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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!

    Don’t Know What Game He Is Trying To Play

    | Seattle, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Health & Body

    (A short line forms at my checkout counter, and the first customer in line is a confused-looking man. He’s pretty out of it, but he seems friendly enough. He sets down a few items, and while I add up the purchases he browses the cigarettes, lotto, and scratch-off tickets kept behind the counter.)

    Customer: “What are the cheapest cigarettes you have?”

    Me: “That would be [brand]. What flavor would you like?”

    Customer: “What are the flavors?”

    (I list the flavors and he chooses one. Thinking he’s finished, I ring up the cigarettes too, and give him his total. He pauses in thought.)

    Customer: “Actually, can I get the menthol instead?”

    Me: “Uh, sure. No problem.”

    (I switch the cigarettes. Luckily they are the same price.)

    Me: “Will there be anything else?”

    Customer: “One lottery please.”

    Me: “Okay, what game do you want to play?”

    Customer: “What games are there?”

    (I list the games and how much they cost.)

    Customer: “One [game].”

    (I print the ticket and ring it up. He takes a long pause.)

    Customer: “And a [different game].”

    (I print ticket and ring it up. Pause.)

    Customer: “And [third game].”

    (The line behind him has grown by a couple people. By this point I’m a little irked by his random impulsive decisions and sluggish pace, but I follow his requests with a smile. He then notices the scratch-off ticket display.)

    Customer: “What games are these?”

    Me: *sighs*

    (I go over the games and costs and he proceeds to pick them one at a time, despite my asking if there’s multiple things I can get him at once. The whole transaction has gone on for longer than five minutes now. Once he’s done, he drops a wad of crumpled up cash and loose change on my counter. I count out what he owes while he stares blankly. As I finish counting his change, I’m about to finally cash out the transaction.)

    Customer: “Can I have another [scratch-off game]?”

    Me: “Will that be it, sir? Is there anything else you want right now?”

    Customer: “No.”

    (I silently fume, but add the ticket and take the additional money for it. He stares at the change left in front of him.)

    Customer: “Do I need more money?”

    Me: “NO! You are all paid for! You are good to go. All set.”

    (He gathers his pile of goods, tickets and change and leaves. Finally, the clearly annoyed customers still in line move forward.)

    Next Customer: “Well, that must have been frustrating.”

    Me: “Tell me about it.”

    (I ring up the next customer quickly and easily and he leaves. Five seconds later, he comes back in.)

    Next Customer: “He’s pissing on your sidewalk.”

    Me: “WHAT?!”

    (Lo and behold, only about 20 feet outside the door, the first customer has his fly open and is urinating on the side of the sidewalk, in broad daylight.)

    Me: “HEY YOU, STOP IT!”

    (The customer looks up, stops and zips up his fly. He then begins to walk back towards me and the store.)

    Customer: “I’m so sorry; I didn’t know you couldn’t. I didn’t know.”

    (As a gesture of peace, he offers me his hand that had been previously occupied only few seconds before.)

    Me: “JUST GO!”

    Piercing Judgments

    | Medford, MA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Health & Body, Top

    (I have a purple/reddish birthmark about the size of a quarter above my eyebrow. I generally forget it exists. A self-important looking customer in his 60s comes to my register.)

    Customer: “Serves you right.”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: “What happened, did it get infected?” *huffs* “That’s what you get for piercing your face.”

    (Note: I have several small studs in each ear, but no other piercings.)

    Me: “I don’t know what you mean.”

    Customer: *smugly points to my eyebrow without saying a word*

    Me: “That’s actually a birthmark, but thanks for being so judgmental!”

    (The customer turns red, grabs his coffee, and quickly walks away without saying a word. He nearly spills his coffee on someone else in the process!)

    He’s Got The Bear Necessities

    | MN, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (A little boy, around five or six, comes into my work with his parents. He has a scab below his eye.)

    Me: “Hey, buddy! What happened to your eye?”

    Boy: *looking down, embarrassed* “I fell off a chair.”

    (I lean down, and whisper to him just loud enough for his parents to hear.)

    Me: “Just tell people you got in a fight with a bear, and WON!”

    Boy: *lights up* “Yeah! Dad, can I say that?”

    Dad: “Well, that’s what happened, right? You got in a fight with a bear and WON!”

    Boy: “YEAH!”

    Failed The Balancing Act

    | ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

    (I am working at a busy café, serving a customer who is busy gossiping with her friend.)

    Me: “So, your total comes to $4.95.”

    (The customer hands me her pre-loaded store card without saying a word. I swipe for payment.)

    Me: “Oh, it looks like your balance is reduced to zero now. You just owe $0.35.”

    Customer: “YOU USED THE CARD?!”

    Me: “Yes, you gave it to me.”

    Customer: “Oh my God! I just wanted the balance!”

    Me: “Okay, well you should say that when you hand me the card after I ask you for payment.”

    Customer: “UGH! Like… I have change!”

    Me: “Okay, I’m sorry that you weren’t aware.”

    Customer: “Just give me the d*** balance!”

    Me: “You have no money on the card. I told you your total. You gave me your card without saying anything. And so I used it. And now there is no money on it. And you still owe me $0.35.”

    (The customer gets red-faced, pays the remainder, and still tries to act cool leaving.)

    Of Mama Bears And Magic Hairs

    | AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (I am working as a cashier. A very tall and slender man, in his late 20s, wearing all black, with shoulder length black hair, facial piercings, and white and black face make up, and his nails painted black comes up to my till.)

    Me: “Hi, did you find everything? Or is there something I can help you with?”

    Customer: *in a very quiet low voice* “Um… yeah. I was wondering if you can hold this for a little while. Mama bear is done shopping over at [grocery store], and I need to go get her.”

    Me: “Sure, if you just want to leave it here, I can put it under my till or you can take it to customer service.”

    Customer: “I will leave it here.”

    (The customer walks away. After about 15 minutes, he comes back to my till.)

    Customer: “Hi, mama bear wasn’t finished, so I need to know if you can hold my stuff a while longer.”

    Me: “Sure thing, that won’t be a problem.”

    (He then proceeds to reach out a touch my hair.)

    Customer: “I feel the energy of your hair. It wants you to know, it loves you.”

    Me: “…”

    (Once again he walks out the door. After another hour he comes back in with an older lady, in her 80s with a cane.)

    Customer: “See Oma, this is who I was telling you about. Do you feel that energy?”

    Old Lady: “Yes, she feels very light, like clouds.”

    Me: “Are you ready to pay?”

    Old Lady: “In a minute, dear.”

    (This is when a middle aged lady, maybe 50, walks in grabs their hands and starts leading them toward the door without purchasing their items.)

    Customer: “But mama bear, the hair!”

    Coworker: “That was odd.”

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