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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!

    Getting All Hancocked Over A Lincoln

    | GA, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Wild & Unruly

    (I am a rather short young man who has just paid for lunch that I am sharing with a friend. Upon taking my seat at the table, I realize that I have been given $5 extra change. I go back to the register to return the excess money. There is one other customer in line behind me.)

    Me: “Sorry to bother you again, but I just wanted to return the extra change I was given by mistake.”

    Cashier: “Really? Well that’s a first.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but what is, ma’am?”

    Cashier: “Well, incorrect change is given out every now and then, and we always hear when it is short. However, we never get approached when we give too much.”

    Me: “You would think otherwise, wouldn’t you?”

    Cashier: “You’d be surprised. Unfortunately, when the register comes up short, we are either charged the difference out of our own pay or dismissed.”

    Me: “That’s terrible! Maybe if people knew jobs were at stake, they would be more honest.”

    (The customer in line has heard the whole thing and decides to speak up.)

    Customer: “Hey buddy. If you don’t want it, I’ll take it.”

    Me: “What?”

    Customer: “That $5 bill. I could use the money if you’re just giving it away.”

    Me: “I’m not giving it away. It’s their money; I was just given it by mistake. Did you not hear that she could lose her job?”

    Customer: “Look man, times are hard. People that actually have to work for their money need all of it they can get. We can’t all be spoiled brats like you!”

    Me: “I have a part-time job and go to college, so I work for what I have, too. Now I’m giving this money back to her, who it belongs to, not you. That is final!”

    Customer: “F*** you punk, and f*** that b**** too! If you won’t give it to me, I’ll take it along with all your front teeth!”

    (The customer is a full grown and muscular man, nearly twice my size. He grabs me by the arm and lifts me into the air. I see a swift motion in front of my face and brace for impact, but suddenly I feel myself dropped. The customer is cowering and holding his face. The cashier has sucker-punched him while he is holding on to me.)

    Me: “Thank you so much! I don’t know what I would have done without that!”

    Cashier: “No, thank you. If not for your honesty, I would have been fired. It’s the least I could do.”

    (The customer has recovered and quickly leaves. The manager comes over and is told the whole story.)

    Manager: “I’d like to offer you a free meal the next time you come.”

    Me: “I have to politely turn you down. I think the food is more than worth the price, and I’m happy to pay!”

    (I eat there regularly and have even become friends with the cashier. The best part is, because of this and her track record of great service, she later gets promoted to assistant manager!)

    Not So Smart-Phone Number

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Pets & Animals

    (Our store sells rats and mice for feeders. All customers who purchase them have to fill out a short sheet with their name, address, and phone number for our records. Our store reward cards can be found by entering a phone number.)

    Me: “Alright, two male mice and [other item]. If you could please fill this out while I ring you up that would be great.”

    (The customer stares blankly at the piece of paper.)

    Me: *pushes paper closer* “We’ll just need this filled out for the mice for our files.”

    Customer: “What is this?”

    Me: “It’s a form that has to be filled out for all animals we sell; it is company policy.”

    (The customer starts to get huffy.)

    Customer: “I have lived in this area for nine years, and have never had to fill one of these out before!”

    (She starts to fill it out, grumpily, sighing every few seconds, and complains the entire time, saying the policy is stupid and she doesn’t understand. When she reaches the portion where it asks for a phone number should we need to call the customer about the animal, she explodes.)

    Customer: “There is NO F****** WAY I am giving you guys my phone number. This is freaking ridiculous; let me talk to a manager. I have lived here NINE YEARS and have never had to fill this out. This is a retarded policy, and I am not giving you guys my phone number to have on file!”

    (I call a manager up and keep trying to diffuse the situation.)

    Me: “That’s fine, ma’am. You can rightly refuse for the phone number. While we wait for my manager, do you have a rewards card?”

    (The customer looks up at me and prattles off her phone number. I resist face-palming at her.)

    Related:
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 10
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 9
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 8
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 7
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 6
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 5
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 4

    Can’t Help Those Who Won’t Help Themselves

    | CA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

    (The entire network for my store and the stores in my district have gone down, preventing us from looking up customer accounts and values for electronic devices. A customer comes in to have an estimate for selling an iPhone.)

    Customer: “How much can I get for this?”

