A Tale of Two Cashiers

  |   Supervision Print Friendly and PDF

I went to a nearby supermarket this morning. I hardly ever do that.

Morning is my prime work time and I give it up only for something really important. This morning it was the threat of a breakfast burrito without eggs.

I rarely go to that supermarket. It’s a matter of higher than average prices and lower than average produce quality. It’s not a matter of staff quality.

That’s because the manager, Rick, is first-rate. It’s a giant chain so Rick doesn’t pick the produce. But he does pick and train and supervise the staff and he does a great job of it.

You can tell that when you spend a little time in the store. The work is getting done energetically. People seem to enjoy their work and each other. But not everyone and not all the time.

This morning, the self-checkout lanes were closed. I didn’t think much about it. I just got in line.

Since I was a few places back from the cashiers, I had the opportunity to observe what was going on around me. There was a big difference between the cashier in my lane and the one in the next lane.

It wasn’t age or race or gender. They were both White men who I guess were over sixty. I will sum up the difference by revealing that I named one “Happy Cashier” and the other “Snarly Cashier.”

Happy announced to all of us that the debit card system wasn’t working and they could only process credit card transactions. That was why the self-checkout lanes were closed. Happy apologized.

In the meantime, Snarly was frowning at a woman who was having trouble with the card machine. He punched some keys and told her to “try it again.”

I’ve seen situations like this before. I’m sure you have, too. In the same workplace, with the same boss, one worker is productive and good natured. Another is not.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Even if you’re a good boss, you won’t be successful with everyone who works for you. Sometimes circumstances play a part. So do your best, Critique things that don’t work to spot ways you can improve. But don’t expect perfection, even if you do everything right.

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