I had to run over to Target to buy some knee pads for my daughter. She has been riding her scooter outside since it has been warm and she fell and scraped her knee, so we told her she could wear knee pads while riding just in case she falls again. I was a little tempted to skip the sporting goods section and go straight for the office supplies to buy bubble wrap. She really is my child, she trips while standing still. I found the knee pads and headed straight for the checkout. I would normally stroll around for awhile just in case I needed something that wasn’t on my radar until I saw it but I have a bit of a cold so I am cranky and don’t really want to be out of the house any longer than I have to.
As I get in line I notice the woman currently checking out is buying everything in the store that is Troll related. She has bags and games and dolls, all Troll themed. She must be having a birthday party, or she just really likes trolls. As I am surveying her goods to see if there is anything my daughter would like I hear a voice a few people behind me say “less small talk, more ringing up”. I think the cashier also heard, as she starts bagging more aggressively, arm over arm in a frenzy. She stops chatting with the customer as the smile leaves her face. She has just been chastised for being friendly.
I watch her a little more closely now as her face gets flush. She definitely heard the female customer reprimand her like a child for not doing her job quickly enough. I feel for this woman. I wonder how many times a day she hears rude customers comment on how they think she is performing her job. I wonder how many chatter boxes she has to try to listen to while still ringing up their items in a timely manner with a smile on her face. The customer is always right, right? I can see that the woman who is checking out is excited about whatever event she is purchasing an entire Troll village for and the cashier was sharing in her excitement until a bully peed on the parade. I guess there wasn’t a Bergen on that conveyor belt, just one in line.
The Troll purchase completes and off goes another happy Target shopper. The customer ahead of me checks out without saying a word to the cashier. She nods her head a few times in response. As this transaction is taking place another line opens and when the new cashier calls over the next guest I motion for the woman behind me to go ahead. I am not in that big of a hurry and my cart is already next to the conveyor belt. She and the bully cart their merchandise over to checkout aisle eleven. It feels like the store has gone silent. I’m sure it hasn’t, it’s just the small group of us checking out who have deflated a little after hearing one person say be quiet.
As I approach the cashier to check out she asks how I am. I tell her fine and ask how she is. Her response is “I’m good. Thank you for asking”. When she asks “just this?” I make a joke about it being the first time I have ever bought only one item at Target and she laughs. She makes a little small talk about the knee pads as my credit card is processing and hands me my receipt. And off I go, another happy Target shopper. I had to glance back as I walked away to see the bully one more time, and sure enough she stood stone faced while checking out. I don’t know if she had even made eye contact with her cashier.
The funny thing is that I had been in line at this same store a few days prior when there were actually long lines and I was in a hurry. People around me were visibly agitated and the cashiers all still smiled and rang up items as fast as they could. It was an unexpected rush of customers and I think the computers were slow. But nobody yelled out rude comments or heckled cashiers trying to do their job. That Bergen would have lost her mind on that day!