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I am totally awful with small talk at the cash register. Anyway I have noticed some people are really good, but I am too nervous to eavesdrop so that I can get some ideas. Man, when I am next in line after a really talkative person that was chatting up the cashier I'm such a party pooper. Anyway, I know more or less the general rules for small talk, but was wondering if anyone as any specific examples of what works well, either your own or other people's "lines". I know it's all about confidence etc, but was looking for specific things people say.

The best one I got was someone asking me where I was from. It seemed like something I would never dare ask some stranger, but it seems people ask that all the time, haha. ..Good to know. Commenting on the weather is always good. Any other questions or comments that you guys like that you've noticed tend to work to make small talk?

(I have this plan to hang around a cash register inconspicuously and spy on people :b and see what they say. I might be watching you so watch out. :b Will report back when I do. :D)

P.S. I am actually ok with making small talk with people in social situations, but with the cashier it seems the constraints are different. Maybe not.
 

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unashamed perv
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I think it's acceptable to make no small talk at all at the cash register... Of course, I'm in the UK, and it's standard to be quite reserved here ;)

Compliments are always nice, something like "Oh, I like your ear-rings/hairstyle/whatever." This can lead to a conversation about ear-rings, hairstyles or whatever :)
 

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Trapped in my own head
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I worked as a cashier for years and I can tell you that it doesn't make a lick of difference whether or not you make small talk. Most people just have standard lines that they memorize and recite out of obligation.

In all honesty, from a cashier's perspective, I don't care how you're doing. I don't care if you found everything OK. It makes no difference to me whether or not you come back again. All I'm thinking about is how much I want to leave and what I have planned for when I do.
 

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first,,,,, smile,,,, make eye contact and say hello...

second,,, using the context you are in, formulate an open ended question...

third,,,, listen to the person blab blab blab and then either follow up with another open ended question or repeat what you have just heard in your own words from a story based on your own personal experience.

the two most important things here are smiling and eye contact.
 

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OK. Im drive a taxi/towncar for a living so I meet new people everyday. Not the type of job you'd expect someone with SA to have but I found that I have an easier time talking to people I don't know and who have no expectations from me. I have a standard list that I use. I ask about the weather, where they're from, how long they've been living at their current address (if I pick them up at their home). I have a Great Dane. I have his picture kind of dangling from my rear view mirror. It's a great conversation piece because even people who don't have or even like animals don't mind talking about them. The only problem is keeping the conversation alive. That's always my biggest problem. You don't always know if they're waiting for you to continue the dialog because they're as bad at it as you or if they just really don't feel like talking anymore. If they're just giving me a bunch of one word or short answers and not really contributing much to the convo then I just shut up. Another problem is that some days I don't really feel like talking no matter how chatty the passenger may be.
 
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