by Harry Sweetditch
Basic daily interactions with other humans can be trying. Listening to, and then answering questions? Talk about exhausting! Because you don’t know what a given Cashier might be thinking about you, just the act of paying for the food that sustains you can require every ounce of concentration and anxiety you can spare, requiring additional sustenance, requiring additional interactions with cashiers, and thus plunging you into a vicious cycle. The smart shopper prepares.
You know the standard lines—“Nice day” or “Tasteful tattoo” or “Man, I sure could go for a DVD from Redbox”—but we call those “standard” for a reason. Using one of those will notify your cashier that you’re dull, one of the relentless throng they deal with all day, every day. That you are a willing participant in mass culture is the last thing you want to expose to anyone in the service industry. They view it as a sign of weakness and may become aggressive, demanding, or aroused.
Here are some tips for handling Cashiers and overcoming the “cold-sweat-diarrhea-panic” that a payment-type situation provokes:
Engage them before they engage you
Having to answer questions like “Doing anything fun today?” or “Got plans for the weekend?” is not a tolerable option. To ensure that I’m in control, I like to start the conversation before I even pass the tabloids. If there’s a line, and the customer in front of you is chatting with your future Cashier, look for lulls during which you can interject.
Does that idea make you uncomfortable? The world isn’t going to wait on you. You have to make your own destiny. The petty rules by which you used to live must be shed if you’re going to survive this contest with the other, your Cashier.
Offer to barter
No grocery store will actually allow you to barter other goods or services in exchange for groceries, no matter how attractive the offer, or how persistently you pursue your offer with the assistant manager, branch manager, or regional manager. They seem to be of a single mind on this proposition. They’ll only accept fiat currency, the collective dream from which we all refuse to wake. But if you merely offer to barter, you’ll find yourself putting your Cashier well off her footing, to the extent that you shouldn’t have to endure further, grating conversation.
Try this: “I make fine mahogany duck decoys. They’ve been valued at $50 dollars a piece by experts in the field. Will you accept two of them as a substitute for legal tender in payment for these $80 dollars of groceries?”
Your Cashier’s stunned silence will be your reward.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You may want to keep a few mahogany duck decoys around, just in case you get a bite. Nothing is worse than being found out by a Cashier in an out and out lie. The balance of power can never be restored. You can purchase decoys from me, via my site. Cost is $50 per duck. Boy and girl duck models available. Bow indicates girl duck. Absence of bow indicates boy duck.
Intentionally offend the cashier
This may seems just a bit counter-intuitive, and unnecessarily rude. But you didn’t come to this how-to to be coddled, did you? You came to learn mastery of yourself and your Cashier. But, as you’ll see, we’re not going to leave them in a state of insulted despair.
I recommend going after your Cashier’s name. In most grocery stores, your Cashier will have a name tag, and will be especially vulnerable because of this. Try this:
*Cashier’s name tag reads “Mark”*
“‘Mark’, huh? Is that what passes for a name, nowadays?”
When your Cashier responds with a look of hurt, let the look register with you. Let your hard glare soften. Apologize and offer to make it up to your Cashier. Produce a fine mahogany duck decoy you “just happen” to have with you. Give it to your Cashier as a token of your forgiveness. The craftsmanship of the duck will awe your Cashier, and his silence and willing obeisance will be your reward.
Learn to carve fine mahogany duck decoys
Some folks have found that keeping mahogany duck decoys in stock can be cost prohibitive. That’s why I’ve developed a series of instructional pamphlets and videos to help even rank amateurs learn the fine art of carving mahogany duck decoys. A monthly subscription fee of $49.99 will give you access to all PDFs and videos. In addition, you’ll get constant updates on bleeding edge news about advances in fine mahogany duck decoy carving techniques and equipment, as well the inside line on industry gossip.
Honing your craft, staying up to date, and learning to work outside the system are all part of ensuring a successful interaction with your Cashier.