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  • Getting Owned By The Owner, Part 7
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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!

    Stupidity Can Permeate

    | Brisbane, QLD, Australia | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid

    (I am working a ten-hour shift in a supermarket, and it’s my job to make sure all the checkouts are running smoothly.)

    Customer: “I was just enquiring about my free gift!”

    Me: “Free gift?”

    Customer: “Yeah, there was a sign next to where I picked up the milk, it said ‘something’ free. I want my free gift!”

    Me: “I’m not sure about any promotions with our milk, but let me go to the milk fridge and check for you.”

    (I go down to the milk fridge to check the customers query, and notice the ticket says “Permeate Free”. It is this new change to Australian milk, which now is free of a certain chemical that used to prolong the life of milk. I head back up to the counter.)

    Customer: “About time you came back! WHERE’S MY FREE GIFT!”

    Me: “Uhm, ma’am, the ‘gift’ you were enquiring about was our ‘permeate free’ condition.”

    Customer: “I don’t care; give me my free permeate!”

    Me: “Permeate is an additive of milk, and not a promotion. I can’t give that to you.”

    (The customer doesn’t even acknowledge my response out of embarrassment, and quickly pays for her groceries and flees the store. The next customer has been paying attention to this whole argument.)

    Next Customer: “Can I have my free permeate as well? Haha, only joking. What a knob!”

    A-Meow-Rica

    | Noblesville, IN, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Pets & Animals

    (I am a customer at a pet store purchasing a dog harness. It is actually for my cat, who is too big for a cat harness.)

    Cashier: “What a cute harness! What kind of dog do you have?”

    Me: “It’s for my cat. She’s a Maine Coon.”

    (The customer behind me overhears.)

    Customer: “You can’t buy that! It’s for a dog!”

    Me: “I know, but it will fit my cat.”

    Customer: “That harness is for dogs only! D-O-G-S!”

    Me: “But the cat harnesses are too small. My cat has to wear a dog harness.”

    Customer: “Are you a foreigner or something? Real Americans like dogs!”

    Me: “I am American and I like dogs, but I like cats, too.”

    Customer: “Un-American!” *storms off*

    Call-Waiting Will Keep Her Waiting

    | Orlando, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Top

    (I work in the meat and seafood section of our store. Two customers approach. Customer #1 is a forty-something woman in business attire, who is glued to her cell phone. I engage her first.)

    Me: “Can I help you, ma’am?”

    (Customer #1 holds up her index finger to me in the standard ‘wait’ gesture without making eye contact, and continues talking on her phone without missing a beat. I wait a few seconds to see if she’ll end the call. When she doesn’t, I go over to help Customer #2.)

    Me: “Welcome to [store]. Can I help you?”

    Customer #2: “Yes, I’d like one pound of—”

    Customer #1: “Hey! I’m next in line! You never took my order!”

    Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t think you were ready to order.”

    Customer #1: “Well, I am! Get over here and help me!”

    Me: “I’ll be happy to help you once I’ve finished this lady’s order, ma’am.”

    Customer #1: “I was here before her! You call your manager over here right now!”

    (I call the manager over on the intercom, and go back to filling the Customer #2′s order. After a minute or so, the manager arrives.)

    Manager: “What’s going on here?”

    (I point to Customer #1, who is still on her phone call.)

    Me: “She wants to talk to you.”

    Manager: “Yes, ma’am? What seems to be the problem?”

    Customer #1: *gives him the ‘wait’ finger*

    Manager: “I don’t have time for this.”

    (The manager starts walking away.)

    Customer #1: “Hey, you get back here! This employee was rude to me!”

    Manager: *gives her the ‘wait’ finger without turning around*

    Customer #1: “ARGH! I hate this store!”

    Thru Drive Me Crazy

    | Orange County, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Top

    (I am a customer in line in a drive thru. I only have about five minutes as I am already late to class. I listen to the exchange between the person ahead of me and the cashier.)

    Customer: “Okay, I want a #4, with extra cheese. Last time there wasn’t enough cheese on there. I want a #9 with cabbage instead of lettuce. I want a #2 with no tomatoes. I want a #1 with no cheese. I want 5 orders of fries, and a cookie.”

    (I am thinking to myself how this could possibly take any longer. The customer finally finishes, and I order and pull up to pay.)

    Customer: “So you made sure you took all of my requests right? You people are so stupid sometimes! You really just need to listen to what the customer wants.”

    (At this point, I’m feeling bad for the poor young soul behind the cash register. She looks like she is about 18 years old, and about to cry. Also, I’m getting mad because I’m getting held up. I lean my head out of the window.)

    Me: “You know what? Maybe you should realize that this is a fast food place. Not only that, you are in the drive thru. Customizations require extra work, and sometimes people mess up. Also, this girl didn’t do anything to mess up your order yet, so why are you getting mad at her?”

    Customer: *to the cashier* “I… I… I’m sorry…”

    (The customer takes the food and speeds off. I proceed up to the window. The cashier and about five other associates who have heard the exchange all come over to the window.)

    Cashier: “Thank you so much for sticking up for me. This was my second day on the job, and I only took it because my dad is ill, and can’t support my family.”

    Me: “It’s okay; some people can just be so mean!”

    Manager: “As a special thank you, we’d like to give you your meal for free.”

    Me: “Thanks anyway, but I’d rather you give the money to this young lady here. Keep smiling sweetie, and remember that for every jerk in the world, there is always a compassionate stranger.”

    Saving Souls And Money

    | Buena Park, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Geeks Rule, Theme Of The Month, Top

    ( One late night, a customer comes up dressed in very stereotypical goth attire and makeup.)

    Me: “Okay, sir! Your total comes to [total].”

    Customer: “Look me in the eyes.”

    Me: “Um… okay?”

    (I look the customer directly in the eyes. He starts speaking in a steady voice.)

    Customer: “You will give me a discount.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t just give you a discount.”

    Customer: “Yes, you will. I am a vampire lord, and you are under my mental control.”

    Me: *in the same type of steady voice* “You are a vampire lord, and I am under your mental control.”

    Customer: “Very good. Now give me a discount or I will consume your soul.”

    Me: “But master, as you can clearly see, I am a ginger, and it is common knowledge that gingers have no souls.”

    (The customer stares into my eyes silently for a few seconds, and then breaks eye contact.)

    Customer: “D***, you’re right. It was worth a try.”

    (The customer pays and leaves.)

    Supervisor: “Um…”

    Me: “Yeah?”

    Supervisor: “You’re blond.”

    Me: “Really? THAT’S what you picked up on?”

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