Things Everyone Should Rememer When They’re In the Grocery Store

In my time as a cashier, I have seen the best and worst in people. Best being the kind, considerate customers who want to make their experience, and the experiences of those around them, excellent ones. Worst has a wide range. From customers who treat me like a robot with no feelings, to people who leave packages of raw meat sitting in the dog food aisle, to people who call other cashiers dumb as you check them out. Everything I’ve seen so far has taught me some valuable lessons about customer service, and some important things about being a good customer.

1: Treat other customers as you want to be treated. There are tons of situations that I could apply this to, so I’ll just be general. Be gracious. Don’t behave as if you are somehow entitled to a better spot in line, a certain food item, or anything in general. Show patience with other shoppers, especially elderly customers. I will never forget one night when a sweet elderly lady was in my line. She was writing a check, but her hands were shaky and she was struggling. There was a man in line behind her, who had already sighed very loudly multiple times and given me several dirty looks. Finally he picked up his 3 grocery items, cussed very loudly, and moved to another lane. That is not gracious or kind or thoughtful.

2: All grocery store staff are more than happy to help you (at least I should hope so). However, if they are in the middle of a transaction, it is extremely rude to interrupt and demand that they assist you. Patience is key. And it is also important to understand that while we are there to serve you, that doesn’t mean that we can do anything and everything. Sometimes there is nothing we can do when an item is out of stock. Sometimes you may have to wait several minutes for someone to help you when the store is busy. We will do everything we can to help you, but we are not miracle workers.

3: When you are using coupons or buying an item on sale, please Please PLEASE read the fine print and PAY ATTENTION. Coupons are usually very specific on item size and brand, sometimes even variety. And we can’t make exceptions. Example: If a coupon is for a 12 oz. Item, we can’t apply it to a 16 oz. Item. And when items are on sale, they usually have specifics on the signs or in the ad. In the store I work in, most sales are on Bonus Card items. If you don’t have the card, then you can’t get the sale price, unless I call a manager to my register to use the supervisor card. And on some products, when the sale is Buy One Get One, we can’t give you the discount unless you actually buy two.

4: Be aware of what’s going on around you. Now this might seem like a strange one, but allow me to clarify. Often times, I have been on break or off duty completely, and been asked to put something away that a customer decides they don’t want. I’ve even had customers demand that I open a register, despite my repeatedly telling them that I am off the clock and despite the obvious signs that I am on break (such as me holding my purse, with groceries in my hands, etc.). Another way to apply this one is when it comes to the checkout lanes. Most stores have “Express” lanes, where customers with fewer items can come through without having to wait in long lines. At my grocery store, there are big green signs over the express lanes, and many customers, some who have shopped there for years, choose to ignore the signs and bring overflowing buggies of groceries into the lane. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to serve everyone, but it makes the customers behind very very unhappy and grumpy. Basically, pay attention to what I like to call indicators. Like, if a light on a specific lane is off, and there is one customer left, and that cashier does not invite you into their lane, it usually means that the cashier is preparing to close that register.

5: We don’t make the prices, so please don’t shout at us like we do. This one is especially for the cashiers. I remember far too many times when a customer has come into my lane and complained about the price of an item, and told me that “You shouldn’t charge so much”. I usually tell them that I have no control of the prices, and that if it is that big of an issue they should speak to a manager. However, managers usually have very little control, unless they work in a local “Mom and Pop” store. In chain stores, the corporations make the prices, we just sell items at the price they set.

6: Don’t assume that everyone in the store knows everything about the store. As a cashier, I can usually tell you whereabouts you might find an item, and I can definitely direct you to it. However, I, as a cashier, cannot tell you about the inner workings of the frozen department, or the meat department. And people who work in the deli might not be able to explain the workings of the produce section. If there is a problem with a cut of meat you have, or if you believe the price is wrong on your deli meal, I am more than happy to call up someone from the meat department or deli to help sort things out. But understand that I cannot actually do anything personally about it until I have spoken with someone who knows far more than I do about the situation.

