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  • Bigotry Comes In All Shapes And Sizes
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    Category: At The Checkout

    The customer has seemed normal and maybe even intelligent throughout the shopping purchase. But then they get to the checkout and as soon as human interaction is required it all falls apart. The checkout operators really are our first line of defense against the stupid customer!

    Doesn’t Have A Leg To Stand On

    , | UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Health & Body

    (Four months before this, I broke my leg very badly while at university. I am currently working in a shop at home over the holidays. I’m at the checkouts and see a lady with her arm in a sling trying to cut in front of a very long queue.)

    Me: “Excuse me, ma’am. The queue starts over there.”

    Customer: “I was standing in [other queue] for ages before someone told me it was a self service!”

    Me: “Sorry, but all these people have been queuing.”

    Customer: “It’s a bloody outrage. Your signs aren’t at all clear!”

    Next Customer In Line: “Oh, just let her go.”

    Me: “Okay…”

    Customer: “I’ve got a sprained wrist. You people have no idea how much pain I’m in! I shouldn’t be treated like this! I’ve a good mind to speak to your manager!”

    Me: “Actually, I do know. Four months ago, I broke my leg in six places and had to have several operations to fix it. I’ve been walking on it for less than a month. In order to fund myself through medical school, so I can be a doctor and help people, I’m spending nine hours a day standing on my feet serving customers who can’t do anything but complain.”

    (The customer looked ashamed, mumbled a ‘sorry,’ and was polite from then on, avoiding the angry glares the other customers in line were giving her.)

    Soldiering Through Bad Customers

    | Westminster, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Military

    (I used to work full time at a large retail clothing store. I am now in the military and when I take leave, I come back and often work a few days during a week.  A man and wife come up to the register.)

    Me: “How’s your day going? Did anyone help you find everything?”

    (I always ask because I don’t really have a quota I need to meet.)

    Husband: “Oh, it’s going. No one helped, but we found everything easily.”

    Me: “Sorry about that. Glad you found everything, though.”

    Wife: “Do you make commission?”

    Me: “Nope! But most of the employees have sales quotas they have to meet.”

    Wife: “You don’t?”

    Me: “No, I’m part time. I actually have other goals in mind.”

    (The husband half laughs at this point and looks right at me.)

    Husband: “Oh, do you actually have high dreams for yourself?”

    (His wife chuckles, so I straighten up, stop scanning things, pull out my secondary wallet carrying my military ID, with ‘specialist’ listed as the rank and my military police badge and slam it on the table.)

    Me: “Actually, I’m in the Army. I am here on leave and I can’t stand to just sit around. My family is working, so a few days each time I’m back I come here to work. I have been on details I’m not allowed to discuss and you will never learn about from the news.”

    (The husband literally looks straight down and slinks a little.)

    Me: “Not to mention while I’m doing this, I’m about a year and half into my bachelors of science in criminology. But, hey…” *I go back to scanning his items and putting away my wallet* “…it must be extremely nice for someone like you to enjoy being here so casually thanks to people like me.”

    (During the rest of the time I scan the items, neither person says a word.)

    Me: “That will be [price]. We can do any credit card or cash.”

    (The husband says nothing and simply hands me his card politely.)

    Me: “All right, here you go! Continue to enjoy the rest of your day!”

    Husband: *in a hushed voice* “Thank you…”

    Me: “You’re WELCOME. For everything.”

    (I continue with the polite tone and smiling, and then call up the next customer.)

    Next Customer: “THANK YOU!”

    (The customer shakes my hand and we talk about his time in the Marines during Vietnam. I made sure to give him the 10% military discount.)

    Of Percents And No Sense

    | Canada | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Extra Stupid, Money

    (Our customer service areas double as our cashes, so it’s common to ring in one customer only to walk with the next customer to go pick out jeans or other items. One day an older woman comes to my station and looks disappointed.)

    Me: *holding her items* “Hello there, ma’am. Did you find everything you were looking for today?”

    Customer: “No. I wanted to find a coat for my husband but none of the styles here are right for him. He wants a fall jacket not a winter one.”

    Me: “Oh, I see. You’re right, all the jackets that we have out now are made more for winter since it’s October and everyone is looking for winter clothes. But if you’d like, before I ring these in, you can look over at [New Clothing Brand] and see if they have anything? They feature more high-end looks and I’m pretty sure there are some lighter jackets mixed in there.”

