Working in a grocery store, I see many different people come through my line through the duration of the day. it's amazing how many different varieties of people I see. the other day, it struck me how many different types of shoppers there are, and how much I would like to write about them! so this post goes out to all of you who fall into one of these categories!
The first category that comes to mind, is the Old Man of Apathy and She. he is usually an older man, from late 40s to late 70s or so. he comes in often, buying a fair amount of groceries, usually. and he always says the word "she" a lot. "I think this is what she wants..." or "I think this is the brand she likes..." or "I think this was everything she needed..." I call him the Old Man of Apathy and She, because he usually doesn't care if what he's getting isn't what "she" wanted anyways. he knows that no matter how long he stairs at two brands of flour, he's eventually going to have to pick one at random anyway, so he doesn't waste his time with wondering if he's getting the right stuff. oh, and one more thing about this guy, he always, always wants his receipt.
Number two on our list today (gosh, this sounds like a menu or something) is our Lady of Pennies and Receipts. Ladies of Pennies and Receipts can be any age at all, although I've found that they're usually found in older ladies. I call them this, because their signature line is, "Oh, I think I've got a penny." so you stand there, holding whatever money she's already handed you, glancing about to make sure nobody is getting angry that the lady cannot find the penny she's sure she has. she looks in her change purse, and if she can't find it there, she'll check her pockets, and then, if she still can't find it, she'll check somewhere else because she's positive, just positive, that she has a penny. oftentimes, she'll pull out a wad of change and say, "Oh, I've got the whole 66 cents!" or whatever the amount happens to be. she will then proceed in dumping the change onto the counter for you to count out, causing the customers (who have formed quite a line by now) to let out an audible and collective groan. the Lady of Pennies and Receipts also wants her receipt every time without fail. she folds it carefully into a nice little square, and places is into her purse with the utmost care.
Number three is the Child of Friends and Toothaches. these are children, usually ranging in the age group of 10 to 15 years old. they come in in twos, more often than not, or at least not alone. these children are the ones who have just come into some sort of inheritance (usually taking the form of allowance money). these kids can't handle having money. they just have to spend it NOW. so they go to their friendly neighborhood grocery store because they have money, and they want food. this food is normally pop (or soda for you city folk), candy (nerds, gummy worms, m%ms, snickers bars, ecc), or doughnuts. so you total up the candy, pop, whatever it is, and tell them how much they owe, and they dump a wad of change onto the counter that rolls in all different directions. every time without fail. Why can parents not pay their kids allowance with paper money? whatever.
Number four on the charts is Child of Sweaty Bills and Duty. this kid, who is never older than 10, is the one who comes through your line with no candy, no pop or anything that tastes good to a child. he's the one who places a jug of milk and a bag of celery on the counter. he is the one who runs errands for his mom, who is either waiting out in the car or wanting at home for the ingredient she needed to finish the perfect recipe for Aunt Matilda's wedding. so little Tommy goes to the store for his mother, like a good little slave, and gets the milk and celery. and for payment, there's always going to be a sweaty wrinkled old twenty dollar bill for you to unravel and attempt to flatten. Tommy usually never wants his receipt.
Number five is the Girl of Drinks and Phones. She is most always a teenage girl, probably around 15. she comes in, grabs some sort of energy drink (Rockstar, Full Throttle, Red Bull, ecc) or sometimes a diet pepsi. she talks on her cell phone the entire time, never quite looking you in the eye, and only paying you enough attention to give up her money and receive her change. she'll be having a conversation that goes something like this: "So then we went to the mall and I looked for those shoes, you know, the green snake skin ones? anyway, we looked and we didnt find them so we went and bought some clothes and --oh my gosh--we found the cutest brown dress you have ever seen..." this goes on for the entire time she is in sight. the Girl of Drinks and Phones never wants to "find a penny" or anything like that, and always, always refuses a receipt.
Number six, we have the Girl of Gossip and Baking. this one always comes in for some sort of baking item, like flour, brown sugar, eggs, ecc. she usually doesn't know where the heck the stuff is, either, so she asks, and you tell her, and she comes back, lays the stuff on the counter. at this point, her next move is incredibly foreseeable. she turns and looks at the tabloids. then she starts talking to you, like you would actually care about anything in any tabloid and you haven't already seen those magazines three dozen times. "Oh wow...did you see that Brad and Angela had another big fight? man, I can't wait until they get back together! they were the cutest couple! oh, and did you know Lynsey is back in rehab? that girl needs some major help if you ask me. oh my gosh! Brittany was arrested for driving drunk!" and on and on it goes. the Girl of Gossip and Baking is always very friendly and never wants a receipt.
And last on our list today, number seven, we have the Mom of Children and Coupons. this is a woman who has like, 10 kids all running everywhere at once and buys about three carts full of stuff. she can be heard all throughout the store saying things like: "Billy! stop chewing on Susan's hair this minute! Robby, please hold Sarah's hand so she doesn't go anywhere. Marvin! where do you think you're going young man? Kelly, please give Carly's doll back so she will stop crying." and so on. the Mom of Children and Coupons usually comes to the checkout with pop tarts, frozen dinners, fresh produce, packaged meat, cleaning supplies, bread of different varieties, canned soup, ice cream, and usually each of the kids gets a treat (usually a small box of candy or something) for being good for mommy in the store, although she knows they weren't really all that good at all. when it comes time to pay, you can usually count on a small heap of coupons being thrust at you, which takes about 10 minutes to ring through and saves her about $2.00 total. as you are ringing the coupons through, she will write out her check, while the vermin squabble for the candy they want badly but know they didn't deserve.
So that's just a normal day on the job for me. a bit more exciting than you expected from a lowly cashier, eh? I didn't even scratch the surface of different types of customers, though. there's still the Men of Sweat and Beer, the Cops of Doughnuts and Coffee, the Fathers of Barbecues and Ice, and the Klutzes of Oops and Sorry. But those are for another day. :)