be just as looney as the customers…now that I think of it, that must have been what was wrong with that ditzy cashier I had at Walmart the other day. I could only understand about every third word she said, and she had a comment on just about everything I was purchasing…

    But – this conversation really does top them all. I commend you for keeping a straight face. (I assume you did, anyway)

    Does this bring to mind Cheech and Chong for anyone? Or all of you too young for this reference?

    January 11, 2012
    • I did keep a straight face, but I did a bad thing when he left. I told the next lady (you know, who also did not know where to buy pot) that, “people are crazy.” I don’t normally do anything like that, and I shouldn’t have this time, but I was embarrassed. She said, “You handled it well, though.” But at least she laughed.

      People do talk about extremely personal things, to me at least. I’ve never understood it.

      January 12, 2012
  5. vicki #

    thanks for the laugh that was too funny. Reminded me of the story that Tony’s doctor told her. She asked do you smoke sir?
    sir: No I don’t smoke but I do enjoy some pot.
    she went on..you get the gist. It was too funny

    January 11, 2012
    • Funny! But people believe that kind of stuff – I don’t smoke! That’s different!

      January 12, 2012
  6. Great post! Feel free to follow my brand new blog page at http://tigergroves.wordpress.com Hope to see you on my list soon and I’ll be looking for new and interesting posts from you in the future. Thanks!

    January 12, 2012
  7. oh my goodness, I LOVE this one. People never fail to come through….

    February 7, 2012
    • I know. We get some doozies in there, let me tell you. But this one was pretty memorable!

      February 11, 2012

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