"This is your line and you have to control it," instructor Monique Oakman told a classroom of students, all with criminal records, who were studying to be cashiers at ShopRite and Fresh Grocer supermarkets owned by Brown's SuperStores.

Hands rose when she asked them what the cashier could do to alleviate a potentially tense situation where a customer with only one item was stuck in line behind someone with a basket full of groceries.

"Direct the person to the self-service line," someone suggested.

"Apologize," someone else suggested, evoking their customer-service acronym, CALM — be calm, apologize, listen and make it right.

"Ask the first customer, `Would you mind if I take him first?'

Every answer suggested was right on the money, Oakman said, reminding the group to call a manager if the situation gets too tense. "Step away from the situation. Lock the cash drawer and remove yourself. We're not hiring you to be abused. Not physically, not mentally, no kind of way. Just get yourself out of the situation, just back away."