A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

13 Things Store Cashiers Secretly Wish You Would Stop Doing

Every job comes with its own set of nuisances and for store cashiers, chances are you're it.

1 / 14
Self-checkout counter in a supermarket. Modern technology in trade. Electronic cashier
September15/Getty Images

Essential workers

Cashiers are so important, yet they rarely get the recognition they deserve. During a time when most of us are afraid to leave our homes, they brave public spaces every day so that we can still buy necessities. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re not making cashiers’ lives harder than usual by doing these 13 things store cashiers wish you would stop doing.

2 / 14
Young woman hand doing process payment on a touchscreen cash register, finance concept (color toned image)
Simon Kadula/Shutterstock

Don’t expect a cashier to compute the total in his or her head

Granted technology has its glitches, but computerized cash registers exist to make the checkout process that much smoother. So cashiers would love it if you let them do their thing. “I hated when people expected me to be able to figure out their exact change in my head,” says Monica Bender, who worked as a cashier in college. “Guess what? I’m not good at math. But do you know who is? This machine I’m standing in front of. So I’m going to let it do its job.” Find out 29 other things your grocer won’t say to your face but would like you to know.

3 / 14
COQUITLAM, BC, CANADA - MAY 8 - Coquitlam BC Canada - May 8, 2014 : Holding coupon for saving item. All coupons for Canadian store, they are issued by manufacturers of consumer packaged goods Canada.

Have those coupons ready

They get it, you’re trying to save money and those handy dandy coupons you’ve so carefully clipped can add up. But could you present them in a timely fashion? “I’ve had a long checkout line stacked up because a customer is digging through her purse trying to find crumpled up coupons at the bottom,” says Melanie Carson, a grocery store cashier. “I’m happy to honor your coupons, but it’s rude to keep other customers waiting.”

4 / 14
New barcode scanner at check out in shop.Cashier tool in store.Buy product and scan barcodes.Modern laser scanning technology equipment in warehouse.

And another thing about coupons

Rules on coupons may vary from store to store and many don’t accept expired coupons (that date is there for a reason). “Again, happy to honor current coupons, but the store I work at doesn’t allow for any that are expired,” says Carson. “I’ve had so many shoppers try to argue their way into having me accept it anyway. I can’t. I’m just doing my job.” If you end up insisting on using your expired coupons, you might just be doing one of the rudest things you can do in a grocery store.

5 / 14
shopping, payment, consumerism and people concept - woman paying money and cashier at store cash register
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Sales tax isn’t optional

Cashiers don’t set the sales tax, so do not ask them if there’s a workaround. “A customer actually asked if I would not charge tax if they paid cash,” says Jessica Lee, recalling one of her most questionable experiences while working in retail. “What kind of operation do you think this is and why do you think I can control the prices?”

6 / 14
Man is buying a bottle of wine at the supermarket.

Don’t ask them to break the law

“In New York, it used to be illegal to buy alcohol before noon on Sunday,” recalls Sarah Shaw, who worked at a grocery store during high school. “Our register literally wouldn’t let me ring it up. And oh man, people would go ballistic over that one, especially if it was 11:45.” This is just one of the 21 things that go on behind the aisles in a grocery store that you probably don’t know about.

7 / 14
High angle view of cashier searching for change in cash

Smaller bills are appreciated

“I was a cashier at a pizza place in high school,” says Megan Molloy. “I still dream about the pizza. What I don’t dream about was the incessant need for customers to break $100 bills at a modest pizza joint. There was a bank right next door!” This is also an example of a time where it’s better to break out your credit card than pay cash.

8 / 14
Cash-desk with cashier and terminal in supermarket

Treat cashiers the way you want to be treated

Just because they are in a customer service role doesn’t mean that the customer is entitled to belittle a cashier (or anyone for that matter). “People would make demeaning comments about my intelligence like I was stupid because I was working a register,” says Shaw.

9 / 14
Closeup image of hands of a female african customer giving her bank card to a coffee shop cashier to pay for her cappuccino

Don’t haggle set prices

Whether it’s a department store, grocery store, or any place else that sells goods with set prices, don’t try to negotiate a better deal with the cashier. “You wouldn’t believe have many customers have tried to haggle over the price of an item. This isn’t a garage sale,” says Morgan Winter, who has worked in retail for over a decade. Instead, try one of these 50 money-saving secrets from your favorite stores.

10 / 14
US dollar coins placed outside the wallet.

Coins can create chaos

Several of the cashiers we spoke with expressed frustration with customers paying in coins. Coins are indeed currency, but maybe count them out before it’s your turn to pay—and leave your penny collection at home.

11 / 14
Closeup of woman's hands holding clothes tag in store

Don’t complain about the prices

Maybe you’re just venting about the cost of living these days, but please don’t complain about the store’s prices to the cashiers. It’s one thing to make conversation, it’s another thing entirely to be belligerent about the cost of your shopping trip. “You are the one shopping, if you don’t like the prices then don’t shop here,” says Lee.

12 / 14
Close up of a man using Smart-Phone in clothing store

Put your phone away

Unless it’s an emergency, phone conversations can wait. “Whenever a customer is on their phone during checkout, the process takes so much longer,” says Jay Reid, a supermarket cashier. “Either they’re not paying attention when it’s time to pay or they want to change something about their order after they’ve been rung up and we have to start the process over again.”

13 / 14
Customer buying food at supermarket and making check out with cashdesk worker in store. Shopping, sale, consumerism and people concept. 7 September 2018. Amsterdam. Netherlands

Don’t get in line until you’re done shopping

Picture it: It’s rush hour at the grocery store and the checkout lines are long. Inevitably there will be one customer who parks their cart in a line and then proceeds to run around the store grabbing everything they need. Cashiers would love it if you’d quit doing that. “You’re not fooling anyone,” says Maria Camby, a current grocery store employee. “And you’re also making it so the people behind your cart in line are annoyed and slowing down the checkout process.” It’s also one of the rudest things people do at the grocery store. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered—here’s how to pick the fastest grocery store line.

14 / 14
Young woman at the counter in the store

Get real about returns

If you think you’re pulling one over on a cashier trying to return well-worn socks, clothes, and other items, think again. “Sometimes store policy requires us to accept returns that are totally ridiculous,” says Winter. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t cringe while doing it. It’s really bad form to return something that you’ve already gotten plenty of use from.” If you’re ever worried about returning an item, these are the stores with the best policies.