Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
The other day I walked by a supermarket employee who was hanging out near the front entrance of the store smoking a cigarette.
I noticed him because it always confounds me when employers permit their employees to smoke someplace where non-smoking customers have to pass through their second-hand smoke in order to spend their money.
But that’s a topic from an earlier post…
This particular post centers on the employee’s admonishment of a customer who failed to return his shopping cart to a designated cart collection area.
After a customer positioned the front wheels of his cart on a median in the parking lot, the employee called out sarcastically, “Excuse me. That’s not where the cart goes!”
The customer either didn’t hear the comment or chose to ignore it.
Customers are not obligated to return shopping carts. It’s nice when they do but it’s not their responsibility any more than it’s a rental car customer’s responsibility to clean out the car’s interior before returning it.
At some point, employees have to assume responsibility for their job roles. That means gathering shopping carts, cleaning a rental car’s interior, or whatever their job descriptions entail.
Do you see the irony here? The employee who’s chastising the customer for failing to return the cart to a designated collection area is himself employed to gather shopping carts from the parking lot and return them to the store. That’s one of his job duties. It’s what he’s paid to do. The customer’s only obligation is to pay for his groceries.
I suppose if every customer returned his or her cart to a designated cart collection area then that would save this employee time and effort, perhaps allowing for more smoke breaks in front of the store—but then who would he heckle?