A couple of weeks back, a cashier who works at the tills of Sainsburys refused to serve a customer until they finished their phone call. What followed was the customer complained, the supermarket apologized and the customer received £10 of vouchers for their next shop. 

The morning this news story broke, I woke to the BBC Breakfast news team opening the debate on whether it was right for the cashier to refuse serving a customer on these grounds. They opened the debate to Twitter and their media channels as they do, and while I did not message the BBC directly, I figured I could start and finish this debate with a simple tweet.

BBC Etiquette Debate Tweet

I didn’t feel like this was something that should even be open to debate, it was a matter of common courtesy and manners. If you expect someone to do something for you like ring through your groceries, the fact they are being paid is a non-issue, you acknowledge their existence and don’t continue rattling on your phone.

Here is what should have happened. The cashier refuses to serve the customer until they finish their phone call, the customer complains to management, management high fives the cashier and tells the customer to not be a dick. Because that’s what you are if you go to the checkout while chatting away on your phone, a dick. Don’t be a dick.

I understand that sometimes an unfortunately timed phone call cannot be avoided. In this situation, all you have to do is acknowledge that you are being incredibly rude by giving a knowing nod to the cashier and mouth the words “I am so terribly sorry” and then finish the call as quick as you can. The cashier is a person and would like to have their existence acknowledged at the very minimum and not be treated like some grocery checkout monkey.

One person taking part in the debate on BBC Breakfast said some actions could be excused because cashiers aren’t always friendly to you. But here’s a novel idea, how about you don’t go into a situation with negative expectations and maybe the world would be a happier place. It is a matter of simple manners and etiquette that should really be common sense to everyone.

Mobile Phone Etiquette

So while I’m on a roll, here are some lessons on how to be a human being in a civilized society. Pay attention and you’ll be fine.

  • Never under any circumstances use the speaker on your phone in public, not for calls and especially not for music. If you walk along listing to your tinny crap, as of now, I am legally entitled to smash your phone and feed it to you. Same goes for morons listening to music blaring from their earphones and guaranteeing that person will be deaf in 5 years. Stop it.
  • The waistband of trousers are thusly named because they go around your waist. If you let your trousers, jeans or shorts sag more than an inch below your waist, I will naturally assume you have shat yourself. It is the only logical explanation.
  • When it gets hot outside and you are of the male gender group, you are forbidden from taking your tshirt off. The high street is not a cocking beach, but you are a staggering douche.
  • If I open a door for you and you don’t thank me, nod or smile, I will have my revenge. I will rush to the next door you need and slam it in your face, laughing hysterically while glaring at you with widened mad eyes.
  • Your iPad is not a camera. You know those photos we look back on and think how ridiculous people looked with their brick sized phones or mullet hairstyles? We are already thinking that about people using their iPad as a camera. Cut it out.
  • You sir, on the busy train with a bag on a seat you have not paid for. May I focus your attention on these convenient luggage storage areas? Mind if I shove you in there? Move your bag.

I could go on, but I must show restraint. Treat others how you would wish to be treated, behave respectably, and don’t use your phone at the checkout, it isn’t difficult.

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