The other side of the counter

sketch of cash register for handbook

So, it is quite funny…After I posted about The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook, I had a nightmare that night. I already had trouble sleeping that night so when I finally fell asleep at 5am, I dreamt that I decided to go to my parents’ old store and do some cleaning while the store was closed. I was about to start when suddenly someone opened the door and a huge flood of customers came in. There was three line ups all the way down the aisles to the back of the store.

One guy was tired of waiting for his six pack of beer so he stole the beer and ran out. I decided to chase him but as a result, the lines got longer. Then I was serving a customer who wanted to pay by debit. In real life, I left the store at the time debit machines became popular, so in my dream I had no idea how to operate it.

Of course the line up got longer… I was so stressed and couldn’t understand how everyone got in. At about 7am, I jerked awake because my heart was beating so fast. Imagine…two hours of suffering in my sleep!

In this thing called life, our subconscious plays a big role in our stress – so wishing you good dream-free sleeps.

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The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook


This post is dedicated to CPG and all cashiers out there. Love you!

sketch of cash register for handbook
This is a sketch I did for a handbook created by me an my cashier friend (will call her CPG) in October 2000.

First of all, hello!

Hope everything has been good with you. Good health is #1…

Between submitting my final print approval for Winter Moose Visits Alberta yesterday and preparing for my Chapters book events (scheduled for March 16, 2019 at Chapters Newmarket (Davis Dr/Yonge St) and March 23, 2019 at Chapters Markham (Highway 7/Woodbine), I found some time and more importantly – inspiration to write again.

If you follow me on Instagram (@moning_to_ya), you will know that I have always wanted to write a novel. Actually, I began a novel about ten years ago and made it to about page 35. It is a suspense novel. I often have nightmares that make good movie ideas – so whenever I have those dreams, I expand on my book with that material. Maybe I will convert it to a short story one day.

Brewing ideas

Ideas were brewing for the past half-year or so about an idea for a novel. But last Friday, I was driving and suddenly came up with my opening line. This is the start of a novel. As I mentioned in my Instagram post – how does one work on a plant-based cookbook and a novel at the same time? Well, it could be a recipe for disaster! Stay tuned for more from me…

The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook

Every so often I come across my hard cover book that I used to begin writing The Ultimate Cashiers’ Handbook (UCH). I think it is entertaining and cute, so I wanted to share it with you. I am now using the book to draft my current novel.

Some background

My parents owned a depanneur (convenience store) in Montreal for about 20 years. Needless to say, I was a cashier (initially against my will) at a very young age. My older sister Juliann began even before me. She started the moment she could see above the counter. I hated being a cashier, but as I grew older, I learned how to make the most of my job and even learned to enjoy it. For example, I challenged myself to be the quickest “change-giver” (pre-debit/credit days) and bag-packer you ever saw! Chatting with our regular customers became enjoyable. You have to know that I was the most shy kid ever (think: hiding behind my dad’s legs and looking away when spoken to), so working at my parents’ store helped me get over some shyness.

UCH began when my parents hired a girl about my age, I’ll call her “CPG”. We hit it off right away and filled the quiet periods between customers with great conversation. Don’t like to say, but we liked to complain about the nasty customers and laughed about the different ‘type’ of people that we met at work. Just for fun, we came up with a few ‘types’ and noted them. I worked on the actual writing part – so I am free to share this without CPG’s permission.

Here is the opening page of The UCH (I haven’t changed anything):

“Throughout the years, we have worked hard to maintain our images in the public eye. Working as a cashier is definitely a task that few wish to establish and experience, yet, cashiers are all around us. Often, cashiers are taken for granted. Actually, it is more accurate to say that cashiers are almost ALWAYS taken for granted. We are expected to be friendly, polite, fast and patient – while we are treated as mediocre, under-educated “service providers”. Our experience as cashiers has given us the opportunity to see the world in a whole new light. And, we are certain that our experiences are shared by others in similar circumstances. Now, if you have never had a chance to stand behind the counter, you certainly have “mingled” with cashiers (both good and bad) that you have taken notice of. Perhaps, you can even gain insight into the world of cashiers with the assistance of this handbook. As for all the cashiers in the world…CHEERS!”

We decided on a few types of people, but did not write anymore.

Fast forward 2019…

Because I found this very amusing, I have decided to finish it up quickly. Below are three of the actual sketches that I did in year 2000. The centre one shows the people with bad tempers.

Here are a few types of customers that we came up with:

  1. The ?!#@!? people. These are the customers who are always in a bad mood. No matter what.
  2. The love affair. These are the customers that use the store as a dating service. A married man approached me for some design consult (BTW – my first passion is kitchen design) because he was interested in me. I got the short end of the stick for my consult – because I was paid in “pearl-necklace from Tiffany’s” currently. Yikes!
  3. The private affair. These are the people who like to share everything with you, including details about their skin allergies, etc.
  4. The sleazes. These are the guys who look you up and down with their beady eyes, but don’t say anything.
  5. The “No gusta…lo siento” people. BTW – we were also learning Spanish together. This category is for people that we simply didn’t like (for whatever reason).
  6. “I am not exactly sure what language I speak” person. These are customers who didn’t speak to us at all. We already spoke to them in French and English, but they never responded and gave you a blank stare instead.
  7. “I like my chips in one piece” person. These are customers with odd demands. Bad news.
  8. The “Wow – you speak after all” people. These are the people who go from never speaking to speaking.
  9. The “May I stare” people. There are just people who stare at you. Weirdos.
  10. The “Umm…like, like, I will pick my own scratch tickets…like, ok?” people. There are always people that want to stick hand into things.
  11. The “I apologize…my hand doesn’t reach far enough to put the money in your hand. Therefore, I have to throw it across the counter” people. These are people who don’t have basic manners to hand you the money. Instead they put all their coins on the counter closer to them. This probably won’t happen as much today with the debit/credit machines…
  12. The thief. This is an obvious one. It’s the people that tuck wine into their jackets and take off. No worth your own life to chase those people.
  13. The “Guess what? I know your exact order” people. These are the predictable people. Everyday, the same newspaper and cigarettes, etc.
  14. The “I don’t need a bag” people. After you have packed all their bags, they say they don’t need a bag. Note: I worked at the store in the pre-reuseable bag days.

The End.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed reminiscing and writing it!

In this thing called life, you gotta do what you love…

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