November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

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!

Not The Brightest Bulb In The Box

| MD, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

(I am one of two department managers responsible for the front end in my store. My subordinate is on the register next to me, processing a return for a rather expensive LED light bulb. This is right after the most recent Target hack.)

Customer: “I’d like to return this light bulb. It wasn’t the kind I needed.”

Coworker: “All right. Do you have your receipt?”

(The customer hands over the receipt, and she processes it quickly.)

Coworker: “Okay, [amount of return] is going back to your card. Is that all right?”

Customer: “Yes, that’s fine.”

(The coworker hands over return slip for him to sign. He stares at it for a moment and compares it to a credit card in his hand.)

Customer: “This is the wrong card. It should be returned to this card. *shows my coworker the card*

Coworker: *looking at original receipt* “Sir, that’s not the card that was used. The card used to pay for the light bulb ended in [last four card numbers].”

Customer: “Yeah, but I don’t have that card anymore. It was replaced because of the Target thing. Let me speak to your manager.”

(Coworker calls me over. I’ve heard nearly everything, but she explains the situation briefly.)

Me: “Hi. What can I do for you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I need this returned on to this card.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but you didn’t use that card to pay for it. We can only process a refund to the original card, or a store credit. But as the return has already been processed, you’ll have to contact the company who handles your account. As long as it’s in good standing, they’ll issue a check for the amount of the refund.”

Customer: “Of course my card is in good standing! It’s a prominent bank that deals with veterans and their families. It’s the same account. I just have a new card number. So, you can’t refund my purchase?”

Me: “We already have. If your card is linked to the same account, then most likely, they’ll credit your account. I’ll call for you right now, if you like.”

Customer: “It’s Sunday! They’re not open! I just want my money back.”

Me: “Sir, we’ve refunded your money back to your card. At this point, it is out of our hands. You can call your bank and they can issue you a check for the amount.”

Customer: “You haven’t given me my money back. It’s not the right card.”

(I show him the return slip.)

Me: “As far as this company is concerned, we have. The money is now in the hands of your bank. You may call them on Monday, and they can credit your account, or issue a check.”

Customer: “So, you’re not going to refund me?”

Me: “As I said, we already refunded—”

Customer: “No, you haven’t. Is there something wrong with you? You haven’t refunded my purchase.”

(The customer grabs the light bulb off the counter.)

Customer: “I’ll just go to a store where they know how to do a refund correctly. You are all obviously too stupid to do this!” *begins to walk out the door*

Me: “Sir! You can’t take the light bulb. We’ve refunded that!”

Customer: “No, you haven’t! I’m going somewhere else!”

(He stole the light bulb. No other store would be able to refund his money back to the new card. Our system isn’t set up that way. Three days later, I got a call from another store asking about the return. They contacted his bank and they had credited his account. That store took the light bulb from him at that time.)

Sorry Doesn’t Seem To Be The Hardest Word

| AK, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Wild & Unruly

(I’m ringing up a customer and giving her her bags. I forget to give her the light jacket she bought and don’t notice until she drives off. Hoping she’ll come back, I put it next to myself for safe-keeping and keep checking customers. Twenty minutes later, she returns.)

Customer: “Where’s my jacket?!”

Me: “Right here, ma’am.” *I give her back the jacket* “I’m sorry about the inconvenience, I—”

Customer: “You should be ASHAMED of yourself! This is very poor service!”

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am—”

Customer: “I had to get out of my car, bring in my things, see my jacket missing, get my walker, get BACK in my car, and drive all the way back here, and it was very difficult! What’s your name? I’m calling corporate about you, and they’re gonna write you up!”

Me: “I’m sorry about—”

Customer: *wry laughter* “Oh, and of course, you never ONCE said sorry!”

Me: “But I, just— I’m very sorry, ma’am.”

Customer: “Oh, yeah, you apologize NOW, after I TELL you to!”

(I return to my line, shaken and a little upset, and continue ringing up the customer I was helping earlier, who witnessed the whole thing.)

