General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Am I harming myself performing my job as a cashier?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12091points) February 27th, 2010

I stand in one place for about three and a half hours at a time with minimal movement. I lift bags that weigh easily ten to fifteen pounds easily 100–150 times a day. I speak to people for extended periods of time. I open grocery bags that leave my hands dry, and chapped.

Here are a few ounces of prevention that seem to minimalize the wearing down of my body, but will standing or moving so much lead to nerve damage or anything else bad?

I stand on a very cushy mat, I use lotion on my hands, I stretch and walk at least a few paces inside my register area between customers, I take very expensive vitamins to replace any nutrients that I might be losing, I drink lots of water (>1l/day) .

Maybe I am wrong for being concerned, and the work might be a form of exercise?

What do you recommend?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

Supacase's avatar

I speak to people for extended periods of time.

How is this harmful to you?

Beyond that, I think you are being a bit dramatic. Cashiering is pretty low on the hazardous job list. Seriously, chapped hands?

DarkScribe's avatar

Checkout chicks are doomed !

It would be no worse that all manner of jobs that don’t allowed freedom of movement.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

One litre of water a day is by most accounts not enough but it is a good start.

If you start noticing any effects associated with repeated strain injuries you should adapt or change your work to prevent lasting harm.

Steve_A's avatar

You’ll be fine. Seriously.

Do something outside of work to keep you active and I think you are going to be fine.

Eating healthy and water always a good choice

phillis's avatar

Your being able to form this thought while earning a living in a mind-numbing cashier’s position is indicative of a possible future of unrealized potential. If you consider stunted growth a form of harm, then the answer is yes. Now…..if you are planning on moving up the er… chain…..then stay where you are and make your advancements. I’ve read your input around here. Unless there is something I don’t know about your abilities, then, comparatively, this makes your chapped hands pretty much a non-issue.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You have a job. You can make the best of it. Here are some ways to get the most out of working.
Consider it exercise. You are learning prices and will become a smarter shopper. You can look at who is buying what and see why there is an obesity problem in this country. Look what the healthy people bought for dinner. Emulate it.
Play detective mind games with yourself. Is that cute guy single? What is he buying. Is she dating again? She got different hair color. Is that woman worried about her own pregnancy or her daughter’s?

You get out of it what you put in. Good luck.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@phillis was that last sentence a warm fuzzy, or a cold prickly?

phillis's avatar

Thanks for asking! That is a perfect example of what I meant when I talked about your potential. It was meant as a warm fuzzy.

laureth's avatar

I was a grocery cashier for 13 years. I have job-related heel spurs, even after quitting the job 4 years ago. I benefited from expensive orthotic shoe inserts molded to the shape of my feet, but I still walk in pain when I first stand up after sitting for an extended time, and in the morning. While I didn’t get carpal tunnel, that is another danger of many years using poorly-designed cash registers.

People who have not cashiered think it’s the lowest-impact, simplest job in the world. It’s not. If you’re young and resilient and don’t stay at it for as long as I did, you’ll probably be fine, but please do take care of yourself. Stretch at your register. Ring with your wrist straight to avoid carpal tunnel. Turn with your body instead of pivoting at the hips. It helps to stand with knees slightly bent. Keep a foot on a step, one and then the other for a while, instead of both feet flat on the floor. Standing in one place all day is much harsher on the body than being allowed to walk around. And getting some of that tacky-finger stuff that office workers use might help you open bags more efficiently.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I think you’ll be just fine :)

Jennifries's avatar

@laureth Cortisone shots in your heels will do wonders for the pain.

Make sure you stretch in between customers and try to avoid repetitive motions that cause strain.
Otherwise, @laureth pretty much covered it all. You’ll be peachy as long as you’re careful.

laureth's avatar

@Jennifries – been there, had the shots. Sadly, you can only have so many of them before you need to stop.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, when you stand all day it can be exhausting, but many many people do it. Some handle it better than others. Standing is certainly worse than being able to walk around, so good you are aware of that. I worked in retail for years, full time for about 15, and then part time for another 7, something like that. On my feet, opening boxes with my hands, I had calluses and knicks all of the time. Lifting almost all day long. I wore heals a lot in the beginning, and I did develop a bump on the back of each heal, not sure what it is called, but they have dissappeared now after years of not being on my feet so much. I never got bad vericose veins, I don’t have any lasting bad effects I don’t think.

One bit of advice, if you get pedicures never let them shave the bottom of your feet (illegal in some states from what I understand). Having hard skin under there and calluses is what dancers pray for, it is our natural protection to tolerate what we are putting our bodies through. Same with calluses on your hands. If you remove them you will start all over with irritation, sometimes blisters, and pain.

I agree with whoever said above, people who do not stand or work physically all day have no idea what it is really like. When I went eventually to a desk job in a different industry I could not believe how physically easy it was on the body in general.

Cruiser's avatar

Standing sure beats sitting! Take a nice walk after work to loosen up your legs from standing all day. Be glad you have a job a lot of people these days would kill to have yours.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Cruiser this wasn’t meant as a gripe about my job, just trying to get suggestions about lifestyle from others who might have already been down this road. I love my job, and I’m grateful for having it.

laureth's avatar

Nah, if this question were a gripe outlet for a cashier looking to vent, it would sound very different. ;)

JLeslie's avatar

You did not sound like you were griping, not to worry.

Haleth's avatar

Other people in this thread have done a good job of covering most of your question. Lifting grocery bags many times probably won’t injure you. They’re not really heavy enough that you’d need to get your back muscles involved in the lifting, so it’s basically as if you’re getting really good arm exercise. If you’re worried about standing in place, maybe you can alternate being a cashier with other types of work, like stocking shelves or loading shipments.

I was a cashier at a grocery store in high school, and the it really wasn’t a bad job. My least favorite things about that job were the low pay and low responsibility. It is tough and can make you tired, but it sounds like you’re a little more worried than you need to be.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It probably would not hurt to take a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement. Also, avoid red meat as that can be hard on your joints. Low impact exercise, such as biking or swimming would be good to strengthen knees and offset the stress of being on your feet. Shoe inserts are amazing,

YARNLADY's avatar

To get the most out of your day, do some stretching exercises during your breaks every two hours, and take a walk at lunch. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and get enough sleep so you aren’t feeling sleepy.

john65pennington's avatar

My first concern for you is your safety. i sincerely hope you are not talking about working in a convenient store. this is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@johnpennington no its a major chain and safety is no issue, but thanks for your concern. It amazes me that so many ladies do take the job in convenience stores, when I imagine they would be met with a lot of harassment.

funnynerd's avatar

Add stretches to your between customer routine and consider hand sanitizer (since you work with the public).

partyparty's avatar

Think you are doing everything you can to keep yourself in good shape. After all it is exercise, and that is good for you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yoga. It’ll help save your knees.

Sincerity's avatar

I found Fluther while Googling for an answer to this same question. My knees kill me after I work a couple of eight hour days in a row, and it’s an absolute nightmare. My dad suggested yoga, and making sure that I don’t stand in one place for too terribly long. Walk around a little, even if it’s just around your register or something. Try to see if there’s other stuff to do around the store to avoid standing in one spot.

Response moderated (Spam)

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther