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Publication Date

Spring 4-25-2020


Interacting with cashiers to obtain goods and services is a commonplace task for most Americans. However, the relationship between customers and cashiers has been generally overlooked in ethnographic research. This study included exploration of the nature of interactions between customers and cashiers. Normative rules of conduct were identified for people of each group. Field sites included physical business establishments and virtual websites, such as forums, review boards and scholarly journals. Research subjects included customers (51.3% female; ages 6-70) and cashiers (71.4% female; ages 16-65) who were defined by their role at the time of data collection. The main research methods utilized in this study were participant observation, observation, artifact analysis, and interviews. Secondary research methods included literature reviews, mapping, and a survey. The overarching finding was that social attitudes and expectations for cashiers create a climate in which cashiers are dehumanized and vulnerable. Ultimately, cashiers are expected to maintain a polite, enthusiastic, robotic persona while rules of conduct for customers are mostly unrestrictive.

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Customer Cashier Interactions monograph.docx (40 kB)