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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!

    Insulting Jitsu, And Then It Hits You

    | CO, USA | At The Checkout, Theme Of The Month, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I work near a campus which is currently in finals-week, so quite a few students come in early to get a pick-me-up before their exams. Five customers are in line; four regulars, followed by an impatient customer at the end. )

    Impatient Customer: “Gods! Why can’t this b**** work the cash register faster? I’ve got some important things to do!”

    Regular #1: “Calm down, buddy. She’s doing just fine.”

    Regular #3: “Yeah. Like what you have to do is important to any of us.”

    Regular #4: “Seriously. We’re all in a hurry here.”

    Impatient Customer: “Yeah? Well, he’s not!”

    (The impatient customer points at Regular #2.)

    Impatient Customer: “I’m getting in front of him!”

    (Regular #2 is very young, and looks like a college student at first glance. He also always comes in looking like he’s asleep, but gets in and out with no problem.)

    Impatient Customer: “This dumb-a** probably stayed up all night cramming for his test! Stop leaving s*** until the last second dumb-a**!”

    (The impatient customer starts forcing his way forward. As soon as he touches Regular #2, there is a blur of motion, and the impatient customer is flying towards a display. Another blur of motion occurs, and Regular #2 is standing in front of the display and the impatient customer is on the floor near the door instead.)

    Regulars #1, #3 And #4: “What just happened?!”

    Regular #2: “I didn’t want him crashing into the display and causing more work for this little lady here.”

    Me: “[Regular #2's name] has practiced martial arts since he was eight. He helps out at [local dojo I go to].”

    Regular #2: *to the impatient customer* “Also, aren’t you the lead for [name] with [company name]?”

    Impatient Customer: “How’d you know that?”

    Regular #2: “Because I’m the developer for the product you’ve requested from [other company name]. I’m going to be so glad to tell your boss this product isn’t viable, because his lead is impossible to work with. I do hope you enjoy your wait in line, because I’m going to personally make your workday miserable.”

    A Bit Light On Being Polite

    | Yonkers, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Technology, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m buying an item that offers certain customization options, and I’ve requested that mine have quite a bit of work done. I’ve made a few mistakes explaining what I want, and each one means the employee has to start from the very beginning.)

    Employee: “Okay, I think it’s finally right. Can you take a look and confirm that all this is what you want?”

    (The employee shows me the screen.)

    Me: “Yeah, yeah, whoops. Sorry, this is wrong.”

    Employee: “I’m sorry, my mistake. Let me see if I can void that one item—”

    (The terminal goes black.)

    Employee: “MOTHERF—whoops! Sorry, shouldn’t have said that.”

    Me: “I’m sorry that my order is causing so much trouble.”

    Employee: “Dude, you have no freaking idea. I don’t care if your order takes an hour, you’re actually being patient. I’m going to do what it takes to make sure you get everything the way you want it.”

    Me: “I hope being minimally polite isn’t something that stands out so much from the—”

    (There’s a crash from the next checkout counter.)

    Other Employee: “But, sir, I ran the card four times, and it got rejected each time—”

    Customer: *holding an item and smashing it into the counter* “RUN THE F****** CARD! IT’S MINE!”

    Other Employee: “I never said it wasn’t yours!”

    Employee: “What was that about being polite?”

    Give The Workers A (Prison) Break

    , | UK | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m on my way home after a hockey social, dressed as a prisoner in a bright orange jumpsuit and trick handcuffs. I’m pretty hungry, so I stop for food. Inside there is a drunk man yelling at the cashiers.)

    Drunk: “I said [competitor's signature item]! This is WRONG!”

    Cashier: “I told you, you’re at [place], not [competitor]!”

    Drunk: “I know where I am!”

    Me: “Oh, do you?”

    (He turns to me, and does a double take at my outfit.)

    Me: “Because I think you’re in a whole world of trouble.”

    (I start advancing, cackling Joker-style.)

    Drunk: “What ya gonna do, crazy b****?”

    (In answer, I stretch out, making it look like I’ve just torn apart my handcuffs.)

    Drunk: “Holy s***!”

    (I keep approaching, cackling.)

    Drunk: “Psycho b****!”

    (He throws his food at me and runs. I reach the counter, and drop the act.)

    Me: “Can I get a portion of nuggets, please?”

    (The cashier just stares at me for a moment.)

    Cashier: “Y’know, I think he was right on the crazy part. Nuggets coming right up.”

    Self-Scanning And Self-Aware

    | Pittsburgh, PA, USA | At The Checkout

    (My fiancé and I are at the self-service checkout at the grocery store. We scan our one item, and we get an error message. I try again, but still get the same error message. An employee comes up to us to help out.)

    Employee: “Can I help you?”

    Me: “Yes, thank you! Every time I scan my item, I keep getting this error message.”

    Employee: “Oh! You have to scan your store card.”

    Me: “I will, but I can’t get past this error.”

    Employee: “No, sorry, you have to scan your store card first.”

    (The employee scans the store card, then our item, and it works.)

    Me: “Thanks! I never would’ve figured that out!”

    Fiancé: *to me* “They should put up a sign, or something.”

    (The employee gestures to the TWO signs in front of us that explain all store cards need to be scanned first.)

    Me: “Oh, my God! After years of not working in retail, I’ve turned into one of those customers.”

    Employee: “Oh, it’s okay. You didn’t blame me for it, so you’re still a step ahead!”

    Good People Are Not Dime A Dozen

    | London, England, UK | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Food & Drink, Money, Movies & TV, Top

    (I work in my university’s campus shop. I arrive for my shift to find the site in lockdown. There are security guys and people in ‘hi-vis’ jackets everywhere. They check my ID, and let me through, so I think nothing of it. Later that afternoon, one of the ‘hi-vis’ jacketed guys comes to my till with a drink and bar of chocolate. He looks stressed.)

    Customer: “Hey, how much for this?”

    Me: “£1.10″

    (The customer starts rummaging in his pocket.)

    Customer: “Oh for f***’s sake; I’ve gone and left my f****** wallet in the truck. I’ve been here since 4am, and this is the only break I’ll get! I’ve only got a £1 coin. Leave the chocolate; I’ll just have the drink.”

    Me: “Nah, no worries; I’ll spot you the 10p. People leave their change behind all the time.”

    Customer: “Are you sure?”

    Me: “Yeah, positive. You look like you could use it. I hope your day gets a bit better!”

    Customer: “Thanks, love! You put a smile back on my face. Bless you!”

    (A couple of hours later, the same guy comes back in just as I’m closing up.)

    Customer: “Are you closing?”

    Me: “Yes, sorry, the till’s already been shut down.”

    Customer: “Excellent! If you’ve got 10 minutes, go sit on the wall outside there, and keep quiet, okay?”

    (Intrigued, I go sit where he asks, which is just outside the doors of the building. A dark SUV pulls up, and security guards materialise from nowhere and start moving people away. They try to move me on, but the customer tells them that I’m with him, and they leave us be. The next person to come out of the doors is Leonardo di Caprio, who then gets into the SUV. My mouth drops in shock.)

    Customer: “10p for the front-row seat. Can’t say fairer than that, can you?”

    (Some months later, I recognise one of my university’s lecture halls in the movie ‘Inception’!)


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