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!

Well That Throws A Spanner In The Wax

| OH, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Money

(I work customer service for a retail store. We sell individual candles and you can grab them by a box. However, the box’s bar code is only for one candle not for four.)

Customer: “I’d like to return these items.”

(She pulls out a candle box with four candles and hands me her receipt. I begin to look it over.)

Me: “Ma’am, you’re returning all four candles?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Well it looks like you were originally only charged for one candle.”

Customer: “It could be on a different receipt.”

(I find this odd since if she grabbed the box then she probably bought the four candles together.)

Me: “I can try looking it up by the credit card you used.”

(She hands me the credit card over and I run it through and find that she had only been charged for one candle.)

Me: “Well, you really were charged for only one candle.”

Customer: “Oh! I’ll just keep these then.”

Me: “Ma’am, now that I know that you didn’t pay for the other three, if you leave the store you would be stealing them.”

(She ended up returning the one she wanted, too, and had to pay for the three candles she didn’t originally pay for!)

Delayed By A Customer Is A Certainty Principle

| Phoenix, AZ, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money

(I’m standing in line waiting at the check-out of a popular department store. There’s no one behind me, and I’m not in a particular hurry. The woman in front of me is buying a single item, for which she has a coupon.)

Cashier: “I’m sorry, but the coupon won’t scan. Did you—”

Customer: “What do you mean it won’t scan?”

Cashier: “Well, I see that this coupon is for [Brand Name item] and you’re trying to purchase [generic version of the same item]. The coupon only—”

Customer: “It’s the same thing, isn’t it?”

Cashier: “Well, no. The coupon only—”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! Just scan the coupon!”

Cashier: “I’m terribly sorry, but the coupon won’t—”

Customer: “I came here because I had that coupon. Now put the discount on!”

(Since it seems like we might be here all day, and I know that trying to explain her mistake won’t get anywhere, I interject.)

Me: “Ma’am, how much is the coupon worth?”

Customer: “It’s for two dollars. But—”

Me: “If I give you two dollars, will you pay and take your item?”

Customer: *insulted tone* “No! It’s the principle of the matter!”

(I wound up waiting another five minutes while they called over the manager, and no, she did not get her discount)

Sugar And Spice And Naughty And Nice

| Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink, Health & Body, Movies & TV

Customer: *after purchasing tickets and popcorn* “And I need to get my husband a drink. Give me a bottle of water. Or… what do you have that’s not naughty?”

Me: “Um, naughty like… ‘sex on the beach?'”

Customer: “No. Just without any high-fructose crap. Saccharine is fine, aspartame isn’t…”

(She begins to look at the options in our cooler as her husband, wearing a ‘live free or die’ hat, enters.)

Customer: “Get something to drink. Something not naughty.”

Customer’s Husband: *to me* “You got Coke products?”

Me: “Yes. We have fountain drinks which have HFCS, and the bottled drinks are all cane sugar. So they aren’t, um, quite as naughty.”

Customer: “Oh, he’ll just have a bottle of water.”

Me: “Okay. So that’s two bottles of water? One for him and one for you?”

Customer’s Husband:  “I think I’ll have a Cherry Coke.”

Customer: “Cherry Coke? What are you, 12?”

Customer’s Husband:  “We’re at a movie!”

Customer: “But it’s NAUGHTY!”

Customer’s Husband:  “Fine. Make it a small.”

Customer: “Well, I’ll be in the theater while you’re getting diabetes! WITH MY WATER!”

(I prepare the Cherry Coke for him and ring it up.)

Me: “Live free or die, man. Here’s your drink.”

A Pint-Sized Understanding

| Edinburgh, Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

Customer: “I’ll just take a pint, please.”

Me: “Sure, what would you like a pint of?”

Customer: “I just want a pint.”

Me: “Yes. but what would you like?”

Customer: “I want a pint. You work in a bar. How do you not know what a pint is?”

Me: “Sorry. A pint is a unit of measurement; I am just asking what you would like a pint of.”

Customer: “I DON’T KNOW! JUST GIVE ME A PINT!”

Me: “Of course.”

(I got him a pint of water. He was not happy.)

Stamping Out Stamp Fraud

| NC, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

(A customer and his two teenage children come into the store at the beginning of every month, when they get their food stamps. We don’t sell a lot of food – being a drugstore – but we have basic essentials like bread and milk, and also candy. Every month, they would spend their food stamps on the most expensive candy we have. A few days later, they would return it, without the receipt, which rewards them with a store gift card. They would then use the gift card to get things they really wanted. It takes several months of the same cashier/manager combination to figure this scam out, because they try to buy and return from different cashiers at different times of the day. When we finally catch on, the next time they try to return items for a gift card, they were informed that we would NOT be giving them a gift card, nor accepting the return.)

Customer: “Why not!? I return things here all the time! I’m a regular customer!”

Manager: “You are returning food items that you bought with food stamps in order to get non-food items for free. That is a violation of the terms of the food stamp program. Goodbye.”

Customer: *as he and his children are stomping off* “Well, we are NEVER coming here again!”

(It was only three weeks until they were in the store again! Way to teach your children, Dad!)

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