7: Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has bad days. Occasionally, I will mess up someone’s transaction. I might forget to scan their rewards card or scan an item more than once without realizing it. I’ve dropped items before. I’ve forgotten to print the right amount on a check before. And while many of my customers are gracious and patient, I have often had customers who became impatient. I’ve even had a customer call another cashier an idiot as I checked him out, because she made a mistake when she checked him out. While all cashiers and anyone who works in a store should make every effort to do things right, it’s important that customers remember that they are only human. If the mistake is something easily remedied, then what’s the use getting angry about it?

I guess my point is this, we should all strive to make shopping a better experience. And it’s not just customers, all retail workers should do their very best to do their jobs well, and make customers’ experiences great. And if we all do our part, maybe people won’t dread going to the grocery store anymore.

*Disclaimer: I love my job. Despite how hard it is, and how exhausted I am at the end of the day, and the way the music runs through my head all the time, I love it. And one of the reasons I do is the people I work with. I have the best group of coworkers and managers in the world. It’s like working in a big family, and I couldn’t love it more.


When I Look Back

So… I am officially graduated! Yup. It happened on Saturday. I was surrounded by a small crowd of some of the people who have been most important to me (though some were sadly missing). And I spent a lot of that day thinking about all that has happened in these last several years of my life, and how God has worked in them. My “theme verse” so to speak, is Romans 8:28.

“For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.”

And despite some rough times, heartache, and general rough spots, I can honestly say that the verse is true. God has worked for good in some of the toughest situations. And I think it is important to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned through it all.

People are going to hurt you, but you can’t blame yourself when things fall apart. I have definitely known my fair share of hurt, especially in the last several months. I have lost friends, been called horrible names, even had to walk away from people I cared about because of it. I spent so much time blaming myself that I began to think that I deserved what they said and did. I have often felt alone and ostracized, even by the people whom one would think would be the most caring. I know now that I can’t always blame myself for every bad thing that happens. People will hurt you, people won’t always be kind, and sometimes things happen to people you care about. But blaming yourself, blaming anyone for that matter, only makes things worse.

New things aren’t something to be scared of, they can make you into a better person. I have been through plenty of change, and I have lots of experience with having to try new things. Especially in the last few years. Changing friendships, new places, and new jobs and roles to play. I used to hate change. I wanted everything to stay the same. But the changes that have happened lately have ultimately been for the better. Changing friendships? I have been strengthened and encouraged by the amazing friends I have now through some of the toughest times in my life. New places? Heading to a new church a couple of years ago was something I dreaded, but I ended up growing spiritually in ways I never imagined before. Leading a small group on Wednesdays? I have become so much better at communication… And crowd control. Singing in the praise team, I have become so much more confident in using my voice to glorify God. Becoming a cashier at the local grocery store? I have gained so many awesome experiences and new friends. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:

“There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven.”

Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard, even when your opinion is unpopular. I have always been super opinionated, which probably why I want to be a journalist. But I have learned over the years that not everyone is going to like my thoughts on things. But I have learned that you can’t let that stop you from letting your voice be heard. This blog is one way of doing that for me (though I haven’t been very opinionated on here lately). My worldview often runs completely opposite to what everyone else thinks, and sometimes that means losing friends. But I have also found that when I speak my mind in a respectful and educated manner, I also gain people’s respect and trust. A good example: I have very strong views about homosexuality. I cannot bring myself to agree with it, because the Bible says it is wrong. However, I have had friends who are homosexual, and despite our differences, I have found that speaking my mind in the way I do has actually gained the trust and respect of a few of them. One of my friends opened up to me at church one day, and I was touched by her trust despite our differences. I guess the point is this: It’s ok to have a different opinion from others. When you are honest but also kind and thoughtful in your responses, you can actually gain respect from others, even those who don’t agree.

