Thursday, 9 August 2018

Rebecca // Cashier

I forgot to ring things up all the time. Actually, I didn’t forget, I remembered very closely, when I saw the women come in with their WIC (Women, infants and children) cards looking ashamed with their soda bottles as well as their cereal I smiled widely at them. Good choice. I slipped product behind other product and their smiles glimmered at their smallish final total. They were always the kindest to me. No doubt they were the ones behind the register someplace else tomorrow. These are the people easier to sympathize with. Even my parents might agree I was being a Robin Hood type.

But I also let others take for no reason. I chose not to scan things for people who seemed nice –– when you’re a cashier, that already makes your pool much smaller, so I doubt I was doing this as often as you might think. One day a couple of early-twenties people walked in. Everyone went on high alert. I was truly oblivious; I was new and hadn’t seen these people before. They were dressed as though they printed zines and listened to folk-punk. You know. They went into the makeup aisle and then to the cheapo jewelry. At least five employees hovered around the area.

They came up to my register when they were cashing out. They had a bunch of nail polish, mascara, some rings, etcetera. They rummaged in their bags as I scanned the stuff. They were some of the friendliest, most chill customers I had that week. Several employees checked over my hunched shoulders as I scanned. When the two were leaving, they grinned and said “bye, honey” to me (I’m very short, so they probably thought I was 16 and at my first job when I was actually an adult). I was swarmed by others, including my supervisor. They asked, “did they steal? Did you see anything?” I could say honestly I wasn’t paying attention. But I vowed from then on to choose not to pay attention to anyone at my register. I’m here eight hours a day on my feet with one break, two if I’m lucky. Who gives a shit?

I’m not just Robin Hood, although I think those who are are noble. I’m an anarchist and I don’t understand how or why people give half a shit about stealing from big companies like the one I worked for. The employees themselves, not even the management, seemed to get personally distressed at the notion of stealing –– it wasn’t coming out of our wages, which the bosses were stealing anyway, so I failed to “get” why they cared. But they did. And I didn’t, and maybe I wasn’t the only one but I needed to survive so I didn’t mention anything about it. I pretended to care in front of them and otherwise let as much product slip through the cracks as I could. If I still worked there I’d do it all again.