Advanced search

To be fed up of checkout assistants commenting on the products i buy?!

(105 Posts)
MsBrown Tue 29-Jan-13 10:44:20

It doesn't happen every time i go to the supermarket, but happens enough to be making me annoyed.

Today i have a day off from work. After dropping dd at school, i nipped to the local Tesco for a magazine and big bar of chocolate. As the lady scanned them through, she said "Oh, you'll regret this tomorrow!" and then laughed as if expecting me to join in.

Last time i was in, a different checkout lady was scanning my things and then stopped after she'd scanned my packet of wraps. She was reading the back for about a minute, i shit you not, and when i asked what was wrong (i thought maybe she'd noticed they were out of date or something), she said, "Do you know how many calories are in these? I'm doing WW and it's really made me look at calorie content. You'd think these would be healthy since they're wholemeal". I said they are healthy and me and dd loves them (might have gotten a bit snappy, don't like calories etc being discussed like that in front of impressionable dd).

Around Christmas time, i was in buying wine for pressies (i don't drink) and the checkout lady said something about wishing she was young again to be able to drink as much as me (again laughed, as if expecting me to join in).

I was buying towels and tampons one other time, and i went to self scan with them, but the queue-buster lady directed me to a till instead. The checkout lady made a big deal after scanning them, leaned forward and whispered, "I'll double bag these for you, sweetheart." I showed no hint before that of being the slightest bit embarrased by buying them.

It's not just Tesco. it's other supermarkets in other areas i've visited too.

I was buying a range of exotic fruits one time at Asda (for a tasting session in class) and the checkout lady stopped and scrutinised each one before scanning (i realise she had to do this so she'd know what buttons to press on her screen), but then she started asking "Why are you getting all this?" and invited her colleague over for a look too! Again, acting as if i'd be okay with this, and i should join in with their giggles.

It feels like a total invasion of privacy.

I realise they're just trying to make small talk, but i doubt very much they'd like it if i went rooting round their shopping trolley/cupboards commenting on every little thing i saw there.

AIBU/over-sensitive eejit?

MsBrown Tue 29-Jan-13 11:50:28

Spicy Pear - i, too, am quite 'sensitive' about things like that, which is perhaps why i get more annoyed by the comments than others.

But i get really angry when they make these comments in front of my dd. My mum was obsessed with calories/dieting when i was little (she still is!) and it really has affected my relationship with food. So to hear a checkout lady say that my wholemeal wraps were unhealthy and laden with calories, was a bit disconcerting for me as it was in earshot of my dd.

Why couldn't she have asked dd about school, or talked about the weather instead of focussing on my products?

somebloke123 Tue 29-Jan-13 11:51:38

somebloke why does that annoy you?

Mainly because it's so formulaic and they have just been told to say that. Nothing against the checkout people themselves.

MsBrown Tue 29-Jan-13 11:52:05

yes, i agree, Ariel, and i understand they are required to make small talk. But there's loads of 'small talk' subjects to cover. IMO it's not an excuse to pass comments/judgements on customers' products.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 29-Jan-13 11:53:01

I know. But some people find it dead hard that's all.

What else is there to talk about if you don't know the person and you can't see what's happening with the weather? smile

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 29-Jan-13 11:53:43

MrsBrown Your dd isn't going to have a bad relationship with food because of what the checkout lasy said. If you are really that sensitive why on earth are you buying WeightWatchers food anyway confused

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 29-Jan-13 11:54:02


MsBrown Tue 29-Jan-13 11:57:57

Justgiveme - it wasn't WW food at all. I've never bought 'simming' food before in my life. it was normal wholemeal wraps.

The checkout lady read out the calorie content and said she was on WW, which is why she checks calorie contents on things now.

And i don't personally think it's good for a 5yo to hear a stranger saying her lunch is unhealthy and full of calories.

SpicyPear Tue 29-Jan-13 11:59:20

Ummm, they could start with, for example, "What's the weather doing now? It was freezing when I left his morning"

Maybe the staff that can make appropriate small talk could do a training session or a draw up a sheet of value neutral one liners to help the more socially challenged members of staff?

Sneezingwakesthebaby Tue 29-Jan-13 12:01:20

Thinking about it, I wonder how much training the staff who are told specifically to small talk about the products get about what to actually say. Using my card example from further up the thread, inappropriate is holding up two checkouts to laugh about it embarrassing the customer. Appropriate would be saying something like "ooh, is it somebody's birthday?" while scanning it. The chocolate bar in OP's post? Inappropriate is saying you'll regret this tomorrow. Appropriate could be something along the lines of "ah, these are one of my favourites. I tell you what else tastes nice...".

