See the happy, smiling cashier. This cashier is not worrying about giving out bag points. This cashier is thinking about getting laid tonight.
In my store, we give people bonus points on their membership account when they bring their own bags. These points eventually apply as a discount on your grocery bill. I have five dirty secrets about how I implement these bonus points:
- I frequently forget to touch the button on my touch screen that applies these points.
- To counteract this tendency, my policy is to give the points right up front to everybody who comes through my line – including people who take bags and thus don’t deserve the bonus (remember the parable about the laborers who work different durations in the fields), and people who don’t belong to our frequent shopper program and for whom these points are completely irrelevant. (I picture them poring over their receipt at home and asking, “Bag points? What bag points?”)
- Our system is a little screwy and often requires people to re-enter their credit card at the end of the transaction. Sometimes, however, when I tell people “The machine is asking you to swipe your card again” a more honest statement would be, “I just realized at the end of the transaction that I had not yet entered your bag points. Touching that button at this point in the transaction caused your credit card info to fall out. I understand that the hassle of once again pulling out your credit card may greatly outstrip the value of your 5 measly points.”
- Sometimes, after the transaction is over, I have a moment of wildly neurotic insecurity in which I ask myself “Did I give them their bag points?” Then, in an environment that greatly values conservation and where we are all proud that we recycle unwanted receipt slips, I print out another copy of the receipt so I can see if I actually did dispense the magical five points (value 5 cents).
- More often than not the receipt says that I actually did give them the points. What’s more out of it – to forget to do something or to do it and not remember doing it?
I really, really want not to care very much about all this: we’re talking about five cents, for chrissake! But it haunts me. It adds stress to my day. It makes me feel like a bad cashier.
Oh, here’s the deal: it haunts me when I’m depressed. When I’m manic I don’t give a shit.