Cashier relishes serving public

AT WORK

November 09, 2005|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Joy Cuthbert

Cashier, Giant Food, Towson

Age: 48

Years in business: 28

Salary: $17.94/hour

How she started: Cuthbert started working part time at Giant while going to college. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a master's degree in social work. After graduating, she started working in that field but discovered that she was making more money at Giant. She stayed because of the flexibility. "I have four children (ages 8, 10, 16 and 18). [Giant has] always worked around my schedule. Not many employers will work with you like this company has."

Typical day: Cuthbert works almost 30 hours a week. She generally has Tuesday and Friday off, working the rest of the week and weekends. During the week, she works 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is home in time to get her younger children off the bus. Cuthbert says she stands behind the cash register for the entire shift with one 15-minute break. There she scans items being purchased, accepts payment and bags groceries. On a recent Sunday, Cuthbert checked out 250 customers, averaging 36 per hour, during her seven-hour shift.

The customers: "I always say, 99.9 percent of our customers are wonderful people. The other 0.1 percent makes for a great dinner conversation."

Working during the busy holiday season: Cuthbert says she enjoys the added excitement "when it's crowded and everybody's talking about going shopping and getting everything done."

What's next: Cuthbert says that when she is eligible for retirement, after 30 years, she is thinking about trying something different but adds, "I do love working with the public."

The good: The people. "Through the years, I have gotten to know the families and they know my family. We have a wonderful customer base here. It's the same people all the time."

The bad: The turnover. "When I started, if you got a job at Giant, you stayed at Giant. That's not quite the case anymore." She said the turnover makes it harder to train people and that customers like to see a familiar face.

Philosophy on the job: "If you smile, they'll smile. I do smile a lot, and it's paid off for me through the years."

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