Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cashier apprenticeship

I seriously like being a cashier.

Most of my family have been or are in a service industry and all of my employment has been service related. There are known sociological and psychological reasons for this so I won't go into the "why" of that.

Most of my adult employment (so not speaking of carhop and waitress years) has been in health care which happens to be one of those fields in which the odds of having a happy outcome and/or happy interaction with your patient/customer are low. That means that though the work can be fulfilling, as often as not the care provider will go home after a day's work feeling drained or depressed.

If, as I chose to do the last 10 years, you decide to take a step back and give service to the caregivers instead of being in direct patient care you probably won't have to deal with as many bad outcomes. That doesn't mean, though, that you are completely buffered from their pain and anxiety. Because of the complexity of the laboratory software that I supported, there were often times that I was unable to help with the problem either because of a defect in the software itself or because the need wasn't specifically addressed by the software as it was written. That meant that those ten years were still filled with angst and a referred pain (certainly felt when the client's frustrations with the limitations of the software became verbal abuse of the messenger/me).

So cashier world is so stress free in relation to what I have been doing for 30 years that I can only describe myself as chipper as I go through my day. Not that the job is easy; I am quite surprised by the complexity of the job, but it doesn't stress me at all. Once I become proficient at it I imagine the stress will be even less.

The only annoyance I have is that what I have learned so far is purely OJT (On the Job Training). There are CBLs (Computer Based Learning modules) for the position but the system hasn't yet acknowledged my job change so they are not yet available to me. They include training on the cash register, how to bag groceries, and other basics that would be really, really helpful. Especially I would like to get the training on bagging. I try to use common sense while bagging but, as everyone who knows me well would attest, I really like manuals and that includes manuals on how to do my job.

Physically the job is much easier than produce but I still am sore after standing for 8 hours a day and my low back wants to whine a bit. The store does have those floor mats that are designed to lessen the problem of standing for so long and I will probably start doing so abdominal strengthening to address by low back issues but otherwise I think there isn't much to be done. I think the most physically fit would still feel leg pain if they stood for 8 hours a day.

Tucson Festival of Books this weekend; Ed and I will be going tomorrow. And next Saturday is the Air Show!!!! I specifically asked for 3/20 off to go to it and we are actually buying VIP tickets for it. The tickets give you access to a covered area in which there is comfortable seating and refreshments. That means that we can walk around looking at all the static displays and not have to worry about finding a shaded spot, renting chairs, and then staying put until the show begins. As anyone who has ever been to an Air Show can attest, shade is at a premium on a flight line.

My oldest son, who is in the Army, and my daughter-in-law are still expecting my first grand-baby and are in the process of moving to Alaska. My daughter is going to finish her undergrad this semester and is in the process of applying for grad school while continuing to live with and love her poetry man. The twins are continuing as they have been; one in the Navy going to school to become a Fire Controlman (which has nothing to do with fire and everything to do with weapon systems) and the other working at Walmart and submitting his FAFSA to facilitate his college-boundness.

Ed's kids are also continuing as they have been; the oldest in Afghanistan with the Army, the middle son working on joining the Navy as an aviator, and the youngest in college while working part time as a photographer. So all is really right with our worlds (except for wishing that our troop was already home from Afghanistan). I will continue to update as I have information.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really glad you got to do the cashier position instead of restocking. Cashiering is actually sort of fun in a mathy-sciencey way, for whatever reason. I know I hated it, but remember I was 18 when I worked at that Super K and when people looked at me funny I wanted to crumple up and die. And since I find human interaction terrible no matter what, customer service is never going to be my bag.

    You actually like to talk to people, mostly, and can be cool even when they're yelling at you because the price of bananas went up 30 cents. At 18 I would have started shaking and run away and now I'd yell back and get fired instantly, so you are in a much better customer service place than I ever was or will be.

    I always feel like bagging is all about heavy on the bottom, light on the top, chemicals and breakables separate. But when I was doing it, bagging was strictly paper or plastic, so I don't know how I'd deal with someone who wants all their items crammed into two canvas bags.