October 09, 2011
Checkout Girl by Anna Sam
I have mixed feelings on this book. When reading the synopsis I expected funny stories of different people that came through the writer's line. And there is that, but there's some other stuff too that I wasn't as taken with.
In this book, Sam ranges all over the job of a supermarket cashier. From uniforms to early birds and all other types of customers, she covers everything there is to know about the job. Some of the stories are just plainly told, while others are set up in a dialogue format. She weighs in on bosses and Bargain Hunters (coupon people).
Since it is a collection of stories, as said before I expected just funny dialogues, much like you see on the spoof online sites out there. She does this, but it's a smaller part of the book. She gives other things a lot more detail, like uniforms. Honestly I thought she was overly snarky on the uniform descriptions. She may have been going for funny, but it sounded more sour. This same feeling holds true for her thoughts on asking "Are you open?" The snarky reply to that "I'm not, but my register is." And this is only done because she feels it is rude to equate the cashier with the machine. As a linguist this doesn't win with me and instead of feeling sympathetic towards the plights of cashiers in this book, instances like this make me roll my eyes (and that's coming from someone who was a cashier for years). I also felt sorry for the poor Bargain Hunters (coupon deals and such) that she chose to make fun of. They get her scorn but she doesn't know why they might be trying to save a buck.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that a good portion of the writing left a bad taste in my mouth. I tried desperately to enjoy it but there was just so much that wasn't funny in the book that it was hard to enjoy the good parts. And there were good parts. Her drunken customer descriptions and the late nighters stories were good. She can definitely write well it's just the tone I think needs work.
I would probably give this book a 2.5. I almost gave it a two but there was a good portion of the book I enjoyed. I just wish she had found a way to be funny without being cruel to certain types of people.