Cashier Ingrid Kareketo: Slow cashier never too busy to serve
Talking to the cashier can be the only social encounter for a lonely person, says cashier Ingrid Kareketo.
I work as a cashier at the slow checkout of the K-Citymarket in Iso Omena. At the slow checkout, customers can pay and pack their things at their own pace without having to hurry. While they are at the checkout, we exchange news and chat about the weather, the products or anything else.
I also sometimes work at the regular checkout, but I prefer the slow checkout, because it adds variety to my working pace and allows me to serve customers without a feeling of having to rush.
At the slow checkout, even the cashier can slow down. There is no need to complete the tasks as quickly as possible, because the purpose is exactly the opposite: to reserve time for the encounter and customer service.
Most of the customers are senior citizens, children with families and people with various challenges
Anyone who is not in a hurry is welcome to use the slow checkout. Most of the customers are senior citizens, children with families and people with various challenges.
I recognise many of the customers from before. Although I might not know their names, I remember, for example, that a particular lady always wants her frozen foods packed in a little plastic bag.
The idea for a slow checkout originates in a project by Aalto University that discussed ways of making shopping easier for people with disabilities and alleviating feelings of nervousness at the checkout. Our shop was the first to test the idea in practice.
My work feels meaningful, because I have time to meet the customer’s needs and make them feel good.
I receive a lot of positive feedback from the customers on my customer service and work, which feels really nice. Every day, our customers ask us never to do away with the slow checkout. This is an important service for many.
My work feels meaningful, because I have time to meet the customer’s needs and make them feel good. I can also help them with the packing, if they are having troubles with it.
It is extremely important that people can talk to someone while they do their shopping. So many people are lonely in life, and I might be their only human contact during the day.
I have to be attentive to the customers’ need and preferred pace.
Working at the slow checkout requires good social skills and a natural ability to talk to the customers. I have to be attentive to the customers’ need and preferred pace.
Cashiers working at the slow checkout do not get tired of small talk. The social aspect of this job feels natural to me, because I used to work at the K-market in a small rural village, and this job does not really differ from that.