You don’t need the approval of others to be happy. Be who God made you to be and be proud of it. So many of my early teen years were spent trying to make everyone happy. Don’t talk too much. Talk more often. Keep my opinion to myself. Dress less “frumpily”. And so on. I was always picked on for my way of thinking, way of dressing, and my media choices. I spent a lot of time trying to please the people who said these things. I was miserable. But at some point, God reminded me of something important. He made me beautiful. He made me to be unique. Yes, I talk too much. I’m totally a nerd. I definitely have a strange fashion sense. I might seem to be “uptight”. But that’s ok. It’s who I am. And the true friends are the ones who will love me for it.

I could name plenty more, but I’m running out of time to crank this out. This has been a crazy time in my life, especially the last year. School, college prep, summer camps and missions trips, new friends, church, 4-H, and my new job. I am thankful that unlike many of my friends, I don’t have the added stress of keeping up a relationship at this point in my life. These last few months in particular have been incredible. I was accepted into college and started a job back in November. The job in particular has been amazing. Yes, I get stressed and sometimes panic when I feel the equivalent of an asthma attack coming on. And yes, I see the worst in humanity sometimes. But I have been very blessed as well. My coworkers in particular are pretty awesome (though they do call me names and drive me insane) (you know who you are…).

But in all of the craziness, God has been faithful. He has taught me patience and kindness, and the value of waiting on His timing. The future is so often uncertain, but I can have peace knowing that He is guiding my every step.

“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” – My Thoughts

As the MARVEL fanfare played, and the logo flashed across the screen, all of my excitement that had been building over the last few months came to a head. This was it. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” had finally come. And while I was sad to see it alone, that did nothing to quench my excitement and high expectations. After reading various negative review from critics, I had decided to form my own opinion and enjoy the film for what it was. And I was not disappointed.

In terms of the plot, I could find only one flaw (which I will get to in a moment). I know many critics were calling the film “overstuffed”, but I enjoyed the fast pace and various storylines that ran through the film. Were there a ton of battle scenes? You bet. But they were fantastic, and with the excellent dialogue woven throughout, they seemed less like battles. The film hit the ground running from the get go, and wasted no time introducing us to new characters and new plotlines.

And this is where my one issue with the plot came in. One of the new characters, Wanda Maximoff (or Scarlet Witch), has powers that enable her to plant images and visions in peoples minds. While most of these visions were actually pretty interesting and revealing, the one that did not seem to fit was Thor’s. His involved Asgard of course, but included a strange sequence of Heimdall and something about being dead? And then Thor leaves to search for answers. The entire thing seemed extremely out of place.

But now for the most important part: The characters. Tony was self absorbed as always, but his character went through some important growth throughout the film. I think he learned a lot about teamwork and personal responsibility in this movie, and by the end, I think he accepted that maybe he isn’t perfect. Steve was the driving force behind the team as always, and I found it to be very interesting that he was the first one to see some goodness in Pietro and Wanda. Bruce was lovable as always, and still hadn’t come to terms with his Hulk side. There was a surprise twist at the end of the film (but I won’t spoil it for you). Natasha turned out to be one of my favorites this time, particularly once I knew her heartbreaking backstory. And when it came to the “HulkTasha” romance that they had going, I actually was able to get behind it. I never thought I would like it at all, but they worked so perfectly together. It was awesome to finally see Clint get some character development and background, without being controlled by someone. Several things were revealed about his character that put him in a whole new light. Thor was fun as always, and it was cool to see him adjusting to life on earth, even donning… A HOODIE?

