Incompetent Cashiers- A Sign of the Times
As a teenager and young adult, I held numerous part-time cashier positions. At every single establishment I worked at, I remember going off the worksite to receive extensive training before my first shift. This included, 1. How to greet and interact with customers in a friendly and professional manner. Challenging situations were role played. 2. How to handle cash register transactions. Basic addition, subratraction and multiplication skills were reinforced and we were also taught how to quickly and accurately calculate change owed to customers without relying on the till or a calculator. Balancing the cash drawer at the end of the shift was stressed. And finally, 3. How to detect counterfeit money.
What has happened over the last thirty years? I have witnessed so many situations where it is evident that the cashier has not been trained properly. I can go so far as to say that hardly any of them crack a smile or make eye contact and most of them appear bored and zombie like as they scan bar codes and press buttons on the register. About one month ago, at a large grocery chain, the cashier's register stopped working and did not display change owed. I gave a fifty dollar bill for payment and the cashier had no clue how to proceed. She froze. It was so painful to watch an adult struggling with simple, elementary school math and I finally had to tell her how much she owed me. Another recent incident was even more appalling and unprofessional and frankly was the last straw that instigated this blog entry. I bought a coffee to go at a large coffee shop chain and for payment I gave the cashier a ten dollar bill. She eyed the bill for about ten seconds and then stated it looked "old" and "not real" and would have to check its authenticity. I thought she would go to the back room to speak with her supervisor, but instead, she left the coffee shop and went across the street to a bank, leaving a line-up of people waiting and no other staff in sight. She returned about seven minutes later, giggling, as she told me and all the other customers that my money was "okay".
Unfortunately, the situations described above are the signs of the times. We have become too dependent on machines to do all our thinking. Are basic math, money management and socialization skills being taught in Highschool? Have employers cut costs by reducing and even eliminating proper staff training ? Has human contact been deemed unimportant as we do most of our employee training and communication with friends, family and coworkers online? Whether we are consumers or employees in customer service, we are all slowly losing our ability to socialize, memorize and problem solve. We are slaves to technology and it is making us intellectually and socially lazy. This has to STOP!