My five dirty secrets

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:

  1. I frequently forget to touch the button on my touch screen that applies these points.
  2. 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?”)
  3. 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.”

    See the happy, smiling cashier.  This cashier is not worrying about giving out bag points.  This cashier is thinking about getting laid tonight.

    See the happy, smiling cashier. This cashier is not worrying about giving out bag points. This cashier is thinking about getting laid tonight.

  4. 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).
  5. 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.  

7 thoughts on “My five dirty secrets

  1. Oh you bring up a really interesting area here. I’ve got lots to say about contests and special promotions – I’ll probably write a post about it. Are you a cashier?


  2. I find that interesting that you are not bothered by a little thing like 5 points when you are up, but only when you’re down. I’m always trying to figure out causes for health conditions. In my own life, I can only remember a few days of being down with years between them. One big thing I noticed is that progesterone levels affect the way I feel about things. Makes me wonder about your hormone levels. Men need progesterone also…maybe even oxytocin is involved. We make more when we hug. Did your mother breastfeed you? That makes a difference, but after all these years, maybe not now. Brains are strange things to try to figure out. I couldn’t help but notice that I carefully selected over 100 e-mails to delete before I took time to read yours, as opposed to deleting it! I look forward to it.


    • Brynda – I’m really pleased that you chose to read this one rather than delete it. I look forward to having your thoughtful and knowledgeable voice be part of this blog community.


  3. Your last sentence made me laugh out loud! I’m not hung up on the 5¢ bag reward. I forget about it, and except for your having brought it up, there’s no telling when I’d ever have thought about it again. Now, that’s not to say that if I see a nickel on the ground I don’t pick it up, I do. Heck, I still pick up pennies. I get pretty happy when I find a penny on the ground, especially if it’s heads up. Now, the next time I have to pull out my credit card again at the end of the transaction, maybe I’ll realize what happened — I got a bag nickel. I’ll be happy to reach down, figuratively, and pick up that nickel. But if I don’t have to pull out my credit card a second time, I can almost guarantee that I won’t remember the bag nickel. So, when you’re finishing up with my order, stress not about that bag nickel — I’m not. Here’s wishing you a found-bag-nickel’s worth of happiness today. Take care.


    • Who wrote this – Andy or Debbie? It’s light and fun. I’m glad you got a kick out of the last sentence – it felt a little risky, but it tickled me also. I’ll miss you next week. Did I tell you that starting on Monday the senior discount will apply only on Mondays? Have a good trip.


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