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!

Just Checking

| OH, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

(An older customer comes through my line. She is paying with a check, and the register tells me to check her ID.)

Me: “May I please see your ID?”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t have one.”

Me: “…you don’t have an ID?”

Customer: “Well, I have a driver’s license. Is that an ID?”

Sticking It Out

| MA, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Liars & Scammers

(It is the late 1990s. I’m a cashier for a major home improvement store. We have been taught how to spot the various tricks people might use to try to pay less for merchandise than the actual prices. One night, an assistant manager came up to me about 10 minutes before closing time, as I was the only register open.)

Manager: “Keep your eyes open. We’ve got a customer who’s up to no good.”

Me: “You think he’s trying to make a grab?”

Manager: “Yeah, and he’s not exactly being subtle about it. I’ve been watching him roaming the aisles. Just be on your toes.”

(A few minutes later, said customer approaches the registers. I call him over.)

Me: “Evening, sir.”

Customer: “Hi. Just this, please.”

(He hands me a utility lamp that I scan. Just by looking at my monitor I can tell what he’s up to.)

Me: “Wait. That can’t be right.”

Customer: “No. It says $4.99, then that’s the price!”

(The price is one thing, but the monitor shows that I’ve scanned in a $4.99 house plant from the garden area.)

Me: “Sir, you’re buying a lamp, not a plant.”

(A quick inspection confirms what I suspected, that he’s taken the UPC sticker off a lower priced item and covered the lamp’s UPC with it. His mistake was what he took the sticker from. I peel the sticker off and re-scan the lamp, showing the correct $24.95 price.)

Customer: “No. You’ve got to let me have it for the other price you scanned in!”

(During training, we were also told never to confront or accuse a suspected shoplifter, to leave that to a manager.)

Me: “Sir, even though the wrong bar code wound up on this by some error, I have to charge you the right price for the right item.”

Customer: *sighs* “Fine. I’ve got to go check something out. Be right back.”

Me: “Okay, but we close in a few minutes.”

Customer: “Yeah, fine. I’ll put this back….”

(The whole time, I’ve had my hand on the lamp in case he tries to take it and run.)

Me: “No, sir. That’s okay. I’ll take care of it.”

(The customer goes back into the aisle. The assistant manager has been nearby watching the whole thing, and follows him, but passes by me first.)

Manager: “Nice catch. I’ll make sure your supervisor hears about this one.”

(Less than two minutes later, he’s ushering the customer to the exit.)

Customer: “Man, I didn’t do anything!”

Manager: “Yeah, ’cause I have a cashier who knows what he’s doing!”

Signed His Own Fate

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

(We had a bad storm the night before that disconnected our store’s internet which is used for the credit cards. We have signs posted on the doors and on the registers that we cannot accept credit or debit cards. We can accept only cash or checks.)

Me: “Hello. Is this for here or to go?”

Customer: “For here. I’d like to use these coupons.”

Me: “Okay.”

(I ring up his order which comes to around $35 even with the coupons. He hands me a debit card.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. We cannot accept cards at the moment.”

Customer: “Well. I guess I’ll have to go elsewhere.”

Me: “Okay, sir. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Customer: “Y’all need to have signs up for that.”

Me: “You walked past two when you walked in, sir, and there’s one right there in your face.”

Customer: *shamefully walks out*

Mom Is Breaking Bad Habits

| Australia | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Family & Kids, Health & Body

(I am serving a customer who is purchasing over $600 worth of clothing and accessories for her son’s upcoming 21st birthday, as well as making an exchange on his behalf.)

Me: “Okay. Was there anything else before I process the exchange?”

Customer: “No. Here you go!”

(She hands me the bag with the original item. As I remove it from the bag, an obviously used meth pipe falls onto the counter.)

Me: *in disbelief* “Um…”

Customer: “Oh, my God! What is that?”

Me: “Um, it’s a pipe…”

Customer: “A pipe? Like a smoking pipe? What is it for?”

Me: *I pause, unsure of how to break it to her*

Customer: “Is it for marijuana?!”

(By now she is already visibly flustered, looking incredibly angry, and, most of all, mortified. I decide not to tell her what it really is, in fear of her having a heart attack in front of me.)

Me: “Yeah. It’s for marijuana.”

Customer: “I’m going to kill him! What else is he doing? Oh, my God. I’m so embarrassed!”

Me: “He’s obviously got a lot of explaining to do?”

Customer: “I’ll have to confront him about this. Who knows if he’ll be getting anything at all for his birthday?!”

(To my surprise, she actually still purchased everything. I do wonder if her son confessed to what he was actually smoking!)

Putting The Situation On To A Knife-Edge

| Canada | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Top, Wild & Unruly

(I am a customer at a party store, picking up a Halloween costume. The store sells not only costumes, but also toys, props, things for pranks, etc. As I’m getting ready to leave, a gruff-looking customer enters and marches up to the counter.)

Customer: *pulls out a gun and aims it at the cashier* “Give me all the money or I’ll blow your f****** head off!”

(Frightened, the cashier starts doing as told, while the other customers are shocked and unmoving. I recognize the gun as not real, but sadly the cashier does not. The customer isn’t paying attention to me. I sneak over to a shelf, pick up a certain item, and quietly remove it from its packaging while he keeps yelling. Eventually, I sneak up behind him.)

Customer: “Hurry the f*** up! I don’t have all f****** d—”

(I suddenly shove the stage knife I have unpackaged against his throat from behind.)

Me: “Drop the gun or I swear to god I will slit your throat right here and now!”

(Shaking, the man slowly puts the gun on the counter. I grab it with my free hand, just in case. The cashier calls the police, and when they arrive, she explains what happened to them. They arrest the man.)

Me: “Hey. Before you take him away can I show him something?”

Officer: “I don’t see why not.”

(I hold up the fake knife, turn it, and plunge it into my stomach. The fake blade retracts into the handle and does nothing to me. I show him the knife again, and his eyes widen.)

Me: *in a singsong tone* “Plastic!”

(The customer was taken away looking both embarrassed and ticked off. The cashier let me keep the fake knife and gave me a discount on the costume I had come in to purchase. All in all, a good day!)

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