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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    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!

    Smelly Cat Lady, Smelly Cat Lady, What Are They Feeding You

    | UK | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bizarre, Health & Body

    (It is a Tuesday late night, which everyone dreads, because of the infamous ‘Cat Lady’. She is a very lovely, quiet, but friendly lady but has one of the least pleasant aromas that I have ever experienced.)

    Manager: *to Cat Lady* “Ma’am, I am just about to close. Please, can you go down to [My Name]’s checkout.”

    (Cat Lady nods and smiles, and goes down my checkout. She places her few items on the conveyer belt and I can already start to smell her as she comes up to me.)

    Me: *under my breath* “Oh my god, [Manager]. I can’t believe you did that!”

    Manager: “Just wait, okay?”

    (Cat Lady is about to reach me. Just as she does, my manager grabs a pot of fresh basil that had been left earlier that day and thrusts it into my face.)

    Manager: “[My Name], smell this basil! It’s such a nice smell!

    Cat Lady: “Wow, it’s so nice that you all appreciate the produce here!”

    Going All Godzilla On You

    | Boston, MA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink

    (Two Caucasian customers, wearing sweatshirts from a local university, walk in to our Chinese restaurant.)

    Me: “Welcome to [Name] Chinese restaurant. What can I get for you?”

    Customer #1: “I’m here to pick up an order for [Name].”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but you asked for delivery when you placed the order. The food left for [address] 15 minutes ago.”

    Customer #1: “Ouch. Can you have the driver come back?”

    Me: “The driver has two other deliveries, so it will be another half an hour.”

    Customer #1: “I don’t want to wait that long. Tell the driver to give it to one of the homeless people near [University].”

    (At this point, Customer #2, who has been silent the whole time, starts screaming.)

    Customer #2: *to Customer #1* “Yo, man. I want my food. Make this a**-hole give me some food!” *to me* “Jap b****, give me my godd*** food. Didn’t the A-bomb teach you b******s some respect?”

    (Customer #2 then makes a number of additional ethnic slurs against the Japanese.)

    Bystander: “Hi, there. I’m sorry to interrupt your tantrum, but I’ve had enough of it and I’d like for you to leave.”

    Customer #1: “I’m sorry. I have no idea what’s gotten into him.”

    Customer #2: “I’m not leaving without my food. You can’t make me leave. You’re not the manager!”

    Bystander: “You’re right. I can’t make you leave the restaurant. I can, however, make you leave [University], being that I’m the provost.”

    (Customer #2 goes pale and bolts out of the restaurant!)

    Wiggled Out Of That One

    | West Chester, PA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (I am the stupid customer in this one. I have just bought a wig from a friend for a costume I am working on and am wearing it to break it in and get used to the feel. I am also wearing contacts, but keep my glasses in my pocket in case the contacts begin to irritate me. I go to a local corner store for a pack of cigarettes.)

    Cashier: “May I see your ID?”

    Me: (*gives ID*)

    Cashier: “…um. Sir, this isn’t you.”

    Me: “What do you mean it’s– Oh, s***. One moment.”

    (I remove the wig and put on my glasses.)

    Me: “Better?”

    Cashier: (*confused*) “I, um… Sure, that’s a match.”

    Time Waits For No Chinaman

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Math & Science, Time

    (An older customer approaches my cash register.)

    Customer: “Did you know that all the reality TV shows you watch today are 35 years old?”

    (I look up to see if he was joking as some people with odd senses of humor come in my store. He isn’t.)

    Customer: “Yeah! Five years ago I created a virus that turned all the TV transponder clocks back 50 years to 2008. At my old house, I received a TV station from China that was all in English and they said that the year was 2100. If you believe that the year is actually 2014 you are sadly mistaken.”

    (I am still speechless. I don’t know if I should mention the inconsistencies in the time that it actually is or is not, so I just ring up his purchases. After the customer leaves, the next customer approaches.)

    Next Customer: “It is kind of a scary thought that that man is allowed to operate a motor vehicle!”

    Me: “Yeah. I figured I shouldn’t tell him that I have actually lived in China and we pretty much agree on what year it is.”

    (The man’s purchases: two Neil Diamond cassette tapes easily over 30 years old. Maybe he was stocking up for the next time he releases the virus again!)

    Funny Money

    , | LA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink, Money

    (I am working in the drive thru lane. A car with two women in it pulls up. Both look strung out, like they are on drugs.)

    Me: “That’ll be [total].”

    (The driver doesn’t say anything to me but pulls a bill out of her wallet, smells it carefully, then nods to herself.)

    Customer: “Okay. This one’s good.”

    (She hands me the money and I try not to be too obvious that I’m very gingerly handling it. I washed my hands after they left, just in case!)

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