Baby-Sitting Boss

I was sixteen and so excited to start my new job at the grocery store. My first day was reserved for training. Another girl and I were instructed to go pick things off the shelves that were misplaced and put them in a cart. Once we were finished we were told to scan them. This was a small grocery store, so at the most, we had 20 items. We scanned them on a register and one of the assistant managers showed us how to pay using the system. Then we were put on bagging duty. For two weeks I bagged groceries, and never got more training. It wasn’t terrible, but I would have enjoyed checking out customers. And there was one assistant manager, D, who complained about having to “babysit” the new employees, but overall I liked it.

One day I came in and D told me I was going to be on the register. Excited, I arrived to work for the next shift, only to notice he wasn’t around. I checked out people without too many problems, impressed that I even remember how to use the system. But then my first mistake came when a man was trying to buy some green onions. Green onions were something my mother had never cooked with and I wasn’t familiar with them. I counted six green onions in the bunch and put it in as six green onions. The man told me that was too much so I went to find D to clear it out. He grumbled about how I should have known that it was only one. I apologized and went back to work.

Soon we got a crowd and D came and worked in the register behind me. I checked out an older man with a bunch of groceries and a giant bag of dog food I could barely get it over the scanner. I had to drag it over multiple times before the bag even scanned. The old man came back in, I had accidentally scanned it twice. D unhappily gave the nice old man his refund.

Again I got back to work. Several customers later, I got a man who wanted to pay for his groceries with a pay check. I had never been taught to do this. Knowing D was annoyed already I looked for it myself on the screen. Cash a check was an option and I chose it. And gave the man back his extra money, minus the $2.50 check cashing fee. The man told me that he never got charged a fee, so I went to go ask D. D told me I did it wrong, I just put it in like a normal check and give him cash back.

I checked out more people out but after awhile, I noticed I had a rope across my lane. I went to D about it and he angrily yelled at me, “You’re stupid, lazy and don’t know what you’re doing! You’re back on sacking groceries again.”

So I went  back to sacking groceries for about an hour before my shift ended. I went home and cried. I had never had an older person say anything like that to me. I hated going to work to bag groceries. I finally got the courage to give my two weeks notice, and the manager told me not to worry about it and to just finish out the week.

Shortly after I got a job at my town’s local bank where I became the fastest teller in a few months. During my school breaks I would work at different locations for extra hours. About a year later I was at the branch the grocery store went to make their deposits. D came in and hit on me, he didn’t remember his former stupid and lazy employee he had to babysit.

Comments (14)

XandrayaDecember 1st, 2010 at 5:29 am

I always love it when managers get mad at their employees when they never bothered to try to train them. I worked at a movie theater, and thank God the good manager trained me or it would’ve sucked. Unfortunately, the machines aren’t quite as easy as they look! *shakes head* Also, karma’s a bitch!

ammaliDecember 1st, 2010 at 6:29 am

The last part KILLS me. I worked at a grocery store for nearly four years.. I was one of the fastest and best cashiers they had, and I also helped out in other parts of the store (office, scan-coordinator, whatever) as needed. One day, though, I was supposed to be running the self-checkouts, but they were down, so they asked me to help the stock boys take down displays. I was 19 and a relatively small girl. Long story short, I ended up hurting my back very badly–four days in the hospital, almost two months of recovery, and they demanded me back to work ASAP. I ended up coming back to work the self-checkouts again while sitting on a special stool with a back support on, which I didn’t mind doing, but my asshole boss kept insisting I was faking the injury to get workers’ comp (which the company was trying to thwart me from receiving at every turn). The muscle relaxers and painkillers I was on to make things manageable understandably made me a little weaker and more drowsy–I believe I did quite a good job under the circumstances, but he was always brutally making fun of me for looking tired and not being able to lift things I used to. I ended up quitting soon after that. A year later, I was in the area (doing much better!) and stopped in to get a drink. He seemed to have forgotten all about how badly he treated me, told me he customers still ask about me and that I was always such a good worker, and asked for my phone number! I laughed in his face, paid for my drink, and left. Had he completely forgotten about being such an enormous dick to me? Ha!
(sorry, that was longer than I anticipated!)

