The Question Lady

“How are you doing today?”

“Did you find everything you needed?”

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Is plastic ok?”

“Would you like your (large item) in a bag?”

“Are you paying with debit or credit today?”

“Would you like cash back?”

“Would (child) like a sticker?”

Over my 4+ years (off and on) as a cashier, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can carry on an entire small-talk conversation entirely in questions.There are some customers to whom I never say a single word that isn’t part of a question, and the transaction works out just fine. I could probably be reduced to a set of mechanical arms to slide items across the scanner and a pre-recorded voice asking a standard set of questions to each guest as they approach the register.

Yet nobody really seems to notice. They answer my questions and add in details as if we are having an entirely two-sided conversation and it never seems to occur to them that all I’ve ever said was part of a question. The next time you go through a check-out line, count how many questions the cashier actually asks you. You might be amazed to find out that it can be ten or more in the span of the five minutes you spend paying for your purchases — yet it somehow comes out sounding like a well-rounded conversation. Funny how that works out.


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