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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!

    Should Have Stayed Clear Of The Bottle

    | UK | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Theme Of The Month, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I work in a little cafe near my friend’s dojo. She often comes by after practice. A shifty looking man enters, approaches the counter, and pulls a knife.)

    Robber: “Empty the f****** till.”

    (I start to do so. I see my friend approaching through the window. It’s a cold day, so she’s wearing a hoody with her judo jacket over the top. I try and get her attention.)

    Robber: “Hurry the f*** up!”

    (I drop some money under the counter in my fear. I bend down to pick it up. The man rests his knife hand on the counter, and leans over to make sure I’m not phoning the police.)

    My Friend: “Everything okay?”

    Me: “Yeah… just… getting this man his change.”

    (My voice is shaking. She can tell something is up. She crosses to the fridge cabinet.)

    My Friend: “Oh, you’ve still got [brand drink]. It comes in a glass bottle! Just what I need after practice!”

    (She comes up behind the man and, without warning, slams the bottle down on the hand holding the knife. She slams hard enough to shatter the bottle. He screams, dropping the knife. He grabs for it with his other hand, but she wraps one arm around his throat and puts the broken bottle to the underside of his chin.)

    My Friend: “Don’t even think about it.”

    (I call the police, and the robber is arrested. My friend is warned about using excessive force, and given a lifetime supply of free drinks by my manager.)

    A Sweet For The Not-So-Sweet Old Lady

    | IN, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids

    (I am a cashier in a grocery store that has a basket of free suckers at each register. They’re supposed to be for kids, but every now and then an adult will ask for one. We usually don’t mind. An elderly customer and her middle-aged daughter come through my checkout lane.)

    Elderly Customer: “Oooh, suckers! Are they free? I want a sucker!”

    Daughter: “No, those are for kids.”

    Elderly Customer: “I. WANT. A. SUCKER!”

    Daughter: “No, mom, they’re for little kids. You’re not a little kid, are you?”

    Elderly Customer: “YES I AM! NOW GET ME A GOD-D*** SUCKER, B****!”

    (I just hand the elderly customer the basket, and back away slowly.)

    Couldn’t String It Together

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

    (A customer is returning a pyjama set that has a drawstring on the pants.)

    Customer: “I need to return these pyjamas. They’re way too small! They must be the smallest size large ever made!”

    Me: “Not a problem, ma’am; did you have a receipt?”

    Customer: “Yes, somewhere in here.”

    (The customer holds up the pyjama bottoms and stretches the waistband as far as it will go, which is not very far since the drawstring is still tied.)

    Customer: “I mean, really! Does this look like a size large to you?”

    Me: “Well, you can untie the string and it should stretch more.”

    (I untie it. She stares, mouth agape, as she stretches the pants to twice their size.)

    Customer: “Oh, wow! Well, I guess that’s all I needed!”

    The Big Country Of Small Talk

    | UK | At The Checkout, Geography, Money

    (I work in a large retail clothing chain in the UK. The chain is actually an American brand, and popular in both countries. I am serving a customer at the till. I am always friendly to my customers, and always make small talk.)

    Me: “Hello, sir, how was your day today?”

    Customer: “Why do you want to know?”

    Me: “I was just asking, sir; you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

    Customer: “Quit the small talk. I don’t care what they tell you to say when I am here.”

    Me: “I am sorry, sir; that comes to [total]. Would you like to pay cash or card, sir?”

    Customer: “What’s with this ‘sir’ bull-s*** your giving me?! You should just stick to your job, and quit the small talk. No one wants to talk to you anyway!”

    (He throws his money on the counter, even though I am holding my hand out. I say nothing, and collect his change. He continues to rant at me.)

    Customer: “This is what is wrong with the world! People are becoming robots, and just saying things and not meaning them! It’s all fake smiles and stupid small talk!”

    Me: “I do not get paid any more or any less for talking to you, sir; I was just being polite. I am sorry if I offended you in any way. Have a nice day.”

    (The customer glares at me. His eyes go wide, and he starts to go red.)

    Customer: “HAVE A NICE DAY?! HAVE A NICE DAY?! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN! WE ARE IN ENGLAND! WE ARE NOT AMERICANISED! THIS IS ENGLAND! I SUPPORT OUR ECONOMY, AND I DEMAND TO BE TREATED LIKE AN ENGLISH PERSON!”

    Me: “Quite right, sir, we are in England as you correctly pointed out. However, you do realise that you have just spent money in this store, which happens to be an American company?”

    (He opens his mouth to retaliate, but he can’t when he realises what I have just said. The line of customers behind him all start laughing at him, as he walks away rather briskly!)

    The Machine Runs On Punch-Lines Of Code

    | PA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink, Technology

    (I am working the self-scans, bagging a customer’s groceries. The customer puts two small plastic containers filled with olives on the belt. The self-scan is programmed not only to mention the price of an item, but also to weigh some items, and let people know if their item should be placed on the belt or not.)

    Self-Scan Machine: “Please take your item to the bagging area.”

    (The customer puts both containers on the belt instead of taking it to the bagging area, and watches as the belt doesn’t move.)

    Self-Scan Machine: “Please take your item to the bagging area.”

    (The customer puts her hand on both containers and instead of picking them up and giving them to me, she pushes them down the belt causing the self-scan to freeze.)

    Self-Scan Machine: “Please stand by. Help is on the way.”

    (The customer turns to me.)

    Customer: “Why do you need to help me?”

    Me: “Because you pushed your olives down the belt. You never have to put these on the belt. Just bring them to me so I can bag them.”

    Customer: “Oh! When the machine told me to bring these items straight down, I actually had to do it? I didn’t have to put them on the belt at all?”

    Me: “No, ma’am.”

    Customer: “I thought this machine was just joking with me.”

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