Frau BlucherDecember 1st, 2010 at 7:29 am

while there are some moron cashiers, i generally feel sorry for kids who work in grocery stores. They have to put up with total shit, rude customers, screaming children, shitty music, standing all day…gak!

LIZZYDecember 1st, 2010 at 7:50 am

This brought back memories. ( Mostly the grumbling customers :) I worked in a grocery store in high school but they had me sit with another cashier for at least half a day or two before being on my own. Sounds like you did pretty good considering you had basically zero training :)

BamffDecember 1st, 2010 at 9:29 am

I worked at a grocery store for two weeks, while in college. It was the worst job ever. We were expected to memorize PLUs for fruit and veggies within a day or two of cashiering, oh and the PLU codes that came on the fruit like banana’s and oranges, were not the ones used in the system of the store I worked at, so I couldn’t just look at a piece of fruit, read the number, then enter it, nope.

I was often one of two cashiers on the schedule and the other would be a more experienced one, and she would be on the express lane, while I got to enjoy the checking out of people with carts full of groceries, while getting dirty looks from the customers for being so slow.

I had never quit a job so quickly before, actually I was quite loyal to jobs, but this one got the boot as soon as I was able to line up another one.

Oh, and all of this for $4.25/hour.

Old GrouchDecember 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am

It’s very rare I get annoyed by a checker. 95% of the time it’s a customer in front of me, or behind me. Inevitably, the customer ahead is arguing with the checker over a freak’n 10-cent coupon. I’m sorry. Pay for the damn thing, go to the manager, and if he/she won’t fix things, then don’t go to the store again. But no. They find it much more worthwhile to bully a teenager and waste everybody’s time.

And then there is some asshole who is behind me, who pushes into me with his/her cart, and then frantically pile on their groceries in 12 inches of space the moment I put the divider down, like that is going to get them any faster through the line. And then they push into me AGAIN while I try to pay the checker, and when I try to leave.

Somebody is going to get hurt.

AndrewDecember 1st, 2010 at 10:51 am

@Old Grouch – I bet you hate it when those kids walk on your lawn too? ;-)

Chellie2shoesDecember 1st, 2010 at 11:41 am

old grouch, Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but bumping into my butt with either your cart or body will get you slapped. I hate people that stand in line so tight you feel like you should have gotten a kiss before they start spooning you while standing. ugh.

MeshellDecember 1st, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Who doesn’t like a little cuddling in the check-out lane? :(

TMSDecember 1st, 2010 at 12:25 pm

@ Old Grouch: People who do that (bump into me with the cart, put their stuff down with little to no space between our purchases) suddenly find that I’m moving a lot slower, and pushing their cart back towards them. The more they nudge me, the harder I push back.

Jade LynnDecember 1st, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I believe grocery stores are the under represented pits of job hell.

Worked at a grocery store once for a few months, ran screaming into the arms of Blockbuster where I became one of their top store employees after having the grocery store manager tell me they hoped I was fired.

JeffDecember 2nd, 2010 at 2:34 pm

The only thing in this whole story that was the OP’s fault was the dog chow mistake. Having had to scan it multiple times you should have checked the display to make sure it only rang up once.

Still, the assistant manager was probably right to put you back on bagging since you hadn’t been trained properly to be a cashier. But yelling at you and calling you stupid and lazy was way out of line, and I don’t blame you for being upset especially as a teenager. I’m glad you got the last laugh in the end.

Old GrouchDecember 6th, 2010 at 7:48 am


Actually, I was very close to chasing kids off my front yard last winter. I got up very early that day, and piled snow from my parking spot (as well as my sidewalk) onto my front yard. I live in a townhouse, so space was a premium. The kids immediately turned the pile into a fort.

I was about to go outside – but I noticed that I didn’t have a cane to wave at them, and I ultimately decided I didn’t need the neighbors to think I’m any more weird than I already am.

TrenDecember 10th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

@ people who think grocery stores are bad – Try a gas station its everything you hate about the supermarket but outside and you have to listen to people whine and bitch about the price as if you can do anything about it.

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