Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Does it piss you off when the cashier at the supermarket has a cold?

Asked by JLeslie (47745 points ) December 24th, 2010

I don’t want to get sick! Touching every single item I am buying. Yesterday as I approached the cashier she sounded sick when she said hello. I asked if she was sick, and she asked me “why?” Why? So I told her because I don’t want to risk getting sick. She said no, she just smokes too much, but then the person bagging groceries at the end piped up a few seconds later and said, “I actually have a cold, do you want me to not bag your groceries?” I told him I prefer he doesn’t. He had already touched a few items by the way. They both looked at me like I was a lunatic.

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52 Answers

janbb's avatar

While I prefer not to be around people who have colds, I realize that most workers don’t get much sick leave if any at all, and that they often have to come to work with a cold. I would like them to be as careful as poossible – wash their hands, etc. – but into every life, a little germ must fall.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Yes and no. Yes, I’d rather they stayed home and I didn’t get sick, but I totally understand why they came in – what we need is better care for our employees where they can take paid sick leave and not worry that if they miss a day from being sick, they won’t have a job to come back to.
Course, I always do the self-checkout if I can.

Trillian's avatar

Probably the cashier does not make enough an hour that she can afford to take off every time she gets a cold. And lord knows, standing there exposed to people all day who have not the wit or grace to cover their coughs and sneezes, she probably picks up more than her share of germs.

ragingloli's avatar

No.
Someone at that level can not afford to stay home lest they risk being fired.
It actually annoys me more when someone stays at home just because of a cold.
also

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ragingloli You feel they’re a wuss?

ragingloli's avatar

somewhat, yes
also, i read you the first time, no need to post twice.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ragingloli Uh-oh, did it post twice? Huh, that’s odd – why can’t I see it that way then? I guess I’ll have to PM Auggie

ragingloli's avatar

it was there only for a moment. it is gone now

Mamradpivo's avatar

Nope, it doesn’t. If they were to sneeze directly on my produce, then maybe. Otherwise, I wash my produce before eating. That’s the only food product I buy that’s not already packaged somehow. I’m pretty sure my immune system can handle a little virus that may remain on the cashier’s hands.

If it bothers you, use self-checkout and bag your own groceries.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Mamradpivo Not all supermarkets have self-checkouts. Which is why I don’t shop at Safeway more.

Blueroses's avatar

I’m more concerned about using the communal tethered-down pen at the checkstand. But I feel badly for anyone who has to work when they’re ill.

stardust's avatar

No. In that case, I might as well lock myself away and wrap myself in cotton wool :/ It serves me better to ensure my immune system is strong and healthy.

downtide's avatar

No. I don’t get enough sick leave in my own job to take time off when I have a cold, I very much doubt that anyone else does either. Taking time off when you have a cold is a sure way to get fired.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, I understand why they can’t take time off – obviously, they would if they could.

pearls's avatar

No, I don’t let those things bother me. I certainly understand that they may not be able to take off because they can’t afford to. Goodness knows that I have worked with a cold. I am just very careful when I cough and sneeze.

Coloma's avatar

Middle of the road here.
I’m a big believer in staying home when sick, but, sometimes, that isn’t possible.

I use the germ juice wipey thingies on my carts handle and other than that, what can you really do?

It’s not something I would feel ENRAGED over, no. lol

YARNLADY's avatar

Not really. You could go through life wondering who touched every product you want to buy, and it would drive you nuts. I wear gloves when shopping, and wipe down the cart with wipies. The stores are now supplying the wipes, so I don’t have to use my own nearly as often as I use to.

talljasperman's avatar

we need sick pay for all workers…or else they can’t pay rent from being sick…and can’t stay home

Facade's avatar

Not at all. I feel bad for them, having to work when they don’t feel well.

josie's avatar

Everybody gets sick now and then. What do you want?

SamIAm's avatar

Does it bother you when people who have colds food shop? Lots of people touch a ton of produce before they choose what they want (I try to grab stuff on the bottom). Sometimes you have to do things when you’re sick that you don’t want to do. Especially during the holidays, people need the money :/

JLeslie's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Actually that bothers me too.

