She sat in her usual position, third from the right by the door.
In the draught, as usual.
The heater under her seat didn’t work. As usual.
Another day, another buck.
Reaching to her left, she scanned the goods, not bothering to see if they were condoms or fresh veg, though sometimes she smiled at the irony of cucumbers and bananas as they flew through her hands.
She was good at this, having perfected her speed on remote control and was one of the fastest checkouts in the West. Oh to have two guns and say ‘Hands Up!’ to some unsuspecting soul just to break the monotony.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Toiletries, chocolate, oils, biscuits, ready meals, all found their way one way or another into someone’s bag. Even the age of the customer didn’t vary that much in the choice of products that went across her till.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
What to do for tea tonight. There was the last of that trifle for dessert, so what to have for the main. They hadn’t had chips yet this week. She wondered if there was any old stock up for grabs nearing its sell by date. Her staff discount was OK, but sometimes there was the occasional bargain.
‘Hello Christa. How’s your day?’
‘Er, fine thanks.’
Shaking herself out of her fug, she looked at the couple in front of her.
Nothing of note, just an ordinary Mr and Mrs in their 50s doing the weekly shop. She didn’t recognise them. How did they know her name?
‘Been a long day, has it? How’s it going? ‘ The Man said pleasantly as he loaded the paid for items back into the trolley.
‘I’ve only been on for a couple of hours, but finish at 2 today. I only work part time.’
‘Any plans for the evening?’ The Woman asked.
Who were they??????
‘No, not really. Once I’ve picked the kids up from school, it’s dinner, homework, and if I’m lucky an hour or so in front of the box.’
The last item was put through, and Christa looked at the total.
‘That’s twelve pounds twenty three pence please.’
Twelve pounds and twenty three pence. That’s not very much for a weekly shop. Maybe it was just one day then. She sneaked a look in their trolley before he started packing it all away in their carry bags.
Rice, butter, porridge oats, dog chews, eggs, cheese, milk, bread, onions, biscuits and a bag of cashew nuts.
‘It’s a thankless job, isn’t it.’ the Man said smiling at her as he took his change.
‘Thanks very much. Have a good evening and take care.’
And they were gone.
She watched them leave.
‘They’re always like that,’ her colleague said as she came to take over the position so that Christa could have her coffee break.
‘But who are they?’
‘I have no idea. But they come in every week and always talk to you as if you’re Somebody, not just some body on a seat at a till. If you’re feeling low, you can guarantee if you serve them, you’ll feel tons better.’
Well, she was right about that!
This was inspired by our checkout operator today.
The couple in front of us spent almost a hundred pounds but neither of them said a word to her as she put their purchases through her till. Not One.
We always make a point of addressing our ‘server’ by name as per their badge (why else would they wear one?), we will laugh and joke, sing happy birthday if someone lets it slip (did this once much to the girl’s embarrassment, especially as the couple behind us joined in), anything to break the monotony of, as she said herself, ‘just running the same things through but in a different order.’
Both of our Dads told us to look after the ‘little people’, meaning those who serve us every day with no recognition.
It doesn’t cost anything to pass the time of day whilst your items are being processed.
It also doesn’t cost anything to say ‘Thank you’ either.