One of the things that drives me crazy while food shopping (minus the kid carts the size of tractor trailers and the fact that at Wegmans yogurt is spread out between 45948 locations) is the way some cashiers handle your food.
I don’t know if some grocery stores have contests to see who can make the quickest transactions or if perhaps there is a corporate policy about squeezing in so many customers in a certain time frame, but the past few times we’ve been to Wegmans, the cashiers have been just plain rough with our food purchases.
Cereal boxes, yogurt cartons, fresh produce, bread … they just gruffly push it down and slide it across the scanner, and then–because we bring our own bags–they toss it on the counter behind them. Ker-thunk. Ker-thunk. Plop. Thwack.
Now, it’s nothing so bad that a carton of eggs is going to break–it’s just the manner in which the cashiers handle the products we are paying good money for and will eventually end up in our mouths. This isn’t a blister pack of batteries we’re talking about; it’s a carton of strawberries, a bunch of bananas, my beloved Flat-Out wraps that will eventually swaddle my garlic hummus, spinach, and cheese. Please don’t manhandle my dinner.
The one place that always respects the food is Whole Foods. I will never forget the one cashier I had years ago who scanned each item as though it were a piece of 24-karat gold. It was so zen to watch, so hypnotic the way she picked up each item with intention and gently glided it across the scanner. She even commented here and there on certain things: “This is a great brand of yogurt. So creamy! You’ll love this new flavor. I haven’t seen this yet; have you eaten it before?”
I was so touched by her yogic scanning technique that I let her know how much it meant to me. “You’ve made it an art!” I exclaimed.
So when our frequent grocery shopping excursions at Wegmans turned into the complete opposite experience, I got irritated. Last week’s cashier was so staccato with our food that I vowed to Bryan I would write a letter to customer service. (I didn’t, because I tend to forget these things if I don’t do it right away.)
Yesterday at Wegmans, I assumed my position at the opposite end of the conveyor belt with trepidation, bracing for the torpedo of food coming my way. But we seemed to have selected the right lane, because the cashier had clearly read my mind. I think he was new and perhaps a bit flummoxed by some of the barcodes and produce codes, but his self-consciousness led him to be the kindest, most gentle cashier we’ve had to date at Wegmans. The way he cradled each individual Chobani yogurt container and then placed them on the counter behind him took my breath away. I glanced up in disbelief at Bryan, who was smirking and nodding his head. He knew. His husband radar had totally picked up on my neurosis and my bubbling excitement about our cashier’s smooth scanning skills.
Of course, I made a point to praise the cashier before we left. I told him about our previous experiences and how much I appreciated the way he handled each piece of food with respect. I hope he got my point and didn’t write me off as a trippy-dippy hippie.
It doesn’t matter what store you shop at or whether you eat deli lunchmeat or free-range chicken breast–everyone should respect food!