What I’m re­ally think­ing

The Guardian Weekly - - Mind & Relationships - The su­per­mar­ket check­out op­er­a­tor

I make no judg­ments about your shop­ping: your eight cans of lager a day, your choco­late habit, your in­abil­ity to re­sist dough­nuts, your re­liance on sliced white and spread. I scarcely regis­ter the con­tents of your trol­ley as I fo­cus on the beep­ing, the speed and ac­cu­racy de­manded of me, the strug­gle to give change when you find a few odd pen­nies you want to get rid of af­ter I’ve rung up your pay­ment.

I greet ev­ery­one with a smile, not be­cause my em­ployer says I must, but be­cause I see real peo­ple across the till belt. I tease, joke and share my mis­takes in the hope that you will feel a lit­tle bit hap­pier when you leave than you did com­ing in. I try gen­tly to defuse the ar­gu­ments about pack­ing strate­gies, the “Who put this in?” de­bates and the end-of­tether-with-the-chil­dren mo­ments.

We are not here be­cause we are lim­ited by in­tel­li­gence or am­bi­tion, but be­cause this job is avail­able and con­ve­nient. We come from many back­grounds, with our own lives, just as di­verse as those of our cus­tomers.

We feel ag­grieved when you bring us empty ba­nana skins and empty drinks bot­tles and tell us you or your chil­dren were hun­gry on the way round – how do I weigh your bananas when they have been eaten? We long for a vol­ume con­trol to turn down the nois­i­est kids. Some­times, some of you don’t see us, and af­ter 10 hours of scan­ning and beep­ing, your re­fusal to ac­knowl­edge me is up­set­ting. Carry on your phone con­ver­sa­tion, nur­ture your bad mood, be ir­ri­tated by not find­ing what you wanted, , and I will carry y on smil­ing. But deny my ex­is­tence ex­iste as a per­son and you will wreck

my d day.

Tell us u what you’re you’r re­ally think­ing think at mind@the mind guardian.com guar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.