The Sun News

Q&A with Allyson Quesada

City of Residence: Warner Robins

Occupation: Retail cashier

Q: How long have you worked as a retail cashier?

A: Four years.

Q: Where?

A: I’ve worked at Home Depot the whole time, but at three locations. My husband is in the Air Force, and I’ve worked as a cashier at each assignment.

Q: What’s a cashier’s job like? How do you view it?

A: The cashier is the first person you see when you walk in and the last person you see when you leave, so we can make a real impression. Cashiers do more than ring up customers, even though that’s important. We also try to make sure customers didn’t grab the wrong item and that they get what they need. We need to know where things are in the store so we can answer questions and direct people, or direct them to other employees who do know.

Q: So it’s not a bother asking cashiers things?

A: No, no, it’s fine. We want to help.

Q: What’s your day like?

A: It ranges from four to eight hours a day. Typically we’re greeting customers, providing customer service, helping solve problems and making sure people are checked out accurately. Sometimes it can even involve looking stuff up online.

Q: What do you think makes a good cashier?

A: Mainly, it has to do with customer service and people skills. It’s being able to relate to people and talk to anybody to create a good relationship between the establishment and customer. I may be biased, but I think that’s it. Making sure the customer leaves happy.

Q: So it’s people over passing money back and forth?

A: Any good cashier should be able to handle money, of course. But that’s just part of overall customer service. You’re not going to have a happy customer if you don’t get their change right. But speaking of money, we see less and less cash now as opposed to debit and credit cards.

Q: What other practical skills are good?

A: Besides social skills and handling money, I guess being able to work with multiple customers, do simple math and, with Home Depot, understand measurements. There’s a lot more I could say -- there’s a lot more to the job than people think. Having a good and growing product knowledge is important.

Q: What kind of training do you get?

A: Both manual, hands-on training and computer-based training. I’d say they’re very thorough here, so when we’re on the floor we do a good job. We have a variety of supervisors to help so that’s good. It’s a continuous learning process.

Q: What’s the best thing about your job?

A: Getting to communicate with a lot of different people and learning about products. I’ve gotten a lot of home improvement skills working here I never would have gotten otherwise.

Q: Worst thing?

A: I guess being on my feet on the floor, but that’s not such a big deal. As long as you have the right shoes you’re good.

Q: What are the right shoes?

A: Pretty much athletic shoes, or anything with good support. Thing is, you need new ones about every six months no matter what. You really do. I go for the most affordable ones so I have to make sure they don’t get too worn.

Q: That sounds reasonable. Would holiday crowds be on the list, too?

A: You know, not really. For new cashiers I can see them being hectic, but for most skilled workers the crowds just make the day go by faster and things more fun -- more festive.

Q: What can people do to help have a good checkout experience?

A: Saying “hi” is good. We usually like conversation, but it’s OK not to talk. Be prepared with your cards or money, but if you’re in line and zone out we can prod you, that’s OK, too. If they can, we appreciate customers putting things on the counter versus leaving them in the cart. But I’d say it’s very, very hard to be a bad customer. Almost impossible.

Q: What should people absolutely not do?

A: All I can think of is leave their kids unattended.

Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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