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I Am A Security Guard: Ode to the Nice Cashier

I walked into the store after two days off. A young cashier leaned on the counter with a smirk on her face. That meant she had some hot gossip.

"Did you hear what happen?" she asked.

"No," I replied.

She then told me the Cool Assistant Manager had suspended the Nice Cashier following an argument. The news surprised me. The Nice Cashier is one of the kindest and most professional people at the store.

Later that night, the Cool Cashier told me the full story. A customer had tried to use an expired coupon. The Nice Cashier said no. The Cool Assistant Manager overruled her. The Nice Cashier thought the manager should have backed her up. She called him an asshole.

The incident took place in front of customers. The Cool Assistant Manager, normally a compassionate man, resented getting such disrespect in front of others. He dished out a three-day suspension.

The situation distressed the Cool Cashier. She's good friends with both parties. She felt caught in the middle.

Despite the Nice Cashier's behavior, I too felt sorry for her. She's a single mother of three children. She's also pregnant with her fourth child. Her unemployed, live-in boyfriend is the father. In short, she's the sole support of several hungry mouths.

As I've written previously, she has been an excellent worker. I admired her knowledge of the prices and locations of goods. She stayed on the lookout for thieves and con artists. Also, she worked well with both the Cool Cashier and the Cool Assistant Manager.

After the suspension, the Nice Cashier returned to duty. The Cool Cashier commiserated with her. Another assistant manager supervised the night crew. We assumed the Nice Cashier had served her time.

Subsequent events proved us wrong.

Near the end of her shift, a corporate honcho walked into the store. Fifteen minutes later, the Head Manager did the same. They huddled in the office, and then asked the Nice Cashier to join them.

The Cool Cashier and I waited. A veteran cashier started her shift. We told her the situation. She told us the company often fires employees at the end of the shift to avoid drama.

We waited, hoping against reason that the veteran was wrong. Our eyes focused on the office door.

Twenty minutes later, the Nice Cashier emerged from the office. She grimaced and hung her head. She no longer had a job.

Everyone present knew she would lose her gig. Still, her final walk toward the exit chilled most of the workers on the floor.

I could not think of anything I could do or say to comfort the Nice Cashier. Neither could the veteran cashier. We stood in silence.

The Cool Cashier, however, rose to the occasion. She hugged her friend, then walked her home.


A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.


See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.


Posted on January 17, 2011

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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