1. When the music shuts off. It gets so quiet and awkward.
2. Waiting on a price check. This become especially awkward when I have already started ringing the customer out, and the last or next to last item is missing a price. During these moments, I cannot even let the next customer go while waiting, lest I suspend the transaction, but it’s too awkward to ask if it’s cool to do that. So I stand there while the line gets longer and have no idea when the price will be found. The moment of truth can make or break the ultimate awkwardness. If the customer learns the price is too dear, he or she will not take the item, and all awkwardness was in vain.
2a. Discovering a switched ticket. It’s very awkward to call a manager in front of the customer while they “wonder” what is wrong. Then to explain the situation in front of the customer, explain it to the customer, and have someone find the right price – they will NOT want the item after, and we know it. Awkward kniving pain.
3. When a storm causes the system to slow down. Credit and debit cards take forever to go through. According to my plan of action, I rest my hand on the receipt printer and await the receipts to hand to the customer in one swift motion. But when the system is slow, I awkwardly stand with my arm outstretched, hand resting and ready for quite some time, staring at the screen. This sometimes worries the customer into thinking something is wrong with his or her card. The customer becomes flustered while I have nothing to really say.
4. Lectures on credit cards. I must ask every customer if he or she would like to apply for a TJX Rewards Credit Card. Even though I have said “credit card” they ask, “Is it a credit card?” Yes. “THEY’RE BAD NEWS” and then I am lectured on the customer’s own debt and problems They proceed to tell everyone in line how merely applying for a credit card knocks your credit score down. I know, I know! I’m only doing my job. And quite frankly, they are doing their job – being a typical awkward customer.
5. Checking big bills for counterfeit. We do not use the markers anymore. Even markers are not fool proof. I must hold a big bill up to the light, look for the watermark of the same president, and a band of numbers and words. The mere questioning of a bill (every one I get, not just suspicious looking ones!) makes me feel awkward in front of the customer. I worry he or she will wonder if I do not trust them, and I only want the customer’s trust! I do not want to insult any customers.
6. Having no dimes. We are not given dimes anymore. Any dimes we have in our registers are those that we have acquired in our transactions. The company figured dimes were pointless and gave us an extra $5 in ever register. OK. So when I have to give someone 70-74 cents, that’s quite a few nickels. And some people don’t appreciate the lack of maximum efficiency of coins!
7. The Queue. According to standards TJX has set for our stores, the registers are now to be set in up such a fashion that directs each customer to the next available check out register in one fluid line. This is opposed to a big heard gathering at the service desk and customers choosing which line they want to get into. Along with this grand scheme comes the make shift labyrinth of the queue: several shelves and tables loaded with merchandise formed into a chute that begins near the mens department with a big sign “RETURNS AND PURCHASES.” This entrance happens to be opposite the entrance to the store, so customers coming in with returns must walk all the way the other side to get in line. Breaking the news to customers is the hardest at this point. The second worst is when they’ve trekked all the way up the queue and start complaining to me about how terrible of a journey they’ve had walking a whole 19 feet out of their way.
One mother of a customer finally waddled her way up to my counter midway through her daughter’s purchase. “Who’s idea was this [queue]?!” Well, certainly not mine, now come on! “This is why retail is dead! Ya get so tired walking up to the register that you have no energy to shop,” thank goodness the checkout comes at the end of shopping. She outstretched her bingo arm to show me the half empty store behind her. She then proceeded to tell me all about how Wal Mart is taking over retail. What do you want me to say? I’m sorry, customers, ok? I’m sorry our queue is awful!
Another little elderly woman told me there are blogs about how bad our queue is. Well, google Marshalls and queue together and this is probably the only blog you will find.