Code Green

Melissa put down the scissors after tearing open a new box of receipt tape. She knew it was company policy to keep sharp objects away from the register, but it kept menial tasks as short as possible. Plus, she thought, at most she would only get a slap on the wrist; it was still her first week. She set her new roll of paper into the register and began to hear the staccato of rain fall upon the asphalt. Hell, she thought as she looked toward the wall of glass, at least it might slow down in here.


Lesson Three: Working the Register. As a cashier, here at Cooper’s, you are the last contact our customers will have before they leave. Your actions influence their choice whether to come back or not, so make sure to make the experience at Cooper’s a positive one.

Nick entered on the opposite side of the store, encased in a dark hoodie rather than his usual cashier garb. The rain was a convenience for him. It allowed him to pull the hood over his face, shielding him from co-workers and cameras alike. He knew that his intentions were not the most honorable, nor were they the brightest, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He knew that he would be watched regardless, so he began to stroll through the store inconspicuously.

John Henry walked the length of the store, checking each vacant register for spare supplies. Noticing a lull in business, he looked around to take in the store…no, his store. He knew that he would never own a store like this, but until his shift was over, no one would say otherwise. A register light flickered to life at the other end of the row, as if to page John, so he put down the bags he had collected and paced his way toward the far end of the store. 

Whenever you have more than three customers in line, keep your demeanor positive but brisk to keep everyone in line happy, including the customer you are serving. If you experience a slow stretch of time between sales, feel free to chat with the occasional customer, allowing them to remember that final item that they had forgotten.

Nick walked the edge of the store to the grocery side; the Red Side. Both sides of the stores were colored differently, so that employees can communicate to each other without letting customers in on it. Nick thought that it would be a good idea to walk the length of registers from the red side to the blue side so that he could see who was working without letting them see him. It was nearer to the holiday season, so Nick did not recognize too many cashiers right away. After choosing to stick to the Red Side, rather than Blue, he wandered into the candy section to remain near the row of registers while out of sight. The rain had drawn in a large group of soccer moms, as well as swarms of muddy children.

Melissa found herself zoning out more often as her night drew on. Her conversations with customers became less and less complex, allowing her to stare into the far distance toward the pleasing glow of nothingness. She was impressed by her own productivity and independence when she glanced at other new cashiers. She had only called John Henry over once, and it was only a family member that was unable to find him on their own. She was also getting better at learning everyone’s name. She was able to chat with the security manager for a while before he left for the evening. He had mentioned something about a newer person coming in to replace him for the night, but they had yet to show up. This really wasn’t a concern of hers, so she got back to her indifferent customers.

As you work at your register, it is possible that you may hear any of three warnings, or “codes” as we call them, over the store’s speaker system. They are as follows: Code Red, Code Yellow, and Code Green. Though they do represent the colors of a traffic light, the meanings are not in similar fashion. 

John Henry yawned as his break came to an end. He packed up what was left of his ham sandwich, threw it into the garbage and headed back out onto the floor. At this point it was tradition for him to watch the clock as he only had a few hours left until he was forced to leave. He never had anywhere important to go, but it did allow him to look forward to the next work day. He started on the Blue Side and strolled toward the vegetables on the Red Side, stopping to occasionally chat with regulars.

Nick had his target; an older man that looked old enough to be his grandfather. He was wedged between an empty register behind him and as well as an empty register in front of him, so he figured there would be little resistance. Nick’s right hand grazed over his pocket, to make sure his knife was still there. He didn’t want any mistakes before he would exit the candy section. He glanced at his watch, and looked up, just as the security guard walked away from the door toward the employee exit. Nick knew that he had a window of about 15 to 20 minutes until another guard started, so he had to get moving.

Each “code” has its own meaning, so please be alert if you happen to hear any of them. A Code Red means there is a fire in the store. Please take the necessary precautions to evacuate yourself and those around you. A Code Yellow signifies a missing child, hopefully somewhere in the store. If you are working in a location outside of the cash-registers, it is your responsibility to keep your eyes open for any children matching the description. A Code Green indicates an injured employee somewhere in the store. Most of the time, it is based on rushing a difficult job, so make sure to pace yourself. 

Melissa walked from her register toward the back of the store. She and Mr. Wells had run out of paper bags, and she had volunteered to go pick up more. They had a playful argument in the minutes before, but she finally said that he had earned a break after helping her so much, despite his leg problems. She also wanted to leave, as someone in the candy section seemed to be leering at her. She was uncomfortable enough since it was her first day that she had to get away, at least for a moment. She glanced over her shoulder from time to time, checking to make sure she wasn’t followed.

Nick made his move. He calmly walked out of the candy section with a bag of jelly beans in left hand, keeping his right hand free. As he drew closer to the old man’s register, he saw a girl walk toward the register with paper bags under her arms. It was too late for him to turn back now, so he headed on as if nothing was different. He made sure that his hood covered his face enough and continued onward. He watched the girl put some bags by the old man, and then head back to her register right behind him. She seemed small enough that he didn’t worry about her. He dropped his bag of jelly beans on the counter, spilling them all over. As the old man scrambled to pick up stray beans that came his way, Nick drew out his knife. 
One point that we would like to make clear is that your life is more valuable to Cooper’s than any amount of money. If your life is ever threatened by a customer that is attempting to rob you, you do not need to be a hero. It is highly unlikely for you to be robbed in the first place, but if you are ever approached with an issue such as that, please be sure not to put up resistance and give them what they want. We are more concerned about you than the money.

John Henry walked out of the orientation room just as the training video finished up. He sat in for a moment so that the head of HR could step out for a cigarette. He weaved his way through the maze of offices to head back toward the floor. That’s when he heard the first scream. His body froze for a moment, listening for a response, and when nothing followed, he began sprinting toward the floor. As he burst through the door, he looked left and right, trying to find any sort of group of onlookers. He saw just that on the Red Side. He began to jog to the scene as he heard the call over the store speakers: “Code Green. Repeat, Code Green.” He knew that someone else would call 911, so he continued onward.

Nick stood frozen in place. The scream had definitely thrown him out of place, but after that, he was lost in a blur. As soon as he body caught up with him, his knees buckled, and he headed toward the floor. The scream had sent him into shock, and he began to black-out.

Melissa also stood rigid, though she was able to let out that scream. She looked around to see a group of customers and employees alike rushing to her aid. She then looked in front of her, and attempted to assess the situation.

John Henry fought to get closer, trying to maintain control over everything and everyone in front of him. As he pushed to the front of the group, John looked around just as Melissa spun around and Nick’s eyes shot open.

Nick grabbed for his chest.

John Henry grabbed for a first aid kit.

Melissa dropped the scissors.