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Checkout: A Life on the Tills Paperback – 15 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Gallic Books (15 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190604029X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906040291
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 13.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anna Sam was born in Rennes, where she still lives with her husband and two dogs. After graduating from university, she worked as a supermarket checkout girl for eight years. She began to document her experiences in a popular blog, before landing a publishing contract. Her witty memoir, 'Checkout: A Life on the Tills' became an international bestseller.

Product Description

Review

The checkout girls of Europe have found a figurehead. Her name is Anna Sam --The Times

Compelling reading --Daily Telegraph

Ignored, abused and underpaid, the unsung heroines of the food chain are suddenly in the spotlight thanks to French till tapper Anna Sam. --The Sun

Compelling reading --Daily Telegraph

Ignored, abused and underpaid, the unsung heroines of the food chain are suddenly in the spotlight thanks to French till tapper Anna Sam. --The Sun

About the Author

Anna Sam was born in Rennes, where she still lives with her husband and two dogs. After graduating from university, she worked as a supermarket checkout girl for eight years. She began to document her experiences in a popular blog, before landing a publishing contract.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hammond TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anna Sam knows the tough reality of life at the tills. She has clearly experienced the lows but manages to communicate those lows in a style that renders them interesting rather than whiny. Stylistically, the writing structure can be a bit off-putting if you don't give it a chance, and I have real sympathy for those reviewers unable to get under that to the heart of the thing. Do persevere, it is well worth it as the insights into a life almost all of us play a supporting role to are fascinating (there are 4m retail workers in the UK and all the rest of us go out and shop). Read it with an open-mind and you will find yourself becoming that bit more patient when it comes to paying for your stuff in the supermarket and that's no bad thing.

The one gripe I have is the publisher's heavy-handed attempt to localise the content - French retail conventions are twisted a bit to fit UK ones. It's at its most jarring when talk of Euros and Cents is shoehorned into Pounds and Pence. We're not thick, we know Sam is French and that she worked in the French retail system - no need to patronise us with this unnecessary localisation.

I would also recommend that every retail manager has a read of Checkout too - you'll learn much about how not to treat your staff, you will become a better manager. For the flip-side to life in the supermarket, also read the excellent 'Shelf Life' by Simon Parke.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tina on 14 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
I love reading books written by people who share their experiences while working at a particular job. Checkout by Anna Sam is exactly this type of book.

I am always amazed at all the behind the scenes "goings on" in a particular job or field. I mean, I see people working in the supermarket every day and, to be honest, never really gave alot of thought to all that goes behind making a "good cashier". Its like I go to the store and miraculously "poof" someone is there to help me. So, I absolutely loved reading about the stuff that goes on that the average customer never gets to see, hear or experience.

Author Anna Sam does a fine job of telling us, without too many boring details, the finer (and less fine) ins and outs of working on the checkout counter. She is very witty and each experience is written with a healthy dose of dry humor which works perfectly with the stories she is sharing.

The only thing I had a bit of an issue with is the non-continuation of the storyline. Sam jumps from one experience to the next without much of a set up and it always took me a few seconds to get into the next story (or chapter) - still, this proved to be a funny, entertaining and oh my god! I will look at my supermarket people totally differently from now on - type of read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
It was fun reading the inside story on working in superstores in Anna Sam's book Checkout. If ever there was a lightweight holiday read this is it, but it also worth reading as a snapshot of something in daily life we take for granted - the visit to the supermarket till.

Anna Sam worked for eight years in a Leclerc superstore in Rennes as a check-out operator (a job which she amusingly describes as "beepeuse" in her interview with the Daily Telegraph). With her degree in French literature, Anna Sam was never going to be content with sitting at the till year in year out, and when she cottoned on to the power of the Internet, she launched her blog, Les Tribulations d'une Cassiere, which became an instant success.

Book deals and possible film offers followed with the result that Anna Sam is no longer a beepeuse, showing once again the power of the Internet to catapult people into prominence.

Enough of the background. Checkout is a humorous but also rather humbling account of the experience of dealing with customers - people like you and me who have to shop and try to keep the experience as quick and efficient as possible, often ignoring the real people who work in our local stores. Customers continue mobile phone conversations while packing their bags. They sneeze over the operator. They belittle the staff in front of their children ("if you don't work hard at school you will end up in a job like this").

The check-out operator has to handle an unremitting stream of packages passing on their conveyor while dealing with people who are downright stupid and often unacceptably rude.
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By Mrs. C. Colbert VINE VOICE on 1 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
If you've ever wondered what life is like on the other side of the checkout as you buy your weekly shopping, then wonder no more as Anna Sam talks to you as if you were applying for the job yourself.

I learnt that supermarkets in France don't supply their customers with free bags anymore, unlike the UK where they're given out every day in their thousands and then thrown carelessly away, cluttering up the rubbish dumps.

I also discovered what the three most common questions the till operators are asked, and which European country uses the most toilet rolls! Oh yes, this book is full of gems like this.

I quite enjoyed her easy style of writing and short paragraphs with titles such as `Embarrassing Items' and `My Till, My Love'.

But I started to get a little bored about ¾ of the way through and I was glad it was just a short book (only 174 pages). It is a unique and very quirky read and there were some funny parts.

Even though Anna worked in France, I'm sure it is equally relevant wherever it is set, as I'm sure retail workers can identify with the many amusing, awkward and downright rude customers!
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