A couple of weeks ago, I was at the supermarket to grab a few quick items. I saw an express lane with its light on so I began to put my groceries on the belt.
At that exact second, the cashier shut her light off and said, "Sorry, I'm closed."
There were no other express lanes open.
I was pissed. It was 6pm on the dot. I imagine she's supposed to leave at 6, but that's horrible customer service (and it's not like I had 300 items). If I still worked at The Chopper, that cashier would've received an earful. This happened periodically when I was front-end supervisor at The Chopper, and there's an easy solution -- you shut off the lane light, put a CLOSED sign on the belt and stand in the lane or chain it off, so customers will know in no uncertain terms that the lane isn't open. I really wanted to complain to the Customer Service Manager, but I was also in a hurry to get somewhere so I chalked it up as, "You know what? She sucks," and moved on with life.
Last night I was at the same supermarket to grab a few more quick items. I looked for an express lane, and to my horror found that same girl was working the lane I had just pulled into. I tried backing out and looking for another lane, but it was too late -- someone else had pulled in behind me.
It was a completely different experience. She smiled at me. She did all the over-and-above things cashiers are supposed to do (asking if I found everything, paper or plastic, making real conversation with me instead of sounding like a robot as she pushed everything across the belt). She did a really good job.
I don't know. Maybe we've all been motivated by The Boston Marathon Bombings to be a little kinder. Maybe she was a lousy cashier to someone else in the intervening weeks, someone else who did complain, and she's on notice to get her shit in gear. Maybe she recognized me from the first time and either felt bad or thought maybe she was lucky she got away with one and didn't want to tempt fate.
Everybody can have a bad day. I'm glad both of us had a better day this time around.