Day 4: No, I will not open another register.

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.

One of the absolute worst things you can do as a customer is to ask an employee to open another register. It is self-centered, presumptuous, and almost always unneccesary.

Let's just take these one by one and then I'll give you a recent example, okay?

First: Self-centered. Your belief that lines shouldn't exist because you are above them for whatever reason is baffling and unacceptable. It is also evidence that you are a bad person. Everyone has to wait in lines. It's absolutely ridiculous that some people feel entitled to interrupt people at work, as well as their fellow customers who are at the front of the line, in order to voice their displeasure.

Second: Presumptuous. You are assuming that you know better than every single person who is working in the store at the moment, and you're also assuming you could manage the line better if you were in our circumstances. I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that both of these things are completely false.

Third: Unnecessary. The way Old Navy's lines are set up make them look longer than they actually are. You can be halfway down the register lanes and only have to stand in line for about five minutes. And if you think five minutes is too long to wait, then you are the problem. Also, and this goes hand in hand with the presumptuous part, why are you assuming that we have extra people we can call up? We are already aware of the line situation. If there's something we can do about it, or if we need to do something about it, we will.

I've only blogged about this once or twice because it pretty much always goes the same way. There are about six people in line and two registers open. This means that the last person in line will wait about six minutes as long as the transactions are normal. Are the transactions going to be normal? Well, I have already evaluated what all of the people in line have in their hands. If they had large transactions, I would have already called for backup. But they don't, so I haven't. The person in the back of the line is looking at how many people are ahead of them and thinking, goodness, it probably takes five minutes for each person ahead of me to be checked out, so I'm going to be standing in this line for 30 minutes. (Or 15, if they account for the fact that there are two cashiers.)

They are fully mistaken, of course, but once they get this in their mind, they are sure of it and there's nothing else to be done.

Now let's get to a story.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a line of about, you guessed it, six people. My manager and I were checking people out, so we're both very experienced and fast, which people would be able to tell if they were paying any attention. There were several other employees in the store, but that was only because we were getting ready for inventory. Every single other employee that was in the store was specifically working on inventory, so it was really just the two of us at the time.

I finished with a customer, so I called the next customer up and said "Hi, thanks so much for your patience! How are you doing?"

She sighed (of course). "I'd be doing better if you would open up another register."

Oh really? Should *I* open up another register? Would you like me to ring people up on two registers at once? I don't really think that would be more effective.

"Oh I'm so sorry, but we don't have anyone else who can hop on right now. The line moves a lot faster than it looks, though."

"So all those people I saw while I was shopping aren't able to ring?"

"Not all of them, and they all have other things they're working on. Was your wait too long? It shouldn't have been more than about five minutes."

"That's really unfortunate that they can't all help you ring."


Then someone about halfway down the line (so literally there are two people in front of her and she's been standing in line for about three minutes) yelled, "Can we open another line or something? Geez!"

"We're doing the best we can and we'll be with you in just a moment, thanks for your patience!"

"'The best you can' is ONE register on a Saturday?"

"There are two registers open, ma'am."

The woman in front of me huffs, "She's right, though, this is honestly ridiculous."

(Side note: I would have been done with her transaction by now if she hadn't gotten all huffy and distracted the conversation so aggressively.)

This is the point where I had had enough. "My manager's running the other register if you'd like to talk to him."

And reader, she did. Like, way to help us get things done faster. Thanks a ton.

Today's pro-tip: Get. Over. Yourself. Seriously. You are buying clothes. They are likely not clothes you need. Be willing to wait a few minutes and give the store's employees the benefit of the doubt.

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