I used to be a cashier at a PathMark by where I used to live back in high school. It wasn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but it put cash in my pocket and I was surrounded by good friends that I went to school with. The management always placed me and my two other friends on the same busy night because we were fast.
There were times when we’d walk in the door and there would be utter chaos in there. Lines were backed up to the middle of aisles, cashiers would be out of change, stock boys were put out to help bag and customers would be pissed off at all hell because they have to wait a good 30-45 minutes to get out of the damned store. Then we’d hit the large order lanes (the ones where you bag your own orders) with our shiny blue smocks and bring down lines faster than the little old ladies could write out a check. It was a good thing and it always made the managers happy when they saw us three walk into that door. They knew that within a half hour, we’d have the lines brought down to the level where we’d be playing paper towel football in between checking out customers.
Of course, quickly bringing down lines usually meant we’d be scanning orders so quickly that they’d pile up very quick in the bagging area. Most of the people that knew us in the store, knew to put their groceries on the belt and get to their bagging positions quickly or else their groceries would be squashed and hard to bag otherwise. Most of the time, the managers would bring out a couple of baggers to each of our stations just to keep up with us… It was damned disgusting I tell you.
The secret of course was easy, we knew our fruits and veggies inside and out…
Any schmoe can scan bottles and boxes rather quickly, but a fast schmoe would know what the code for a kumquat is without checking out that stupid book. Vidalia onions, red onions, Spanish onions, different colored peppers, star fruits, plantains… Nothing would get past us. If something stumped us, we’d ring them up as the cheapest thing we knew of to make the customer happy. If you’re paying 14 cents for a 2 pound bag of saffron, you’d be one happy mofo too.
Of course, if you happen to be in a situation like I was today, this knowledge would also be most helpful.
Here I am at the local SuperFresh with a cart full of goodies and I have a speed freak much like my younger self at the register. She starts scanning like a fiend… Groceries flying behind her with the skill of a skeeball shooter hell bent on getting that big ass Kermit. Of course, I realized how crappy of a situation I put myself into because I had to bag all of that stuff quickly, so that the lady behind me wouldn’t get pissed off at my now slower bagging skillz. I started throwing the fruits and veggies onto the belt and saw the look of frustration in my cashier’s eyes. I emptied my cart throwing on fruits and veggies on the belt in key areas to allow me to bag my stuff before she finished scanning. The poor lass slowed to a crawl once she had to bust out the produce book and look up the asparagus and the other aisle 1 goodies. In no time, I had all of my stuff bagged and waited on her for my eggs to float down the belt to bag last. 🙂
Go forth and shop now without worry young grasshopper…