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Confessions of a checkout girl

(25 Posts)
UnquietDad Thu 06-Aug-09 11:07:48


You lot are terrible - you've got me reading the bloody Hate Mail online now for salacious stories. (Look, it was either this one or Pricey Kate's new "good girl gone bad" t-shirt or everyone's favourite Liz Jones saying hairdressers are like Guantanamo bay - yes, seriously.)

So - interesting or a waste of time? I think it's well-written but a bit pointless as an "expose" as it's not actually "exposing" anything illegal like child trafficking which could be stopped with greater public awareness. So working on a checkout is shit? Next week, the Pope is Catholic. As some of the comments say, it doesn't help people who have no choice. And ooh, look, she has a book coming out!

Interesting that some comments contrast the French experience, as there has already been a similar book done by a Frenchwoman, which I saw on sale in FNAC last year:

Anna Sam, here

Longtalljosie Thu 06-Aug-09 11:28:35

I know her, she's lovely. Beautifully written, as well.

Very interesting they have to whizz your stuff through at that speed though, isn't it? Because it's always really annoyed me when things pile up faster than I can put them away, and now I know it's not them being awkward...

ginnny Thu 06-Aug-09 11:45:03

I worked on the tills in Sainsburys when ds1 was little. I never had to scan 17 items a minute. That must be a new thing - glad I'm not there now!
Very true about the customers. I'm always nice to checkout people - it can be really soul destroying to work on a till all day and not get so much as a smile.

TrillianAstra Thu 06-Aug-09 11:47:48

At the end she says 'my six months as a COG were over' - was she just doing it for reaearch then, because she thought it would be interesting to write about?

nickelbabe Thu 06-Aug-09 12:02:17

having been on the receiving end myself (call centres, burger king, bookshop), i find i have little patience with checkout staff.
that sounds really horrible, but when you've got arseholes treating you like shit all day every day, it kind of rubs off on you when you go into a shop as a customer.
i would say (from my own experience) that the nastiest customers are those who work in customer services.
it makes me angry and sad that we perpetuate this ourselves.

i'm okay now that i'm happy in the job i do (it's my own shop and the boss is more relaxed grin ), and i'm happy to chat to the cashiers and make small talk. i think that proves (to me anyway) that if you're not stressed or miserable, you can be nicer to other people. (which means you feel happier etc)

UnquietDad Thu 06-Aug-09 12:08:50

She does say at the beginning that she was doing it "undercover" for research, yes.

ruddynorah Thu 06-Aug-09 12:11:57

hardly ground breaking stuff though is it? oooh people are worrying about money.. wow.

LoveBeingAMummy Thu 06-Aug-09 12:24:43

tbh doesn't make me want to buy the book.

MollieO Thu 06-Aug-09 12:27:13

I heard the French lady on Radio 4 the other week. Very funny.

FlyingDuck Thu 06-Aug-09 12:44:04

Not a book I'd be desperate to get hold off, based on that article. I'd rather re-read Down and Out in Paris and London.

On a similar theme, Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed is meant to be very good.

TrillianAstra Thu 06-Aug-09 12:47:05

It would be a lot more depressing to be working behind a checkout because it's the only job you can get at the time, rather than for "research".

Pixel Thu 06-Aug-09 18:13:39

Unquietdad, you should have looked at the Femail bit as well, cos you missed this This week on Mumsnet. I think I'll become a journalist, it doesn't look that difficult, just sit about reading MN which I do anyway!

Pixel Thu 06-Aug-09 18:27:47

Sorry, just found the other thread about it!

Thunderduck Thu 06-Aug-09 18:36:06

I can't say I had that experience when I worked with the public Nickelbabe.
I worked in reception or customer service related jobs for several years and it made me be even nicer to shop staff and call centre staff as I knew what crap they had to put up with.

southeastastra Thu 06-Aug-09 18:47:26

very interesting. sad about the pensioners panicking about using pin numbers.

Longtalljosie Thu 06-Aug-09 18:53:47

Me either, Thunderduck. I think everyone should have a go at working in a shop at one time or another, just to see what they have to put up with. The effort in taking a deep breath after someone has been mean enough to bring tears to your eyes, and be sunny with the next person... to have people lie to your manager about what you've just said to them because they think it will increase their chances of getting a refund - the general way in which you're treated as though you are both stupid and worthless by the public... no fun at all. Although the people I worked with were nice.

differentID Thu 06-Aug-09 18:54:11

really nickelbabe?

I@ find it the complete opposite! The peopel who have had no exposure at all to "the other side" of the till are generally the worst.

ExtraFancy Thu 06-Aug-09 19:04:54

I've often said to DH that everyone should be made to do 'National Customer Service' for at least 6 months - I reckon that people would be a LOT kinder/more polite to customer service staff if they'd had a stint in their shoes!

Salme101 Fri 07-Aug-09 02:34:39

2 checkout experiences that stuck in my mind:

1) A couple of years ago I was in Asda and I nnoticed that the checkout actually had some kind of recording playing, an American man's voice, like the sort you get on crap answerphones, going 'hurry, hurry, faster, faster!' It seemed to be triggered by the speed at which items were being scanned, and it was pretty quiet, like the till operator was meant to hear it but not the customer, iyswim. This is the kind of thing that makes you question your own sanity, never mind how sorry I felt for the poor kid behind stuck behind the till. I don't set foot in Asda any more.

2) Just today, I was in Tesco (the Evil Empire, as DH and I like to call it). The young Muslim girl serving me mostly had her eyes shut and appeared to be rocking back and forth very slightly throughout. It hit me that she was v possibly trying to pray and wasn't allowed to leave her till. I don't want to start any debates about the pros and cons of giving people breaks for prayers/cigarettes/whatever. She just looked so incredibly miserable, it was really sad

TitsalinaBumsquash Fri 07-Aug-09 06:59:33

I have worked a variety of jobs and it alwasy amazed me just how rude and impatient the general public are especially when there venom is aimed at people like COGs who they neither know or care about. I found it really soul destroying.

TitsalinaBumsquash Fri 07-Aug-09 07:02:18

I have worked a variety of jobs and it always amazed me just how rude and impatient the general public are especially when thier venom is aimed at people like COGs who they neither know or care about. I found it really soul destroying.

JJsandcat Fri 07-Aug-09 10:14:58

She's just a copy cat though. There's this french woman who has already published a book about her experience as a till girl and it was a bestseller in France.

Still, she writes well and I'm sure it's entertaining, too.

bleh Fri 07-Aug-09 11:32:23

I agree with the others who said it's people who haven't worked in customer services are the worst, and I think everyone should have to, at some stage or another. There's only one person I know who hasn't become kinder or more considerate to serving staff as a result of working in customer services.

When I did it, I found that some people behaved despicably; they take out their bad day on you, and they know that you can't respond. It's like hitting someone with their hands tied. Very cowardly.

LeninGrad Fri 07-Aug-09 11:44:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KarenTTT Fri 14-Aug-09 10:05:33

We have a delivery from Tesco - has anybody heard of the driver who fell over and is now suing the customer!!! - and the drivers are in such a hurry he virtually throws it in the doorway. In there defence, though, I think they don't have long at each address - much pressure from above methinks? Incidentally has anyone seen the blog written by the Tesco delivery driver - very, very funny. Look out for the 'Her name was Lola' story - hilarious!

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