How to Impress a Cashier

Posted by John Category: Life Advice

Hi. I have figured out a good way to impress cashiers.

At the checkout when the cashier tells you the amount of money you owe, simply reference an historical event from the year corresponding to that amount.

Let me explain. Say your groceries cost €15.43 — the cashier will most likely say something like, “fifteen, forty-three, please.” At this point, you might reply, “Ah yes, 1543, the year England and Scotland signed the Treaty of Greenwich”.

To know the exact year fairly obscure historical events took place is a rare and precious skill. It would blow the minds of most if not all people, not just cashiers. But in this case, your aim is to impress just cashiers.

A couple more possible scenarios:


Cashier: That will be 18.70 please.

You: Ah yes, 1870, the year infanticide was banned in India.


Cashier: Ok so 9.95, please.

You: Ah yes, 995, the year Olaf Tryggvason was crowned King of Norway. 


You’re probably right now thinking: I can’t believe I have gone through my whole life not impressing cashiers in this way. The good news is it is never too late to start. The bad news is, yes, it is true you have not lived a full life.

A small caveat. Sometimes the cashier might only say a number and nothing else. In this case there is no need to repeat that number as that number is already hanging in the air unencumbered by any (non-numerical) words. As you can see in the example below, the cashier will have, in this instance, “teed you up.”


Cashier: 13.99

You: Ah yes, the year Ladislaus regains the throne of Naples. 


You might not even have to say, “the year”. Perhaps you could shorten it to:


You: Ah yes, Ladislaus regains the throne of Naples.


Use your discretion. The latter example is best saved for cashiers who appear to possess above average intelligence. It is important in all cases that you lead with the words, “ah yes.” This classy touch, aside from lending you an air of old world sophistication, makes it seem like you have genuine pride in your knowledge of when historical events took place. Genuine pride impresses people including, crucially, cashiers.

“But I don’t know the years in which most historical events took place,” I hear you moan. Well I am afraid I cannot help you with that. I am here to offer elucidation, not motivation. If you are not willing to spend the time learning at least one historical event for every year since the birth of Jesus Christ, then there is no point in me trying to help you.

That said, there is perhaps one saving grace for those of you who are unwilling to learn off the years in which historical events took place. Should the amount of money you are handing over exceed the amount of years that have elapsed since the birth of the aforementioned Christ, you will be able to then engage in a spot of playful soothsaying. For instance…


Cashier: Ok, that will be 29.95.

You: Ah yes, 2995, the year robots or something did something.


That prophecy may strike you as unimaginative. Fair comment. To be honest, I cannot imagine the future. I lack imagination. Or perhaps I am too afraid to be playful. Perhaps I am worried my vision of the future will be nothing but a tired, dystopian cliche. Perhaps I am overthinking it. Perhaps cashiers aren’t that judgemental.

All in all, it may be safer to try impress cashiers when handing over amounts that are less than the amount of years since the birth of Christ. History is airtight, dependable; the future much less so. That bottle of Smirnoff you are eyeing up for €21.99? Who wants to even speculate about the year 2199? I suggest you opt instead for a bottle of Tamova from Aldi for €12.99. Ah yes, a serious fire occurs at Westminster Palace.