    Customer: “Hmm…”

    Me: “Most of the items of that brand are on sale for 30% off right now. I’m not sure if the jackets are on sale but if you want you can see if there’s one you like and I can see if there are any discounts on it?”

    Customer: “Oh, okay. Thank you! I’ll go have a look, thank you.”

    (The customer goes over to the section I mention and looks around; a few moments later she comes back with a light jacket.)

    Me: “Oh, it looks like you found one.”

    Customer: “I did. It’s almost exactly what he wants. Thank you for mentioning it.”

    (I take the coat to scan the barcode and notice the sticker on the tag. The sticker is our way of showing clearance items which have been marked down 40%.)

    Me: “It looks like you found one of the clearance jackets, because it’s already been reduced 40%, I can’t take 30% off of it, but 40% is still better than 30%.”

    Customer: “But you said everything was 30% off?”

    Me: “I’m sorry. I mentioned that most things were 30% off, but your jacket is already 40% off, so it’s a better deal.”

    Customer: “Well, now, that’s not what you told me. You said it would be 30% off!”

    (The customer continues to argue this back and forth for a while, with me offering to look for one that wasn’t clearance (but more expensive), but the customer refuses and leaves the coat behind. I go on my break soon after, feeling bummed that I wasn’t able to find the woman a gift for her husband. When I come back my coworker pulls me aside.)

    Coworker: “Your lady came back.”

    Me: “The one who wanted the coat? Why?”

    Coworker: “She came and demanded that she get the discount. She said that the signs said 30% off so she was getting it discounted.”

    Me: “But it says ‘unless already reduced…’ and it was already 40% off.”

    Coworker: “I know, but she put up such a fuss that the manager gave it to her. Then she said the manager was a big baby!”

    Me: “So she got a high-end coat for 70% off?”

    Coworker: “Yup.”

    Me: “… Only six more hours to go.”

    The Art Of Ordering Without Ordering

    | Olympia, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

    (I work in a restaurant and we have three kinds of shakes available: vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.)

    Me: “What can I get for you today?”

    Customer: “I would like a large chocolate shake, but without the chocolate.”

    Me: “You mean; you want a vanilla shake?”

    Customer: “Did I say I wanted a f****** vanilla shake? I said I want a CHOCOLATE SHAKE WITHOUT THE CHOCOLATE! Are you new or something?”

    Me: “No, I’ve been working here for six months. How do I make a chocolate shake without the chocolate?”

    Customer: “Ah, so, you’re f****** stupid?! You weren’t trained at all. I WANT A CHOCOLATE SHAKE WITHOUT THE CHOCOLATE, YOU UNEDUCATED LITTLE S***! My three-year-old could do your job better!”

    Me: “Okay, your total is $2.50.”

    (Customer throws the money on the table.)

    Customer: “That’s what I thought. I just have to repeat myself to you idiots.”

    (I made her a vanilla shake and handed it to her. She drank it at the table and didn’t complain at all about it.)

    Nothing To Tip Him Off

    | Colorado Springs, CO, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    (My coworker and I are working at a gas station while our manager is working in the back room. A customer comes up to the register.)

    Customer: “Can I get a wine (tobacco product)?”

    (Because these products come in either wood tip or plastic tip, we always ask the customer which they would like if they don’t specify.)

    Coworker: “Wood or plastic tip?”

    Customer: “Wine.”

    Coworker: “Yes. Wood or plastic?”

    Customer: “WINE.”

    Coworker: “WOOD or PLASTIC?”

    (This continues on for another minute or two until they are near shouting at each other, despite my coworker acknowledging the request for wine-flavor. My manager comes around the corner with her phone out.)

    Manager: “Sir, she’s asking you very clearly which kind of wine (tobacco product) you would like: one with a wood tip, or one with a plastic tip.”

    (The customer has a dumbfounded look for a moment, and then slaps his hand to his forehead in embarrassment.)

    Customer: “OH! Oh, my goodness. I’m SO sorry! Plastic tip, please!”

    (We all start laughing as my coworker shakes her head and begins checking the man out. Before he leaves, he looks at my manager, who is still standing next to me, giggling.)

    Customer: “Why did you come out with your phone out, anyways?”

    Manager: “Oh, because it was just too perfect! I had to get it on video or no one would ever believe it really happened!”

    (She had recorded the exchange, and has since showed it to some of my other coworkers who couldn’t believe that this even happened. The man still comes in and has since remembered to specify which kind of tip he would like on his product.)


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