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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!

    Murray’s Law

    | Sydney, Australia | At The Checkout, Top

    (I work at a complaints and returns desk. We generally get a few unreasonable and abusive customers each day, so we’ve developed a very effective tactic for dealing with them.)

    Me: “Hello, how can I help you today?”

    Customer: “You guys are idiots!”

    Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?”

    Customer: “Look at this receipt! Look at it!”

    (He holds up a receipt for a purchase; it looks normal enough.)

    Me: “Is there a problem with it?”

    Customer: “God, you’re so dumb! Look how faint the ink is! I can barely read it! You want me to go blind?!”

    Me: “Ah, well, it looks like the printer’s ink was running a little low, and it can look faded because of that. Would you like me to reprint it so you can read it?”

    Customer: “NO! Then you’ll just get away with it! Stupid idiots!”

    (The customer starts getting worked up and begins a rant full of swear words and physical threats. I realise what the situation calls for.)

    Me: “I am terribly, terribly sorry sir. That looks like Murray did it. What an idiot!”

    (This stops the customer’s rant in his tracks and looks at me, breathless.)

    Customer: “…Murray?”

    Me: “Yes, Murray! He’s always causing problems for customers like you. It’s really unfair. I’ll deal with it right now.” *calling out* “Murray? Come here!”

    (As per protocol, the nearest male coworker who isn’t busy comes over to play the role of Murray.)

    Male Coworker: “Yes?”

    Me: “How dare you upset this customer! You’re fired! Get out!”

    Male Coworker: *acts dejected* “I’m so sorry…”

    (“Murray” shuffles off looking like he’s about to cry, and once out of sight gets right back to work.)

    Me: “There we are, sir. You don’t have to worry about that sort of thing happening ever again. The customer always comes first, and we take complaints very seriously. Have a nice day!”

    Customer: “Wow, you guys are really great! Thanks, and good riddance to that idiot Murray!” *leaves*

    (This isn’t simply to avoid confrontation; our manager estimates that using the “Murray” tactic to placate customers like this saves us nearly an hour of verbal abuse each day, so we have more time to actually help the customers who need it.)

    Deluded About Rude

    | Arkansas, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (I’ve just made a food order that costs less than $10. The customer pays with a $50 bill.)

    Customer: “I’m so sorry. This is so rude.”

    Me: *laughing politely* “Don’t worry about it, sir. It’s not rude at all. I’ve had people order a sandwich for $6.50 and pay with a $100 bill. That’s rude.”

    Customer: “That is rude. That’s VERY rude. But this is rude as well!”

    Me: “Well, I don’t think it’s rude, sir.”

    (I give him his change and order number.)

    Customer: “Um, where do I get my drink?”

    (This is a very common question, as our drinks are self-serve.)

    Me: “Your cup is in that blue rack next to the Coke machine.”

    Customer: *to a random customer as he walks away* “You see? I’m so stupid I couldn’t even figure out where the cups are!”

    Brevity Is The Soul Of Hightailing It

    | London, England, UK | At The Checkout

    (We have briefs in packets; they normally cost a pack of 3 for £5. On this day, a customer comes with 6 packs.)

    Me: “That’s £30 please, Sir.”

    Customer: “What? No, they are 3 packs for £5! That sign says so.” *points at the sign, which says ’3 pairs for £5′*

    Me: “Oh! No, Sir, I’m afraid that’s not the case. The sign is referring to the number of briefs in each pack. They are still £5 each.”

    Customer: “No, that’s not right! You’re trying to screw me over, you little c***!”

    Me: *shocked* “No, Sir, I’m not. If you wish, I can get my manager and he can explain it to you.”

    Customer: “You better f***ing do that, b****! I’ll give him a piece of my d*** mind.”

    (I ring the bell to call my manager. He has already heard the shouting, and comes quickly. He is a 6′ 5” man who looks more like he belongs in wrestling gear than in a suit.)

    Manager: “Is there a problem here?”

    Customer: “Yes! There bloody well…” *he goes pale as he takes in my manager, and immediately goes all meek* “er… this girl is trying to… to dupe me.”

    Manager: “No, she isn’t. Now, I suggest you pay for your purchases, apologise to my colleague for what you called her, and then leave.”

    Customer: *gives me his card and mumbles* “Sorry.”

    (I’ve never seen someone leave the store so fast.)

    Beyond Help

    | Brooklyn, NY, USA | At The Checkout

    (I’m at the pharmacy picking up some toothpaste, and I overhear two women standing behind on line.)

    Customer #1: “Uh God, this is so slow.”

    Customer #2: “I know, and I hate these self check-out things. I wish they would have a cashier, a real cashier, just one, for those of us who don’t want to use these things.”

    Me: “Ma’am. They do a have a cashier. She’s right over there. See those people?”

    (I point to the side of the store where a cashier is checking out customers.)

    Customer #2: “I don’t want to walk way over there!”

    Semper Bye Bye

    | Indiana, USA | At The Checkout, Military, Rude & Risque, Top

    (I’m checking out a sleazy looking customer. He’s buying a gallon of milk. To not waste bags, we’re supposed to ask if people want their milk in a bag or if they’ll just carry it as is.)

    Me: “You want your milk in a bag?”

    Sleazy Customer: “Heh, heh. No, but I’ll take the milk in your bags. You got a boyfriend, sweetheart?”

    Me: “Oh yeah. He works here. One minute…” *over the intercom* “Greg to the front please, Greg.”

    (Greg isn’t my boyfriend, but Greg is one of our stock persons. Greg is about 6 feet tall and has been training for the Marines, so he’s completely ripped.)

    Sleazy Customer: *staring at my chest* “I bet he’s a real pansy. I could be a big man for you, sweetheart.”

    (I quietly take the customer’s money and give him back his change. Greg shows up to the front.)

    Greg: *to me* “What do you need?”

    Me: “Hey baby, this guy wanted to meet my boyfriend. He keeps talking about my…milk bags?”

    (The customer stares bug-eyed at Greg. Greg, for his part, doesn’t even miss a beat. He just leans toward the customer.)

    Greg: “Sir, the last man who sexually harassed my girl? I ripped him apart with my bare hands.”

    Sleazy Customer: *turns and runs out of the store*

    Me: *to the sleazy customer* “YOU FORGOT YOUR JUG OF MILK!”


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