They Aren’t Paid Enough to Be So Nice at This Time of Year: A Nod to Cashiers in the Holidays

Not the self-checkout at the Duluth Target, but I like it.

Not the self-checkout at the Duluth Target, but I like it

I was noting the new self-checkout at Target. I don’t like it. It feels like Wal-Mart, which is enough to make me never use it.  But beyond that irrational knee-jerk, it feels like Target would like to create a shopping experience in which I interact with no one whatsoever.  If I wanted that, I would shop at Which I do for things not carried at the Duluth Target. (I still can’t believe there will be only one Target in our area soon. Aldi will still draw me to Souptown, I guess.)

So I was really happy when I decided to try it today, and the coupon system stymied me, and a cashier walked over and hung out until I was happily rung through.  Human touch.

I thought I would do something I have done before, and nod toward the folks who have treated me well in the retail and food sectors. I worked in two bookstores for minimum wage for eight years. I know how much it hurts when people walk into a store and asks for “the book with an orange cover” that they “saw on TV this morning.” I know how awesome it is to be awesome in those circumstances.


  •  To the barista who heard it was my birthday at Barnes & Noble last week:  Thank you.
  • To the server who kept filling my Mountain Dew/Mello Yello/whatever it is at Dubh Linn last Wednesday, despite the crowds there celebrating holiday parties — thank you.  I love coming in every Wednesday for the music and because you treat us so well, whether there are five or one hundred people in the restaurant.
  • To the cashier at a local comic shop who stopped to talk to me about feminism in comics and in Netflix’s Jessica Jones — then pointed me to her blog — thank you.  Fun chat, fun reading.  As always, too, I shop at two comic shops because Tim at Collector’s Connection is the best retailer in the hobby.
  • To the cashier at Chipotle who stopped twice (as she wiped tables) to smile and to ask how Tim and I we were doing as we ate our burritos, even though the place was crammed with people — thank you.  Being treated to a smile at the end of a long Saturday at the Mall in the holiday season is welcome.
  • t57

  • To the bartender at the Main who made me feel welcome last week while I waited for Tangier 57 (Elias, Brian, David, Darin) to play Christmas tunes.  The whole place was redecorated for the holiday.
  • I got to the Main early because Sweeden Sweets closed, and the cashier there was kind despite having had the tip jar stolen. But he made me a tasty root beer float with my chocolate covered bacon — was kinder than someone who lost income should be.
  • To the cashier named Tessa who walked me cheerfully though my purchase at the new Aldi. Shopping at Aldi is a cultural experience.  Why do I need to pay a quarter for the shopping cart (answer:  you get the quarter back when you return the cart, so they don’t have to pay someone to get them)?  Why are there no shopping bags here?  What exactly is this German beer?  I didn’t ask all of these questions (I am a professor — not entirely without the power to puzzle some stuff through), but I felt like I could, even at the end of a long day for both of us.
  • To Tracy at Starbucks, and Morgan, at the Starbucks at the Mall, who make my friend comfortable when she camps there when she visits from the South for the holidays.  People who sit for hours in a coffee shop can be irritating, and you guys treat her well.  (Hugs to Amber!)

Being in the service industries is hard at Christmas, even if you aren’t being robbed of your tip jar.  So thank you all.

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