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Posted on September 16, 2005

Nila Priyambodo
Managing Editor

At the end of a shopping day, whether it’s at a mall, supermarket or department store, there’s one thing many of us dread: the check-out line.

On some occasions we’ve encountered new cashiers that seem to be having trouble adjusting to the job.
It’s obvious they’re new. They enter the wrong

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numbers in the computer, they forget to print out a gift receipt and have to re-ring the transaction and they haven’t quite figured out how to return or exchange items.

You can see every bead of perspiration drip down their face, while they’re wishing in their minds that the next customer will have a great attitude, that they are patient while they figure out how things work and that they will have a smooth and easy transaction, free of any complications, by having only a few things in hand to ring-up.

And you can admit that you’re thinking: “That person must be new because they keep asking the manager for help. They are so slow; they are only making a long line longer.”

Well this summer, I became one of those new cashiers when I got my first job in retail.

First of all, I just have to say that the grass is not greener on the other side of the register.

And I have to admit, I was one of those people that would secretly complain to myself about the new cashiers as I tap my feet, anxiously waiting for the line to get shorter so I can just pay and leave the store.
At this new job I’ve dealt with several rude customers who get mad when an item isn’t available, rude customers who get easily angered when they think the price doesn’t match the tag (not knowing that it will automatically change when everything is rung-up) and my favorite are customers who are always in a rush.

They are in such a hurry that they don’t make any eye-contact with me, they reply to questions such as “How are you?” and “Did you find everything okay?” with one-word answers, they tap their fingers on the counter as I count their change and they grab the receipts out of my hand injuring me with multiple paper cuts.

Because of my new job in retail, I have a new found respect for all jobs and for something everyone takes for granted, time.

Yes, the cashiers might be new and might be having a little trouble adjusting to the demands of the job, but they are just trying to earn money like everyone else.

They come into work everyday with the hope of having a great day, and rude customers like the old me would only shatter that hope. So to all the cashiers I might have been rude to, this is my apology.

This job has also made me realize that I don’t take every moment for what it is. I rush through life, like everyone (including the customers I’ve come across), with the fear that there isn’t enough time to do it all.

I try to be two steps ahead of everyone else that I don’t see and admire the steps I have passed.

The cliché “Stop to smell the roses” means a lot more to me now than it did before.

It took a few years and a job in retail for me to figure it out, but I eventually got it.

Nila Priyambodo, a junior journalism major, is managing editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at