As for the new characters, it will be hard to express my feelings about them without making this post way longer than it should be. Pietro and Wanda were everything I hoped they would be, and from the moment they appeared on screen I loved them. As siblings, they naturally share a bond, but as twins, they have a bond that runs deeper than most people can understand. And yet they both are so unique. Wanda is a very stable, grounded person, whose powers are beyond amazing. Pietro is quick thinking and constantly moving. And at several points in the film we see him filling the role as the older twin and brother, caring for her, even as she does her best to guide him and keep him grounded. Ultron was the perfect villain. A robot he may be, but his mannerisms were so humanlike, that I often forgot that he wasn’t human. His snark and quick wit was a good balance against the Avengers, and while his mission wouldn’t have made sense from a human, it worked perfectly for him. While not as compelling as Loki, or chill inducing as Red Skull, Ultron has certainly found his place in the world of Marvel villains.

The one real “wild card” so to speak, was definitely the mysterious individual known as “The Vision”. Leading up to the film’s release, he wasn’t even featured in most of the trailers, with one exception. He was scene from a distance on most of the posters, until a poster with only him was released to the public, as well as a clip. So when the film finally came out, nobody really knew what to expect, and I know that I was unsure as to what his role would be. However, it turns out that Vision is now one of my favorite Marvel characters to date. He is weird, but in an awesome way. Graceful, powerful, and wise beyond the scope of most humans, he is unlike anything we’ve seen so far. He is the perfect opposite to Ultron. While Ultron sees man and wishes to destroy it and is disgusted by human kind, Vision sees humanity and sees the beauty in it, even beneath the failures of the human race. Which lead to an exchange between the two that has some very deep spiritual undertones, and leaves us with something to chew on once the credits roll. While Ultron goes on and on about humanity and it’s failures, and how it can never last forever, Vision quietly intones: “There is grace in their failings, I think you missed that.”

That line struck a chord. As a Christian, I know that I fail God every single day. I also know that we as a people have failed Him over and over again. And yet, time after time, God gives us grace in the midst of our failures. And He grants us the ability to learn from our mistakes and grow, and become more like Him every day. I highly doubt that Joss Whedon was thinking of that when he wrote that line, but even in the entire movie, there seems to be a message about human kind. That while we ultimately fail and do the wrong thing, there is still something in us worth saving.

Of course, on the flip side, some Christians might take issue with Ultron tossing out Biblical references, though I don’t believe for a moment that they were intended to be offensive. Some have also expressed concern that Vision was meant to be the “savior” of the film, and I don’t believe that either. Vision was, however, the thing that ultimately drew the Avengers together. And it is interesting to note that when he is asked whose side he is on, Vision says that he is on neither side, he simply says “I am…”

In terms of the content, cussing will be the biggest concern here. Near the beginning of the film, Tony blurts out the “S” word, causing Steve to reprimand him. This becomes a running gag throughout the film (though the word is never used again). A few uses of the “B” words and some other minor cussing also pop up. Sexual content is nothing too concerning, though we are served a couple of innuendos that actually flew over my head for a second when I saw the movie. Most kids won’t get it fortunately. As mentioned, Natasha and Bruce do have a relationship, which as far as we know hasn’t gone any farther than a kiss. They do, however, talk of showering together. Violence was actually at a minimum, which is surprising considering the scope of this film. Most of the “death” we see is robots being destroyed in various ways, so no blood there. There is a major character death that left me in tears, and though it isn’t gory, we do see gunshot wounds and a little blood. Other than that, most of the violence is mild, with only a little blood here and there. There is one bit where a man’s arm is violently removed, but it is fleeting, and the worst is off camera.

Overall, Age of Ultron was a fantastic film. A wild ride full of laughter, craziness, and some tears. This film made it clear that the Marvel Universe is entering a new phase, with new Avengers coming on scene and some character departures. And once the credits roll, we even get a taste of what’s ahead in the mid-credit’s scene. And when the screen went dark and the rest of the credits began to play, we are left with a lot to ponder, more than we are usually treated to.

So I am giving “Avengers: Age of Ultron” 4 ½ out of 5 stars, the extra half being taken off for those content issues. I would definitely recommend this film for teens over the age of 13!



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