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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!

    Service With A Smile

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Food & Drink

    (My coworker, who is fairly new, has just finished helping a customer. The customer is approaching the counter again, and we assume for a moment that my coworker has made a mistake.)

    Manager: “Is something wrong?”

    Customer: “Oh, no!”

    (The customer turns to the co-worker.)

    Customer: “Can I just tell you that you did really nicely? You looked at me! You looked me in the eye, and you smiled! You were friendly. There is nothing more impersonal that staring down at the counter making the sandwich, then staring down at the change, and paying so little attention that it could have been a flea walking through that door. So I just wanted to let you know that you did that very nicely. Thank you for that.”

    (I was smiling the whole way home that day! Not a lot of customers go to the trouble of coming back to tell an employee that they’ve done something well, especially something as simple as a smile and eye contact. If that customer happens to be reading this, thank you for making my day! You made my coworker’s day, too!)

    The Real Bread Winner

    | Las Vegas, NV, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Top

    (I’m shopping at a bakery that’s known for making a unique loaf of bread. It usually sells out quickly. Due to the popularity of the item, customers are only allowed one loaf per visit. I’m in the long line when I see there are still some of the special loaves available. By the time I get to the front of the line, I see there’s two left: one for the older woman in front of me, and one for me. There are two cashiers, so I go to the second cashier as the first one helps the older woman.)

    Cashier #2: “Hi! Welcome to [bakery]. Will this be all for you today?”

    Me: “Actually, can I have one of those [special loaves]?”

    Cashier #2: “Oh, sure!”

    Older Woman: “What? She can’t have that! It’s mine!”

    Cashier #1: “Ma’am, you already have one. We can’t allow you to have another one.”

    Older Woman: “It’s not for me! It’s for my daughter!”

    (She then points to the woman standing behind me, who looks equally annoyed.)

    Cashier #2: “We’re sorry, but we can’t hold this for her. This customer asked for it first.”

    Older Woman: “But I was here first! And I’m holding one for my daughter!”

    Cashier #1: “Ma’am, we can’t do that. It’s against store policy.”

    Older Woman: “Well in that case, I want to return everything! I don’t want to shop here if that’s how you treat your customers!”

    (The older woman has purchased a lot of items, and begins to unload her bag onto the counter. At this point, the people in line behind us are getting agitated, and the cashiers are looking distraught. I roll my eyes.)

    Me: “You know what? Just give it to the woman behind me.”

    Cashier #2: “Are you sure?”

    (I nod. The older woman gets a smug look, as she and her daughter leave the bakery with their items.)

    Cashier #2: “We’re so sorry that happened, but thank you!”

    Me: “It’s no problem. It wasn’t worth the drama.”

    (I pay for my original items, and turn to leave when Cashier #1 stops me.)

    Cashier #1: “Hold on a second. We just pulled out a fresh batch from the oven. Would you like one?”

    Me: “Yes, please!”

    (Not only was the bread I had delicious, but it was even fresher than the two the older woman got!)

    Parental Guidance

    | Seattle, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Top

    (I am a cashier at an office supply chain. A man and his teenage son come up to my register. Our PIN pads are very clearly labelled with instructions.)

    Me: “Hello, sir, did you find everything all right?”

    Customer: “Yes, everything was fine.”

    (He runs his card through.)

    Me: “Oh, sorry, the machine makes you wait until the end to slide your card. It’ll be just a second.”

    Customer: “Ah, okay.”

    (The son points to the label on the pad that says ‘PLEASE WAIT FOR GREEN LIGHTS TO SLIDE CARD’.)

    Customer: “…ah.”

    Me: “All right, your total is [price]; you can go ahead and slide now.”

    (He slides his card and puts it back in his wallet.)

    Me: “Oh, I just need to see your card numbers for a second if it’s credit.”

    Customer: “Oh, okay.”

    (He hands over his card. His son points out the label that says ‘FOR CREDIT, PLEASE HAND CARD TO CASHIER’. The customer turns to his son.)

    Customer: “You’re making fun of me for not reading directions, aren’t you?”

    Son: “Kind of.”

    Relationships, Like Hair, Can Be Parted

    | Glen Rock, NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (A woman, her husband, and her sister are checking out on my line.)

    Customer: “Your hair is FABULOUS!”

    Me: “Thanks!”

    Customer: “Can I touch it?”

    Me: “Uh… sure.”

    Customer: “How old are you?”

    Me: “21.”

    Customer: “Are you married?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “We have sons.”

    Me: “Oh, that’s nice, but I have a boyfriend.”

    Customer’s Sister: “…and they have girlfriends.”

    Customer: “I don’t care! Think about the babies they would have! Good hair genes!”

    Me: “Here’s your receipt. Have a good day!”

    Customer: “GOOD HAIR GENES!”

    Needs To Press Paws

    | NC, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal, Pets & Animals, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I am cashier at a pet store. I see a man walk into the store, pick up a large and expensive coffee table book on show dogs, and get in my line. My manager has warned me, and shown me a picture of this man. He tries to convince cashiers to give him a refund for items he has just stolen. I immediately page my manager, who, unbeknownst to me, is tied up with a minor medical emergency in the back of the store.)

    Thief: “I want to return this item.”

    Me: “Do you have a receipt?”

    Thief: “No.”

    Me: “I’m very sorry, sir. Without a receipt, I cannot give you a refund.”

    Thief: “Give me a refund.”

    Me: “Sir, I watched you pick that book up when you came in. I know you did not buy it.”

    Thief: “Give me the f****** money, or I’ll kick your a**.”

    (Most of the customers in my line start backing away.)

    Me: “Sir, I cannot give you any money, and if you leave with that item I will call the police. Please leave the store.”

    Thief: “You little a**-hole!”

    (The thief grabs the front of my shirt, and rears his arm back to punch me. I throw my arms up to shield my face. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a flash of movement. The next thing I see is a spatter of blood on my counter, and the man out cold on the floor with a bloody nose. My manager, with a paramedic from the earlier emergency, walks up.)

    Manager: “What the heck just happened?”

    (As I tell my story, an assistant manager calls the police, opens another line, and checks out the waiting customers. The paramedic starts checking on the man, who has a clearly broken nose. The man slowly regains consciousness, and points to me.)

    Thief: “She assaulted me! I’m going to sue!”

    (I talk to the police.)

    Me: “He grabbed me, but I never hit him. I don’t know how he got hurt!”

    (The man, a known criminal, is handcuffed and put in the police car. The officers and my manager go to review the security cameras. About ten minutes later, I get called to come back to the office.)

    Manager: “You have got to watch this!”

    (The camera footage clearly shows the man getting the book, getting in line, arguing with me, and then grabbing my shirt. At that moment, the customer in line after him, a tiny, middle-aged Asian woman, leaps up, grabs the hair on the back of his head, slams his face into my counter, and then calmly steps back to where she had been standing. She did it so quickly, that we have to run the footage back on slow to see exactly what she had done. After the thief is out cold, she walks over to the new line that the assistant manager opened, buys her bag of cat food with cash, and leaves without a word. Apparently, the other customers either didn’t see what she did, or decided to keep their mouths shut. We have no idea who she is, and we never see her again. The thief was charged with assault on me, and arrested. Wherever you are lady, thanks! You’re my personal super hero!)

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