Seasons of gratitude

Columns

News Editor | josiah.thomas@apps.schoolcraft.edu

Having worked retail for nearly five years, all of which involved working during holidays, I know how difficult and downright crazy retail gets because I’ve been in the trenches myself. Never mind the huge crowds that can literally span the length of a football field; the real struggle of retail is trying to help customers through issues that are beyond their control. With a few exceptions, cashiers are in low-paying, monotonous jobs and if you can brighten their week by putting in a good word to their manager, it does help a lot.

Take cashiers, for example. They don’t get paid much more than minimum wage, they work four to eight hours every day since they were hired and they have to take every form of criticism possible while staying professional.

I get it, not getting the discount you shopped three hours for is incredibly frustrating. Anger is a strong motivator and some criticism may be warranted, but very few people go out of their way to praise because it’s hard to find nice words when a coupon doesn’t work or a sale item doesn’t ring up the right way.

Surveys, reviews from sites like Google and Yelp! can be valuable sources of feedback, but bear in mind that a cashier’s performance is measured on all of these things. So, when one person complains that worker needs 10 people to say good things to stay out of the doghouse.

In that situation, the odds are heavily stacked against them. People usually don’t leave positive feedback when they’re happy but the cashiers really need more of that to offset the negative feedback that they get, so if you thought someone did a great job, please say so!

When a customer raves about the good job a cashier does, it may seem like a small thing but it can affect their lives for the better. More than just being recognized at work, a point toward promotion or having a nice thing to put on a resume, it really can make life better for them. Whether it boosted their self-esteem, brightened their mood or made their day better, you helped to make the world a better place. Even if you don’t have time to volunteer with the Salvation Army or St. Leo’s, at least give your cashiers the gift of kindness.

The customers next in line will benefit from that act of kindness you for the person who cashes out your order.