@all I understand some people need to work, need the money, or are pressure by employers to come in. It just really annoyed me that they looked at me like I am paranoid. Does not give me any confidence that they washed their hands, and make sure they are not touching their nose. Remember during H1N1 everyone was freaking out, nervous as shit someone might go to work sick. That was a good year for me. I actually was not paranoid about that flu, any more than I don’t want to get sick in general.

SamIAm's avatar

@JLeslie: I didn’t mean for that to sound bitchy, I realize it may have. I was just making a point. Believe you me, I didn’t want to go food shopping today but I had no choice – I HAD to get stuff before tomorrow.

And also, I look at people (I’m assuming tourists) who walk around with those paper masks on their faces like they’re crazy. I think it was okay that you asked, although if was behind you in line I maybe would have chuckled a lil (only a lil) to myself. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Believe me I understand some people have to go shopping. I am guilty of it myself. Working too.

How are you enjoying being sick? I fucking hate it so much. I live with health issues and discomfort. Add on an additional week of being sick witha cold or flu, another week out of my year with more discomfort. I just have a low tolerance.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t minds colds but I hate the puking flu. If anyone has that, I sure hope they stay home!!!

Now I know when I was young and irresponsible, I would often use my sick leave (I think it was one day per month) for fun things such as trips to the beach for the day. Then when I was actually sick, I either had to take off without pay or go to work sick.

Doesn’t anyone do that anymore, have all the workers of the world turned into saints? Or is it that the the big bad employers don’t give as much as is needed so that one can pull a sickie for fun and use sickies for the real thing as well???

JLeslie's avatar

@Samantha_Rae I meant to add, you did not sound bitchy :). In parts of Asia sick people wear masks so they don’t get others sick. Although, most colds are tranferred by the sick person touching something, and the next person getting the germs on their hands and touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. So, I am pretty good at not touching my face. I actually do not get sick often.

SamIAm's avatar

@JLeslie: I don’t get sick too often either but when I’m not taking care of my self (like not sleeping enough or drinking too much) I will get sick. This stupid cold that I’ve had all week isn’t bad at ALL (I’m lucky) but I still just feel yuck. It’s just annoying. I want to go out and PLAY and enjoy the holidays… especially because I’m cooking for 6 tomorrow.
That’s very considerate of those people who do that… I never realized that maybe that’s why they’re doing it (often times, the people I see with those masks are of Asian descent).

JLeslie's avatar

@Samantha_Rae One more point, people with weakened immune systems from disease or cancer treatment, if they get sick it can be very dangerous, so sometimes they take extra precaution like masks. It is not always a neurotic paranoid person.

SamIAm's avatar

@JLeslie: another great point. Thanks :)

cookieman's avatar

I get 5 sick days per year. When my daughter gets sick, I have to stay home with her, so I save my sick days for her.

Now when I’m sick (like right now), guess where I’m going? That’s right – work.

I was at work this week with a 102 degree fever.

JLeslie's avatar

@cprevite That sucks. Do you work with the public?

littlebeck30's avatar

I am not bothered by it. She has to work and make money for herself, her family, or whatever other reason. We have immune systems for a reason!

Coloma's avatar

Don’t forget as well, that most of what we are exposed to we arn’t even aware of.

When people claim someone they spent a little time around them ‘made them sick’, because they feel sick the next day….well, it usually takes about 3 days to show symptoms with most viruses, so, no….you probably were exposed way before the encounter you actually know of.

I think the barfing flu has a pretty fast incubation compared to colds and flus.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma I am a little like Donald Trump, if I shake someone’s hand and then find out they are sick, I have in the back of my mind for the next 2 or 3 days that I might get sick. If I know they have been sick for 3 days already, then I don’t think about it. If someone is not sick, I am not worried about germs in general. I don’t carry Purel around, or wash my hands 20 times a day.