I wonder if they get told how to find a good balance of not being invasive, judgemental or embarrassing but still manage to talk about the products.

SpicyPear Tue 29-Jan-13 12:07:59

Exactly sneezing. The other day a woman on the till asked what I would usually do with the canellini beans as she'd never bought them. We then had a little chat about slow cooking = perfectly fine. Raising her eyebrows and saying, e.g., "those will give you some chronic gas, hahaha" = not fine.

drownangels Tue 29-Jan-13 12:08:01

Think you better do your shopping online if going through a checkout and having people talk to you is so traumatic!

What they are seeing as chat you are seeing as judgements. I'm guessing once you have gone through the door they wouldn't remember much about you or care really, not if they have hundreds of people going through their checkout.

Where on earth are you shopping though. This has never happened to me and I go to shops nearly every day!

Sneezingwakesthebaby Tue 29-Jan-13 12:08:44

Actually even my card example could be too invasive. She could have commented on how much choice there was with the cards or something like that.

drownangels Tue 29-Jan-13 12:22:35

I don't get the fuss over a card!!

It's there on display for everyone to buy.
It's not like OP has bought a packet of 12 condoms and the checkout has said 'Whaya girl! You're in for a busy night, have fun!!'

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 29-Jan-13 12:28:09

Misread that bit OP. Sorry. Still think you're being pathetic though.

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 12:33:17

And i don't personally think it's good for a 5yo to hear a stranger saying her lunch is unhealthy and full of calories.

Really? Why?

Calories, health, food...they're all part of normal life.

If your DD is brought up to think these things are taboo, she may well end up as uptight and arsey as you've come across.

PureQuintessence Tue 29-Jan-13 12:35:38

So, let me get this straight.
It is ok for check out staff to be mouthy and judgmental?

It is amazing how most of the time here posters get their knickers in a twist with judgemental people, and here we have an OP who is on the receiving end of loud, patronizing judgemental check out staff, and she is told she is pathetic and should suck it up?

I can only assume that most of you are check out staff. wink

Sneezingwakesthebaby Tue 29-Jan-13 12:38:09


I wouldn't have been bothered if she had opened it while scanning it and had a smirk to herself and the finished serving me so I could crack on. I had a problem with the fact she stood up, left her checkout, interrupted her colleague serving, laughed with her loudly at the card while I was left there like a lemon with two queues of people looking at me as if it was my fault they had both stopped working and took her time coming back and letting me pay for my card.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 29-Jan-13 12:38:55

I've never posted on here about judgemental people confused

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Tue 29-Jan-13 12:39:40

Blame the company itself, not the people on the checkouts. The managers seemingly look as though they are busy doing whatever, but are actually listening in to how much small talk people are making, whether they ask if the customer "wants bags" or "help with their packing" or "are you trying to lose weight?" when someone buys a weight watchers ready meal or "the weather is nice today isn't it?" or "how's your day going?".....

Can be frustrating for the customers, but it's also very mind numbing for the people on the checkouts doing that all day. If they don't do it, the managers pounce.

PureQuintessence Tue 29-Jan-13 12:40:19

Ok, so you personally have not complained about judgemental people. Do you like them then? Think having your judge-pants hoisted so high up that you nearly choke is fashionable?

PureQuintessence Tue 29-Jan-13 12:41:35

I am a very chatty person, and sometimes break out in total giggles with check out staff, over stuff, but I am a loon. But I would not be happy with comments about my wine and chocolate.

drownangels Tue 29-Jan-13 12:43:35

I'm finding some of these stories a bit, well bizarre!

In my town we have Tesco, Asda, Morrisons as well as Lidl,Aldi and Netto and I use all these on a very regular basis and never expierenced anything like this.
I am quite smiley and not unapproachable so I don't know what some of you are doing!!

lurkedtoolong Tue 29-Jan-13 12:44:14

I quite enjoy a little bit of conversation - how's the weather? How long is left on your shift? I can completely understand though that that would be hell as a repeated conversation for 8 hours. A little bit of discussion about what's in my basket is ok - is there an interesting combination of ingredients etc? One of the worst examples though is a friend of mine went through with super absorbent tampons and the teenage boy said "Are you on your period? Is it heavy?".

The fault really lies with the management who force targets on staff forcing uncomfortable discussions on staff and customers.

gallifrey Tue 29-Jan-13 12:44:41

OMG I worked at Asda over christmas and I commented on what people had bought! I only said things like "that looks nice" or "what a good price" and only to people that looked approachable. I would never ever comment on personal stuff like the OP has had.

popcornpaws Tue 29-Jan-13 12:45:40

Shop online.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now