Cash, Credit, or Debit

bevmire's picture

What your check-out style says about you...

Times are changing in the checkout line.  Cash, credit, or debit?  Chip?

Credit or debit only.  Cash only (rare).

If we’re standing in line at a store and our noses aren’t buried in our mobile devices, chances are we take note of our fellow consumers as we go through the line.

On a recent trip to Tag’s I noticed a guy described below as “The Whipper.”  He was pretty much oblivious to everything except the task at hand: pay, go.  No niceties, no grumpy, no nothing.  While it was unsettling that someone could be so impersonal, it was also a little awe-inspiring that he could be so focused.

The Whipper, as it turns out, is just one description of how we approach paying for our goods…

THE WHIPPER has no time.  Having no time is different from being in a hurry in that having no time means no time for pleasantries, I’m mad at somebody or something, let’s get this over with.  The Whipper slides his card through the slot so fast that you can hear the lash sound as it comes out the other end.  He doesn’t make eye contact with the cashier, pinches his lips, signs the screen (looked like a scrawl), grabs everything and leaves.

BEHIND THE TIMES.  This is usually no one’s fault, but it sometimes can cause embarrassment, especially for those who are wearing the hippest clothing, have the most up-to-date iPhone and Bose headphones.  They don’t have a chip on their card because the old one hasn’t expired yet.  The store has moved on.  Trying to look cool but not having a chip is like having a flip phone.  Being a senior gives you a pass.

FORGOT THEIR PASSWORD.  Embarrassing because it immediately arouses suspicion that you a/don’t have money to cover your purchase or b/even worse, “borrowed” or “stole” the card you’re holding.  If you can’t remember after two tries, save your pride, pay in cash, and figure it out later.  Re:  seniors, see BEHIND THE TIMES.

DAWDLER is the person from somewhere out west.  They just can’t help themselves; they have to be nice, strike up a conversation, exchanges pleasantries no matter how long the line.  If any of the above problems crop up on top of the dawdling it’s time to find another line, even if it’s longer.

CHATTY CATHY/FLIRTY:  This is a hard one, because if it’s overt flirting you don’t want to spoil the moment, but if it goes on too long you have to do one of the following things: follow the soap opera until its conclusion or wave your currency and say “Got money to spend.”  The ensuing embarrassment is no fun to watch, but courtesy dictates that customer and cashier can only exchange money, not phone numbers. 

NEEDS ATTENTION:  Oh, the needy.  They are unhappy with everything, need to complain, stand at the register and go over the sales slip item by item.  They’ll question the cashier, almost always be wrong.  It’s like this moment is the only time all eyes are on them, and they relish it.  They especially enjoy watching you fume behind them…it gives them a sense of power. 

HAS NO ONE ELSE TO TALK TO:  This is another hard one.  You can tell the person craves company, but you have to get home before the ice cream starts to melt.  You can’t give an angry stare because the person will cower, and you’ll worry that they’ll cry when they get home.

THE INDULGENT MOM WHO LETS HER KID WITH A COLD TOUCH EVERYTHING:  This may be the worst.  You can’t look like you don’t like kids, but you really wanted to take the store’s last copy of the magazine the kid just slid a snotty finger over.  And you have to inspect your basket wondering if he touched every apple in the bin.

So there you have it in a nutshell.  Do you have pet cashier line peeves?  Write them down and post them on