Stomach flu seems to travel faster, not sure if it is actually true from a scientific standpoint. But, my experience is if one kid is throwing up tonight, the sibling is doing it the next night.

bunnygrl's avatar

As a cashier myself I am more bothered that I have to work with the public who don’t even attempt to cover their mouths when they sneeze and cough right in my face, or cough into the hand holding their money and then expect to hand those filthy notes over to me. I have so many health issues already and no immune system to speak of, thanks to meds I take which suppress it. I carry hand sanitizer always and use it every 2nd or 3rd customer, takes no more than a few seconds but I’m touching money all day long and who knows where thats been. <shudder>.

Yesterday I had to serve a customer who not only had a cold but was, the whole time he was packing his enormous grocery shop (offered to do it for him but was soundly told off), making the foulest most disgusting noises you can imagine. The man was a walking phlem/mucus/god knows what factory <shudders some more> He sneezed twice into his hands and wiped them on his jeans. I’m not kidding here, and carried on packing. I offered him some of my hand gel and he gave me the nastiest look, so I popped it back into my pocket and carried on scanning his shop. When he’d finished packing (god help any of his family who are having to eat any of that food) he paid using a card and before I served my next customer in the queue behind him I went round with my anti bac spray which we keep under our checkouts and some blue roll and thoroughly cleaned the card reader buttons and the bits of the checkout surface (packing area) he’d used and not one of the customers in my queue minded, in spite of the fact that the shop was crazy busy .

I don’t know about other shops but we take hygene seriously in ours, really we do, but as other jellies have said, people who work retail can’t afford to be off sick, we just can’t. That can mean the difference between a bill being paid that month or not. All you can do is to be extra careful re hand washing etc, but everyone has germs though, its a part of life, we just have to get on with it or we’d need to live in a bubble.
hugs honey xx
EDIT: I meant to say that I did actually really feel sorry for that man, he must be feeling horrible and we’re in the midst of some constantly – degrees weather just now, maybe he was the only one who could do the grocery shopping, maybe the rest of the family were ill too? I don’t know but he didn’t even use a hankie, and I did offer him some of my blue roll from under my checkout, (as well as some of my hand gel) and got a withering look. I know life has to go on but I do think that we all need to consider others as well as ourselves. Our store runs a very successful home delivery service (eek I’m sounding like an ad for them now lol) no one has to come in, in person anymore. ho hum, as I said, we none of us live in a bubble, we all just need to think of others as well as ourselves. If anyone is forced to come to work ill (and as I said, even losing a few hours pay can hurt very badly these days) the very least that person can do is not pass it on, but the same goes for icky customers too lol.

JLeslie's avatar

@bunnygrl I hear ya! When I was a manager in Cosmetics at a department store we had a woman come in for a make over, and she had a herpes outbreak on her lip. My employee refused to do it, but really! Even if it was scabbed over and not likely contagious, come on! Another time a favorite client of ours was in, saw me, gave me a kiss hello, and as she pulled back, told me how she is sick, but had to get her Chanel lotion. I think she thought I would be happy she was buying the item, giving us a sale, so loyal she drags herself in sick. Thanks.

I need to live in Japan, bowing sounds good to me as a greeting, and they give everyone a towel before eating. I’m around too many people who kiss and shake hands lol.

bunnygrl's avatar

@JLeslie OMG that is just wrong!! scabbed over or not just NO!! and how downright insulting is that to the girl doing the makeover too? As if she doesn’t deserve even the most basic level of hygene concern from her customer <shudder>, and as for the client who kissed you hello, knowing full well that she was ill. WHAT was that? I know it’s very sweet that she obviously cared for you, it’s nice to be appreciated, but I’d much rather be considered valuable enough to not be smitten with germs/bugs/flu thank you very much.
huggles honey xx

john65pennington's avatar

Here is a situation ever worse than your grocery store episode:

Wife and i rode the bus to a casino. we were lucky and won some money, so upon returning home, we decided to stop at a Waffle House Restaurant. it was about 330 AM and not many customers in the place. the waitress that took our order was sniffing and sneezing all over the place. we watched her carefully and hoped she would not be the one to prepare our food. NOT. she did it all. before putting our plates of food on a tray to be delivered, she sneezed and wiped her nose with her hand. no, she did not clean her hand and her sneezing germs went right on the tray and our food plates. we asked to see the manager. we explained the situation. he told the waitress to go home and prepared us another meal. it was obvious the woman was sick and possibly running a fever. i was feeling pretty good after winning some money at the casino. i did not want my good times ruined by catching someone else’s cold. do you blame me??