    Coworker: “Our system is down right now, so unfortunately we cannot look it up.”

    Customer: “You can’t even try?”

    Coworker: “Well, let’s give it a shot.”

    (My coworker starts loading the screen, and the system only loads about halfway before failing.)

    Coworker: “Since it’s still not working, I can give you the number of another store that does have their system functioning so they can give you an estimate.”

    Customer: “So you mean I have to call them, and you can’t tell me here?”

    Coworker: “We cannot.”

    Customer: “Why not?”

    (I have just clocked off, but decide to interject to help explain the situation.)

    Me: “Our system is down, preventing us from looking up the estimate. However, this store can give you an estimate. Additionally, you can go onto our store website and find an estimate there.”

    Customer: “So you’re telling me you can’t help me?”

    Me: “Through our system we cannot, but I have provided you two alternatives to help you out.”

    Customer: *starts leaving* “Dumb-a** b****, won’t even help me out and look it up for me.”

    Another Customer: “Their system is down lady! Gosh, what is her problem?”

    Common Sense Bounces Off His Head

    | Rotherham, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal

    (There have been a number of armed robberies in the surrounding area of betting shops, convenience stores and post offices. We are all pretty on edge when a customer comes in the store wearing a motorbike helmet.)

    Me: “Excuse me, could you remove your helmet please?”

    Customer: “What?!”

    Me: “Could you remove your helmet, please? You’re not supposed to come in the shop with it on.”

    Customer: “This is ridiculous; why should I have to take it off?”

    Me: “I’m not serving you while you have it on. Please remove it.”

    Customer: “If a [racial slur] came in here with their face covered, you wouldn’t ask them to remove it.”

    Me: “Seeing as that isn’t even relevant in this matter, I’ll ignore what you just said. However I will not serve you while you are wearing that helmet. There have been countless armed robberies in the area, so do you really think I feel safe with you walking in like that? Just be glad I haven’t already pressed the panic button.”

    Customer: *shuts up and removes helmet*

    To Give Credit Where Debit Is Due, Part 4

    | NC, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Extra Stupid, Money

    (I am helping a customer with a return. Due to past misuses of the system, our registers are set to only do returns in the original payment method, or as a store gift card.)

    Me: “Alright, ma’am, this was done as debit. I can either put it on a gift card, or back onto the same card, if you have it on you.”

    Customer: “What? Debit’s the same as cash! Why can’t I get cash?”

    Me: “I apologize, but that’s our policy. We can only do it in the method it was originally done, or store credit.”

    Customer: “Well that’s just wrong. Debit is the same as cash! Everywhere!”

    Me: “I understand, and I am sorry, but these are the only options I’m allowed.”

    Customer: *handing me her card* “Well fine, put it back on the card.”

    Me: *as I slide the card* “It may take one or two business days to show back up. Here’s your copy of the return, and I hope you have a nice day.”

    Customer: *reading her return receipt* “Hey! It says credit on here! I paid debit!”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. The system has to credit it back to your card. It looks a little weird, but the money is going back.”

    Customer: “If I use credit, I’ll be fined! My card doesn’t do credit! That first receipt said debit!”

    Me: “Yes, the original purchase is definitely debit. Ma’am, it’s not charging your card; it’s crediting money back. I don’t know your particular bank, but there’s never been an issue—”

    Customer: “What is your name? If there’s a problem, I want to know. And give me that original receipt back. It says debit.”

    Me: “I’m [Name]. Give me just a second to copy some info off this receipt onto the return, and you’ll have it right back.”

    (At this point, the customer is fed up, and leaves without waiting for her original receipt. I staple it to the return, and turn to help the next customer. Several days later, the same customer approaches me.)

    Customer: “Hi. I was in here a couple of days ago, and you were helping me with a return. I… just wanted to apologize for the way I treated you. I was having a bad day, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.”

    Me: “Oh! Thank you! I take it the return processed as it should?”

    Customer: “Yes. But even if it hadn’t, there’s no excuse for the way I was acting.”

    Me: “Well, thank you. Everyone has a bad day now and then.”

    (Her making a point to return and say sorry was such a pleasant surprise; it improved the whole rest of my shift.)

    Related:
    To Give Credit Where Debit Is Due, Part 3
    To Give Credit Where Debit Is Due, Part 2

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