20 Rules For The Convenience Store

I’ve worked at a small convenience store since April and I’ve learned several things since working there. I think anyone who has worked in a convenience store has learned the same things.

The following rules are for customers of a convenience store.

  1. If you’re buying tickets, step aside in line. It’s just rude to make other customers wait while you scratch your tickets. That’s lame.
  2. Don’t feel dumb if you forget what you came into the store to buy because half of the customers that come in (or, at least in the store that I work in) don’t seem to recall what they wanted in the first place.
  3. Be polite. Guess what. Just because you’re the customer, doesn’t mean you can be a b’yotch to we poor souls behind the counter.
  4. Don’t be offended if you get carded. So, we think you look a little young. Don’t be offended- be proud! (Also, don’t take it too personally. I’ve asked to see someone’s ID before, just because I wanted to see how old this guy was. Dumb, but true.)
  5. Return movies when they are due. Or before, whatever. People don’t realize what a pain in the ass late movie rentals are, especially if that movie is reserved for that night. So, I’ll say this again: Return your movies.
  6. Be nice to the trainee. Yes, they suck at working at register. Yes, they have no clue what they’re doing. Yes, they are probably slowing down your busy life. But please understand that being a trainee sucks and knowing you suck… well, it sucks. In time, trainees become full employs. Thus, be nice to the trainee or she will short-change you (for a nickel each time, so you don’t notice but it eventually adds up), just for revenge.
  7. If we do something wrong, let us know so we can correct our mistake. If we ring up the wrong amount and you think we did it wrong, tell us so we can ring it up again. If we print off an incorrect lottery ticket, we can void it and do it again. It’s no big deal- and believe me, it won’t make us feel bad, so don’t worry.
  8. Do not loiter in a convenience store. Go to the mall. Go to the park. Go to the library or see a movie or try yoga. Something. A convenience store is not a place to “hang out”. If you have nothing better to do than stare at the selection of snack foods we offer, than you are truly a loser. Go home.
  9. Older men: do not hit on poor, innocent cashier girls. No, we don’t find your mullet attractive in the least. We don’t want to be rude because you’re a customer- but if you weren’t, we would mace you. (P.S. Your Elmer Fudd tattoo SUCKS.)
  10. If you can’t find something, just ask. This seems like an obvious rule, but it’s funny how many people will come into the store I work at and just stare for ten minutes, looking for something. This is when I ask, “Is there something I can help you with?” This saves time for both customer and employee.

The following are rules for people working at a convenience store.

  1. Thumb Touchers are creepy. Thumb Touchers are the people who touch your thumb or hand when you give them their change. It feels weird and just makes the customer seem gross.
  2. Read movie reviews. Customers want to know the opinion of the person working there. Know the basic plot and reviews of new releases. Also, listen to what customers say about a movie so you can pass that opinion on to other people.
  3. Be polite. This rule goes without saying, but using phrases like “hello”, “how are you?”, “please” and “thank you” can really make a customer feel welcome in the store.
  4. Be sure: ask for an ID. If a customer requests a lottery ticket or tobacco product and you’re not sure how old they are, ask for an ID. This is important. You never know. (One of my friends has been able to buy liquor since he was fifteen and has never been carded… Of course, he looks like a werewolf, but I digress.)
  5. Know your surroundings. This is mostly a summer rule and is especially important if you work in a tourist-filled area or town. Be aware of establishments that tourists would be interested in. Know how to locate them on a map, how to get there and about how far away they would be from your location.
  6. Keep an eye on large groups of boys. They like to steal shit.
  7. Hand sanitizer. I cannot stress this enough. If there isn’t a bottle by your register, have some with you and use it until your fingernails bleed- ’cause nothing is sexier than hands that smell like pennies.
  8. Avoid looking at the photos on cigarette packages. They are disgusting and vomit-inducing. The only plus side of seeing these images regularly?: I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever smoke. Ever.
  9. You are what you wear. For work, I wear black pants, a t-shirt and funky earrings. As I became more familiar with my regulars, I felt comfortable enough to wear tank tops that showed my tattoos. Some places might not be so laid-back but you can always accessorize. Keep in mind, if you show cleavage, customers will be looking at it. It’s nature. Consult your boss or another co-worker before showing tattoos or wearing piercings.
  10. Be patient with the 5000-year-old woman who just paid you in nickels. She may not be your grandmother, but she’s still someone’s grandmother… or great-great-great-grandmother.

(Photo by tim_d.)

7 Responses to “20 Rules For The Convenience Store”

  1. lonelysealonelysky Says:

    I do get a little offended when people ask for my age, but I try and remember that inf fifty years when I should looked seventy, I’ll forty, so who cares?

  2. steamheart Says:

    This is so true! I haven’t worked at a convenience store, but I definitely try to be as polite as possible to the people working there 🙂

  3. […] but that’s where I’ll be this summer. Who knows, maybe I’ll write a follow-up to 20 Rules For The Convenience Store. I guess we’ll […]

  4. can you mail me this rules in little big letters so i can post in my store

  5. I work at a c-store. You said keep a close eye on boys in the store,cause they like to steal?….right. While you keep a eye on the large group of boys,the girls are robbing you blind. Look,when it comes to theft…..cars,house robberies,music from a store,gas from a pump(the store i work at is pre-pay),clothes from a store,movies,whatever……millions of girls do it,and millions of boys do it….town to town,county to county,state to state,country to country,world wide. We catch BOTH at the store i work at.

  6. This is probably a fair call. But I work and live in a very small community and have only caught boys stealing stuff. They weren’t locals (it was tourist season) so I think that had something to do with it. And I know a couple of girls who used to steal from the store regularly- just for the thrill- but I don’t think they do it anymore. (I’d like to think they’ve grown out of it… but you never know…)

  7. […] at a local convenience store. From that experience, I wrote an article for my college blog called 20 Rules for the Convenience Store, which then went on to be published in the American magazine, Convenience Store […]

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