Day 10: The basics of paying with cash

Welcome to 12 Days of Retail. My last day (for real this time) at Old Navy is quickly approaching and this series serves as a sort of wrap-up to my time there. I've rounded up the worst customer offenses into 12 general categories. Some are truly terrible and some are relatively minor, but together they cover almost everything that is terrible about working retail, in my ten years of experience.

Just like people have trouble paying with cards, people also have a whole lot of trouble paying with cash. It is similarly annoying but slightly more gross. Here are the worst offenses.

1. Putting cash on the counter when my hand is out

This kind of goes back to that whole "I'm a person" thing. When you are getting your cash out, I'm paying attention to you. So when you're about to relinquish the cash, I have my hand outstretched. You know, kind of like you're about to hand something to me. Putting cash on the counter instead is incredibly rude and shows that either you are not paying attention to the person you are having an interaction with or you are paying attention but just don't care that the person is expecting you to treat them like a human.

In addition to just being rude, it's also less efficient. When you put the cash down on the counter, I now have to pick it up off the counter. If it's all in a nice stack, that's not so bad, but if you've spread out the coins, which happens a lot, I now have to pick up each individual coin. Like, you just had all of those in your hand, dude! You could have transferred them to my hand very easily and we would have all saved some time.

2. Storing cash in your bra when it's hot out

Y'all, this is just gross. I know that a lot of people do this, and I'm not supposed to judge it, but I've had to handle sweaty boob cash way too often to be okay with it. I honestly prefer waistband cash to boob cash. Boobs are just sweaty more often, I think.

If you're going to store your cash in your bra, take it out before you get up to the register, yeah? Like maybe start airing it out when you're in the fitting room.

3. Paying with lots of coins

Counting out a bunch of coins to pay with is the ultimate cheap move. I want you to use those coins, absolutely. I'm not a person who doesn't value change. But either take them to a Coinstar or roll them up and take them to a bank. Up to two or three dollars is okay with me, as long as it's not 100% pennies. But past that, you are wasting everyone's time.

Even worse is when people combine numbers one and three, paying with a ton of change that they have all spread out on the counter. Like, no.

And a side note on this one: I have to count the change no matter what. You telling me impatiently that it's all there when I'm counting your five dollars in nickels isn't going to make me stop counting. I'm not giving you an accidental discount or end the day with my register short, okay?

4. Having your cash spread out throughout your purse so that you can't find it easily

People are very, very disorganized with their cash sometimes. People keep their cash in envelopes from the bank, in their wallet, in the zippered part of their purse, in their pockets, in their bras, in their waistbands, in their kids' purses, in their husbands' wallets and in the bottom of their strollers, and those are just the ones I could think of faster than I could catch up typing.

That is fine, keep your cash wherever you want, but just know that I am judging you when you have to say "Oh, hold on, where was the rest of that?" and then remember the next location while you're attempting to come up with an amount of cash equal to or greater than your balance.

Just like the bra money, get it together in advance.

5. Refusing to use smaller bills even though I ask you to

We are usually able to break $50 and $100 bills. But sometimes it's the first thing in the morning and I've already had two people pay with hundreds and it would really be a lot more convenient if I didn't have to open up the safe to get change for your $100 bill.

I don't ask people for smaller bills unless I physically see that they have smaller bills in their wallet, and yet a lot of people will still say "Noooo, sorry."

Now, I understand both sides on this one. Sometimes I want to use a specific bill for a specific transaction because I want to keep my money organized in a specific way, but if an employee says, "I'm sorry, would it be possible for you to use something smaller? I don't have enough change in my drawer right now to break a hundred," I'm going to use the smaller bill. It's just common courtesy.

Today's pro-tip: Have your cash organized and try not to be gross.

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