Be kind to the checkout chick this Christmas Eve - they're people too.
Be kind to the checkout chick this Christmas Eve - they're people too.

Supermarket survival tips from other side of the checkout

THERE'S one poor soul out there who is always forgotten about this time of year.

Chance are you'll see them today, and hopefully you won't treat them like dirt.

I'm talking about the humble 'checkout chick'.

And today's the worst day to be one.

You see, for four and a half years through high school and university I worked the checkouts and stacked the shelves at my local supermarket.

I had a lot of fun there. The work was pretty repetitive but it was my colleagues who made it worth while. I'm friends with many of them still.

But days like Christmas Eve (which isn't a public holiday, so no extra money) and the people who came through the doors really pushed it.

So I've come up with a couple of tips for anyone hitting the shops today for that last Christmas rush to make sure the supermarket employees have a good Christmas also!

  • Remember, they're people too. Contrary to popular belief, the teenager girl working on the counter has feelings. Lots of them. Not only is she pulling an eight hour shift today with no extra pay, but she's got a lot on her mind. You know, normal teenage stuff - don't make me go into any details. My point is, the last thing she needs is your stress heaped onto her. Seriously, I've seen 16 year olds reduced to tears by what customers have said to them.
  • Be nice. I had a theory about the obnoxious and rude customers. At home they were kind, mild-mannered people who never raised their voice. But away from their family, friends and their colleagues they let their true selves come out, and the service cashier is the one to cop it. We're not there to be verbal punching bags. I find it hard to believe that a service cashier, who you only interact with for five to 10 minutes, can get you so angry that you blow your lid at them. Don't yell and don't get angry if something's not coming up at the price advertised on the shelf - it's a remarkably easy fix and you might end up getting it for free.
  • Don't ask from anything out the back. Seriously, it's empty out there. We're not keeping anything from you and laughing to ourselves when you can't find it. If it's not on the shelf then you will have to look elsewhere.
  • Busiest aisle? Soft drink and chips. Stay away if you want to keep your sanity intact. This will be the busiest aisle by far today. Grocery assistants will be running back and forward all day between the back dock and front of the store carrying out those big 30 can packs of Coca Cola.
  • Do you really need all that food? Seriously, the shops are shut for one day. ONE DAY! I'd say there are way too many people out there overestimating how much they and their families are going to eat on the big day. Fair enough to stuff your face - but some people are just pushing the boundaries of human possibilities
  • Keep your jokes to yourself. If I had a dollar for every time an item didn't scan and someone said 'it must be free' then I'd be retired by now.

Now that we've got that cleared up. Have a Merry Christmas!

Patrick Williams is the digital producer for the Sunshine Coast Daily. Stacking shelves at the supermarket was the best free workout he ever had.


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