11 Comments

  1. Jerry

    Where are you shopping that a cashier lets others jump in line?

    Your best course of action is to address the cashier that you are, indeed, waiting in line and that you expect to be taken care of next. Unless her response is the effective equivalent of “I didn’t see you,” you should immediately alert the manager to the situation. (That is, have the cashier page the manager.) If you’re feeling really outraged you can ask the manager for a 10-15% goodwill discount. (Managers are often authorized to offer discounts of 10-15% as an apology for poor customer service.)

  2. Brooke

    Getting upset with the cashier may not always be the right course of action. Often, the cashier is too busy with the customer that he/she is ringing up, and does not notice that another customer has cut in line. Only if you know that the cashier saw it happen should you confront the cashier or management. To me, you would be taking out frustrations from the person who cut you in line on someone else, i.e. the cashier who’s line you happened to be in.
    I am not only a cashier, but a cashier supervisor. I have been in the retail business for over 8 years now and I have never heard of a “goodwill discount”. There are now so many customers that throw a fit about poor service, even when there is no poor service, that retailers are no longer tolerating it. They are loosing too much money every time a customer complains. Customers are not always correct; in fact they are hardly ever correct anymore.
    If someone cuts you in line, take it up with that person. Please do not take it out on the cashier. That person had nothing to do with it.

    • Deedee

      No. Just…No. If I am shopping I am expecting certain things from the retailer whose store I am in. I am definitely not expecting to “take it up” with another shopper. If the retailer is not interested in interceding to deal with rude people in their stores I will leave and take my business elsewhere. If the cashier is not equipped to deal with problems with customers and is not able to call a supervisor to deal with the problem then I am out of there. That is what customer service is all about. And if I (as the customer) am not correct “Customers are not always correct; in fact they are hardly ever correct anymore” then fine. My money will be spent where I am correct.

      • Ashleigh

        My personal understanding of Brooke’s “Customers are not always correct; in fact they are hardly ever correct anymore” statement is that customers quite honestly fabricate A LOT of the situations they’re complaining about in order to get a deep discount. A simple incident is blown up 400x to make it seem much worse and faaaaaaar more dramatic than it ever became. If the situation is upsetting or unfavorable, yes, the customer does have the right to complain. If the store’s temperature was 1 degree cooler than the exact temperature they set their home, no, they do not deserve their entire cart for free. There is a difference between having an actual problem (where indeed the customer is typically right) and being a crazy overbearing dictator (where online shopping would probably be the best for everyone involved).

      • Dawn

        I don’t know why people are so scared of confronting someone. You can just politely tell that customer that you were next in line. You don’t have to expect an argument out of it if you confront someone in a polite manner. Getting the manager because you are to scared to confront a cutter is kinda cowardly.

  3. Nina

    Hi All,

    I definitely agree with the EPI in this case–there’s nothing wrong with politely pointing out that you were next, to both the other customer and the cashier. Either or both might really not have seen you, or at least the other customer might be shamed back into his/her rightful place. But if it is a busy, crowded store, the cashier likely was concentrating on his/her job, as Brooke says, and really didn’t see who was next, nor do they have the time or ability to mediate the dispute. If you genuniely feel the cashier is doing a bad job, certainly, report it to the manager–but in a busy crowded January sale, I don’t think the above qualifies. And a note on the “goodwill discount”–like Brooke, I’ve never experienced that. When I was a cashier, customers who perceived a slight would ask to speak to my manager in the hopes of the sort of discount Jerry describes, but at our store (part of a large chain) there was no such thing. The manager would try to be honest and fair (I had good managers!) but the perception that they were “holding out” on the discount made those complaint conversations go on forever. I suppose there’s no harm in asking if you’ve genuinely been inconvenienced, but please keep in mind that that’s not a universal policy.