bunnygrl's avatar

@john65pennington Good grief NO. The woman was preparing food, she can’t possibly do that if she is that sick. This is a case for face masks being worn. I don’t even like people to breathe over my food. I should admit here that I am a terrible germaphobe though.
hugs xx

JLeslie's avatar

@bunnygrl Good chance my make-up artist would have never had touched the area with her own hand, but all of our brushes would have. We sanitize between each customer, but still, realistically we do not sanitize between each time the artist might double dip. It was more about the next customer, or customers watching the makeover.

@john65pennington You reminded me how once a nurse sneezed all over an open container of those mega big q-tip thingies, and then a minute later the doctor walks in to do my skin biopsy, and asked for one to put some sort of medicine on me. I said I want a swab from a new package because the nurse just sneezed all over them. Literally no hand elbow nothing in front of her mouth. The doc asked if it was true, and she did confirm it. The doctor told her to dump the whole jar and pulled out new ones. That nurse pissed me off because it freaks me out to know what goes on that I don’t see.

bunnygrl's avatar

@JLeslie <shudder> I’ve changed my mind, can I have a bubble to live in please, although it would have to be big enough for hubby, and my fur/feather babies too :-)
xx

Nullo's avatar

Not really, but then, I rarely ever get sick. That, or I do get sick and just don’t notice.

JLeslie's avatar

@bunnygrl Do you eat cake after a kid blows out the candles?

Trillian's avatar

@john65pennington That’s horrible. When I went to Gulfport for the first ime, I drove. I knew I was in the south when I stopped for gas and inside the store I actually heard a man greet another man saying “Hey there G W.”
I stopped at a diner for breakfast and sat at the counter. A guy came through and was smoking. I stared to say something but before I could, he put on a hat and started cooking. With the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Yeah.
I got a bottled water and left.

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie: I don’t usually work directly with the public (I do advertising for a giant farm/farmstand) – but I did this week. As it was Christmas week, we had out two massive fruit basket displays. Since I designed the fruit basket catalog (and wrote all the copy about them) I got stuck out there for seven days selling them.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Trillian – It is still like that once you get out of the cities here today. I kind of like it, reminds me of when I was a kid and the world was not so germ phobic. And I eat at these places and live to tell the tale. But I have a strange gut, sometimes I can eat anything and not be bothered, next time tea and toast will give me hell. So I never know the cause of my distress.

OpryLeigh's avatar

No. I don’t really worry about catching germs from people. If it’s going to happen, it will happen and, sure, it sucks, but I’ll get over it. If someone is really ill then, of course they shouldn’t be working or their own sake and for those around them but I would usually power on through a cold so I don’t blame others for doing the same. There are so many ways that we can catch germs from people that if I worried about them I would never leave the house and my sex life would be very dull indeed! I’m more likely to feel sorry for them than annoyed.

bunnygrl's avatar

@JLeslie my family never really went in for birthday cakes honey, I had one bought for me once when i was at collage, some girlfriends bought it for me and organised a “class party” at lunch break, but even then I didn’t put candles on the cake, one of my friends had brought a blueberry muffin and put a single candle on that for me to blow out lol.

@Trillian ewwww! there’s not enough yuck in the world. Cigarette ash all over the food, just lovely.
huggles honeys xx

Symbeline's avatar

I’m more concerned about the dozens of people who molest veggies and fruits every single day and then put them back.

janbb's avatar

Let’s face it – germs are rampant in the world and probably (definitely) exposure to them is essential. We all got to eat our share of dirt.

Symbeline's avatar

That’s truth. But who wants to know it lol.

lonelydragon's avatar

I wouldn’t be pissed, but I would be reluctant to touch the items and would probably wash my hands as soon as I got home.

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