Calling the town that is the poster child of Halloween busy is akin to saying Antarctica is a tad nippy.
Something to keep in mind is that a small shop, a drugstore, or a convenience store, is going to be packed with customers who vastly outnumber the employees. If the customers were so inclined, nothing could stop them from just cleaning us out in a felt swoop, but fortunately, in spite of the pirates and zombies roaming the street, people manage to remain civilized. Or as civilized as you can be when I have to tell you five times that we don’t sell cigarettes.
Another thing to keep in mind is that customers may be dicks. But the redeeming factor here is that you won’t have to deal with them all day. They’re in and they’re out and even they’re your regulars, the encounter at least has an end. But when your coworkers snap at you or treat you in a hostile manner, this is made worse by the fact that you may have to deal with them for an untold length of time.
I’m going to call this guy Turtle. Like me, Turtle is relatively new, but he works in the pharmacy. Last night, he was working on the front end, presumably to train or to cover.
There are three registers at the front of the store. One will be referred to as the control drawer as it is closest to the exit and it has everything that cashier needs to maintain a semblance of control over the situation. For example, it is the Control Drawer (CD) cashier who stops people when the alarm goes off. The phone is there, so whomever is on the CD must answer that phone.
I’ve been here a full seven days now and I’m familiar with the functions of the CD. However when I got to work, I was asked to work on register three, two spaces down. It’s already kind of a cramped space. There is only one hook for large bags to hang from, so I have to go behind the CD cashier to get a large bag or two, should it be necessary for a customer’s purchase. Yes, this can be annoying and uncomfortable, but if you work in retail, you should definitely get used to having your space unintentionally violated as the work areas of a store have very little space to begin with.
So Turtle was there at the CD. Before he jumped on, I grabbed the special button that lets us summon more cashiers if the line gets too long. My reasoning is that I would have it with me and I would not have to keep grabbing for it every five seconds. Turtle is on the register about a minute, before he snatches the button from my register in case he needed to push it, which would have been fine, except that the line got pretty long several times without him even acknowledging that he had the device in the first place. I had to grab for it, several times, pushing it and completely defeating the purpose of having it near me in the first place.
He had his cellphone on him, which is against company policy and whenever he answered the store phone, he did not use the standard greeting that we’re all supposed to use, but okay, not my problem as such. After all I’ve only been here a week and I’m no one’s supervisor. But the cherry on the sundae was when a customer left to check a price on something, or whatever, and obviously he couldn’t take any other customers until that transaction was taken care of. Fair enough, we’ve all been there. Or, rather, those of my faithful readers who actually work in some form of retail and can imagine the scenario based on experience.
There was a long line of people and as was the theme, I was the one hitting the button. But when a customer approached him he said in a very snappy tone, “I’m busy, go that register. ”
So after hearing that twice, I lean over and ask him if he needs any help and he snaps at me, “Don’t worry about it.”
Please know this. You’re reading this so you were not there. You might not think anything of what Turtle said to me and you might not agree that my having a mini-meltdown and having to leave the floor to collect myself was the right course of action. However, the manager on at the time, gave me permission to leave the floor when she saw that Turtle’s hostile manner effected me so. I cannot control how I react to hostility anymore than I can control the arm chair quarter backs who respond to my posts as if they know exactly what they would have done based on zero experience.
All I can say for certain is that when I feel like I am in hostile or emotionally threatening situation, my brain shut down and I suffer anxiety attacks. This is doubled by the fact that until I get paid, I can’t afford my potassium supplements that give me some semblance of control over my body and nervous system. You don’t have to agree with the situation, you just have to respect that there is a certain way to behave around people you barely know, if you want to have a long standing professional relationship with them. And Turtle obviously had a moment or two where he forgot his position of trying to keep his job in the crucial three weeks.
Fortunately, the management seemed to be on my side for the most part and moved him to another part of the store. I was on the CD and things got smoother after that. I even to employ my tactic of getting a small child to give me something voluntarily as opposed to having the parents rip it from their hands and causing a screaming match.
Tomorrow is my first day off in a week and I will treat it like a day in the Bahamas.