Next Customer: “But you said you were sorry FOUR times. I counted!”

The Warranty Comes Warranted, Part 2

, | AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Technology

(I’m selling a customer an iPad and introducing a new warranty which covers accidental damage, meaning you can replace your iPad for $50 rather than buying a whole new one. It’s a fantastic deal and, as the customer in question is buying the iPad for his eight-year-old daughter and wants the most expensive model, I am trying to convince him that the extra $99 for it is really worth it.)

Me: “Sir, just to check, you’re getting this for your daughter, you said?”

Customer: “Yeah. I mean, we’ll use it too, but it’s mostly for her.”

Me: “I see. In that case, you really want to consider getting the extra warranty.”

Customer: “But it comes with one that covers it for a year, right?”

Me: “Yes, but it doesn’t cover accidental damage. If she accidentally drops it and cracks the screen, it’ll cost full price to replace without the warranty. With the warranty, it’s only $50 to replace it.”

Customer: *considers it for a moment, then shakes his head* “Nah, we’ll be okay. I’ll tell her to be real careful.”

Me: *gesturing to a nearby table where we have iPads set up for kids to play with* “Sir, I’m sure your daughter is really careful with her toys, but iPads are really fragile and kids sometimes forget they’re not as hardy as their other things.”

(In perfect timing, a kid at the table then starts banging the iPad on the table hard. I grimace and the customer cringes slightly.)

Customer: “Err, no, no. It’s okay. We’ll be careful.”

(I get him to at least buy a screen cover and ring him up. He’s excited and happy at the end, so I figure everything’s all right and hopefully his daughter is as careful as he says she is. The next day, however, I see him come in with the iPad, case, and several small glass shards from the broken screen in a Ziploc bag. He sees me on his way to the tech counter and sheepishly holds up the bag.)

Customer: “I guess you were right. I’ll get the warranty this time…”

The Warranty Comes Warranted

Two Sides Of The Same Very Reasonable Coin

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Top

(Two different customers approach me at the same time to ask for help.)

Customers #1 & #2: “Excuse me!”

Me: “Yes, how may I help you?”

(I soon realize that the customers have no relation to each other, as they ask me for help in two completely different departments.)

Me: “Hmm, how should I do this? Who do I help first?”

(Judging by their body language, neither customer wants to back down. So I reach into my pocket and pull out a coin.)

Me: “All right, we’ll do it this way. Heads or tails?”

Customer #1: “Heads!”

Customer #2: “Guess that makes me tails, then.”

(I flip the coin, and it lands tails.)

Customer #2: “Yes!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, let’s go. And sir, I’ll be with you as soon as I’m done with her.”

Customer #1: “Fair enough.”

(I wish more customers were that easy to deal with!)

When Write Is Wrong Is Really Right

| VA, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words

(I work in a video store. This is years before gift cards. We have to hand-write the amount on a certificate.)

Customer: “That is not spelled right.”

Employee #1: *writes void on certificate, and tries again*

Customer: “It’s still not right.”

(Employee #1 calls over Employee #2.)

Employee #2: “Ma’am, I’m sure that’s right.”

Customer: *agitated* “I demand to speak to a manager.”

(I come over.)

Me: “Ma’am, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I need this certificate for $12 and he keeps spelling it wrong.”

Me: “Okay. What is the amount of the gift certificate?”

Employee #1: “$12.”

Me: “How did you spell it?”

Employee #1 & #2: “T-W-E-L-V-E.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not the greatest speller, but I’m pretty sure that’s right.”

Customer: “Well, it’s not.”

Me: “So that we don’t waste anymore gift certificates, why don’t you write the amount?”

(The customer snatches the booklet and pen, and starts to fill in the information. When she gets to the amount she stops, confusion on her face.)

Customer: “How did you spell it again?”

Employee #1: “T-W-E-L-V-E.”

Customer: “Oh. I guess you were right…”