That’s the most stupid, useless, beat-off question I ask customers – and I do it many times in the course of an 8-hour shift. It’s stupid and useless because most of our customers check their eggs – and if they haven’t, there is seldom a bad egg in the carton. And doubly stupid and useless because it often interrupts a meaningful conversation. So we go from a useful conversation to “Have you checked your eggs today?”
i did get one funny reply to the question, from a 40ish guy who said, “Not since my shower this morning.” That pretty much cracked me up – and I think it was a highlight to my comedian customer to make me laugh so hard.
So, even though it’s mostly a useless exercise, I still do it because once in a blue moon there actually is a bad egg, but even more because it shows the customers that we care about the quality of their food. They frequently will thank me for asking.
For me cashiering is in part about making human connection with the customers – but it is just as much about the details of selling groceries. Asking people about their eggs is very grounding – it remind me that what we are about is selling groceries, including helping people get those groceries home intact.
When I started writing this post about a month ago, I remembered that Alex, when he was breaking me in, suggested that I ask the question only if the customer has more than one dozen eggs – and for just one dozen to just go ahead and do it myself. Somewhere along the way I got lazy and started to ask the customer all the time. That’s part of why the asking of the question got so repetitious. Since realizing that a month ago, I have gone back to doing the egg inspection myself if there is only one dozen. Occasionally a customer will fuzz at me, “I did that already”, but I’m projecting that mostly they feel good about me doing it.
I still am bored with asking the question, still amuse myself about the one wise-ass customer’s funny joke – and reassure myself that this is just good quality control.