  4. Country Girl

    I actually had this situation happen to me the day after Christmas at a major department store. There are many department stores (in my area anyway) that now have a circular cashier counter with 4-5 cashiers facing all directions and roped-off line with a sign saying “Form Line Here”. My mom and I were patiently waiting at the designated line, when a women jumped in front of the cashier on the other side of the counter without having waited. The cashier helped this woman without ever turning around to see if anyone else was in line. We were in a fairly big hurry, and it was quite frustrating that someone would be this selfish and inconsiderate.

    We ended up waiting unhappily and telling the other cashier who checked us (and apologized very kindly), though I suppose a better option would have been to write the store explaining that when a designated line is in place, the cashiers need to be trained to check there before helping someone who simply pops up in front of them. If it weren’t for the second caring cashier, that department store may well have lost our business that day. That is something, as a store manager, I would very much like to be made aware of.

  5. Maggie

    Although people skipping the line may appear inconsiderate, try to at least consider the possibility that, in a crowded store, the person may not have noticed where to line up. They may have just seen an available cashier.

    If you give them the benefit of the doubt and speak to them helpfully (“Oops–the line actually forms back there.”) most people will yield without feeling scolded or becoming hostile. Whether they were accidentally or intentionally jumping the line, I find that people rarely have the nerve to behave inconsiderately after it is pointed out. And, become angry or hostile, it is often easier to abandon an attempt to help them than it is to back out of an actual squabble.

    Reprimanding a busy cashier for failing to properly corral customers, demanding to speak to a manager, or insisting on a discount (???) are all over-the-top reactions. If you have a suggestion for a better queuing method, it is one thing to mention it to the manager politely. Holding up the line to demand a discount for a small inconvenience is at least as inconsiderate as someone skipping the line.

  6. Jerry

    Take another look at the question — if “a cashier lets someone cut in front,” then yes, you can get upset with the cashier. (BTW, this is not to say that you don’t confront the line cutter as well.) The question was not “how do I respond when someone cuts me in line.” If it were, the EPI answer would be correct (although I would still have a “confrontation” with the line jumper).

    Having a cashier let someone cut in front of me is not a “perceived slight” as Nina suggests. It’s a real slight, and one that’s not to be taken lightly. Fortunately, I’ve only had one occasion where I’ve had a cashier step out of line. She decided to go on break right when I got to the front of the line. I had a manager paged, had her pulled off break, and demanded and received a 20% discount. Had the manager not seen things my way, it would have resulted in a letter to the VP of customer relations. (Not an e-mail mind you, a letter.) Why? Because I’m very important to me and refuse to be treated like a second class citizen. (The rules of etiquette do not compel me to grin and bear it.)

    Brooke: I don’t know why you claim customers are “hardly ever correct anymore.” The one who controls the purse strings is always correct because they can take their business elsewhere. And trust me, every store on the planet needs me more than I need it.

    Thus endeth the lesson.

  7. MI

    What do you do in a situation where someone already assertively stated to the line jumper where the back of the line is and they cut anyway? Just happened to me today. The person right behind me told the guy off, but he just remained where he was, waited for them to open up another register. As soon as the cashier said ‘Next person’, he jumped in as some lady already in front of me was unloading her groceries. I don’t know if he was with the lady or just unloading his stuff at the same time as the other lady. The whole confusion kept me from speaking up. It was incredibly awkward. The guy even chatted with the cashier stating something about the line.

    I wonder if I should have tried running up to the cashier to have blocked the line cutter from coming if that would have helped? Either way what I had wasn’t entirely critical and I wasn’t in a hurry. The lady behind me was more upset than anyone else about the line cutter. I felt bad for her more than myself.

  8. David

    In today’s volatile climate, you really never know who might fly off the handle in a very bad way, no matter how docile they may appear. I live in a big city and could give horrific examples. I’ll spare you. My advice is, steer clear of any such situation. Go into another line.
    Now, when I sense someone is attempting to get in front of me, I quite audibly ask them to please go ahead, as I’m not in a hurry. This stuns and shames them, at once. I insist if they say no, and I back out of their way. I really don’t think it worth the risk of endangering yourself or others to verbally confront or report anyone. You still have to leave the store unescorted. Sorry to be so alarmist, but these are just such times when it’s best not to confront.

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