The Missing Pot of Gold on the Other Side of the Rainbow

Grocery stores are filled with magic. There is a magic little man that goes around spreading joy to shoppers by filling the shelves with Marshmallow Lover’s Hot Chocolate and Lucky Charms. It is as if every aisle brings a new discovery and all sorts of possibilities, and the whole experience is peaceful and wonderful. The grocery store is the perfect place to wander around and just think about life while mindlessly filling the shopping cart. Of course everything changes the moment you get a job as a cashier at Rainbow Foods.

Now I wince every time any one even mentions a grocery store. It seemed like the perfect place to work because I love going grocery shopping. I arrived at Rainbow at 3 o’clock on June 11 running off of five hours of sleep for my first job interview because I did Relay for Life the night before and stayed up all night. Nonetheless, the manager was impressed by the fact that I was so dedicated to volunteering. Once I got the job, I realized there was so much I didn’t realize about the working world. For one thing, people are mean.  I have had people be rude or mean to me in the past, but I never realized how psycho people are to cashiers. People seem to think it is ok to take out all of their frustrations at cashiers. For some reason, people also think cashiers are paid to listen to their problems. We are their shrinks.
Over the summer Rainbow played Monopoly. One day I asked a guy if he played our Monopoly, “Ha, as if I need any more games. Try having two women love you, one being your fiancée and the other your boss.” My eyes widened, and I’m pretty sure all I could mutter was, “eh, haha ok have a nice day….” Another lady exclaimed, “I’m going to get a kitten tonight!” when I asked her if she had a Rewards Card. But some of my interactions have been less humorous. I’ve experienced everything from being yelled at about not scanning the monopoly card to 50-something-year-old guys telling me I’m pretty. As you can imagine, many times I have wanted to toss my apron to the floor and walk out.
I’ve also started a list of the types of customer I don’t like:
  1. Mean people (Seriously, stop shopping. Hire someone to do your shopping for you, take an acting class so you can at least pretend to be nice, or take the advice given to five-year-olds: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I mean it, stop being mean to your cahsiers.)
  2. People that are obsessive about their coupons (You would be surprised how many people have coupon books).
  3. People that have five transactions and hold the line up
  4. People with five transactions and a million coupons so that they get $100 worth of stuff for less than $15
  5. The lady that only buys a bag of potatoes and then causes other people to leave the line because we have been waiting for a price check for so long
  6. The guys that smell
  7. People with dirty hands
  8. People that watch the screen and freak out when the price doesn’t come down right away (I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “The price for the [insert their food item here] will come down at the end of the transaction”).

But there are also people that I like:

  1. The couple that offered to pay for a woman’s groceries because she left her wallet at home (It was the sweetest thing I have ever seen at Rainbow).
  2. Young guys (It is less creepy if they think you’re cute, and they are fun to talk to)
  3. People that start conversation with me
  4. The woman that said it was nice to meet me after our conversation tonight
  5. The people that tell me what a good job I am doing
  6. The old man that thanked me for working on the 4th of July
  7. My coworkers (They are some of my favorite people in the world)
  8. The couple that told me I look like a movie star today (The wife said I look like Natalie Portman, and the husband said I look like Mayim Bialik from the Big Bang Theory).
  9. One of the guys in my grade that thanked me for “Checking him out” via Facebook and had to clarify “Checking my groceries out of course.”
These people make me happy; they make up for every person in the first list that ruins my day. Thankfully I am no longer a consistent employee at Rainbow because of school. I only worked today because they need extra help before Thanksgiving. And while my feet hurt, my back aches, and I didn’t get a chance to do homework, I’m glad I worked today. Sure it was a long day, and eight hour shifts really suck, but it was nice to be back. My coworkers (all women from their forties to late sixties) greeted me with joy and told me how glad they were to have me back. My favorite, Terry, (this lady in her sixties that every customer I know loves) called me from the next register over to tell me, “Don’t worry about that last lady. She’s always a pain the ass.” It made my day.
Natalie Portman                                Me                                  Mayim Bialik
(Yeah… I’m not seeing it… but I still like those people)