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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!

    Smaller Box For Smaller Minded

    | IA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior

    (I am working a Saturday before a holiday and am extremely busy. I have also been at work since 5 am. I am the only teenage guy allowed to run a cash register.)

    Customer #1: *to her cohort* “I f***ing hate this store, and hate these prices.”

    Cohort: “Mhmm.”

    (I finish ringing up everything.)

    Me: “That’ll be $245.15 today, ma’am.”

    Customer #1: “No, I am on [government program providing food to women with kids for the kids' nutritional needs].”

    Me: “Oh, I am sorry. Ma’am, you need to let me know that before, but don’t worry: I can rescan it and make sure it’s all right.”

    Customer #1: “D*** right.” *returns to talking to cohort*

    Me: *to person bagging groceries* “I need to redo this order.”

    Coworker: “Okay.”

    (My coworker unbags the groceries and helps me sort them out. At this point, I begin scanning items through. The computer lets me know if the items count for the program or not. A box of cereal doesn’t count and cannot be rung up for the government program.)

    Me: “Oh, I am sorry, ma’am, this cereal doesn’t count. I believe it has to be the smaller size.”

    Customer #1: “Are you f***ing kidding me? I just bought this same box of cereal with my last check.”

    Cohort: “Yeah, the female cashiers always ring it up right for us.”

    Me: “I am sorry, but the program just changed. You should have received a packet in the mail telling you what is now accepted. Would you like me to have someone get you the size that counts?”

    Customer #1: “Just because you have a penis means you think you can tell me what I can and can’t do! I just want cereal!”

    (Her rants continues for about five more minutes with a large number of customers all staring at us waiting to see what is going to happen.)

    Me: “I am sorry, ma’am. Would you like the smaller size?”

    Cohort: “Fine, go get the other box!”

    (I finish ringing up the lady and tell her to have a nice day, receiving a scowl and a middle finger in return. Customer #2, after standing in line behind during the whole ordeal, pushes her cart up to my stand. I recognize her but am to upset at this point to think twice about it.)

    Customer #2: “Well, that was unpleasant.”

    Me: “A little bit. How are you doing?”

    Customer #2: “Well, I am just fine. I want you to know something, though: you are my favorite cashier and I always come to your line. You have always been nothing but sweet to me and you ring me up quickly. As far as that lady goes, don’t worry; I will make sure she doesn’t bother you again.”

    (She proceeded to offer me a hug which I took. Later my boss came up to me and told me he received two reports about me. The first was a screaming call about the sexist employee. The second was about a ranting and raving customer. My manager banned the rude customer and gave me a raise for biting my tongue through it all.)

    Going From Bad To Warsaw

    | West Sussex, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Language & Words, Top

    (I am half Polish, and fluent in the language, but have lived in England all my life so speak without an accent. Between my degree and my masters, I get a job in a pound shop—everything costs £1—to earn some money. I am on tills and call two young women forward.)

    Me: “Can I help you?”

    (The customer dumps her items on the counter without acknowledging me, and then turns to her friend and speaks in Polish.)

    Customer #1: “Look at this dumb b****! How bad must your life get to work here?!”

    Customer #2: *in Polish* “I know! And she judges us for being Polish! All English people are so racist!”

    Me: *in Polish* “That will be £7, please.”

    Customers #1 & #2: *both turn red and hurry out of the shop*

    Cold Hard Cash(iers)

    | GA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink

    (My mother is a cashier at a popular liquor store. I stop by to drop off her lunch. The credit card machines have shut down and the manager is in the back trying to get them running. The employees have let their customers know they will have to pay cash until then. Some customers leave for another store; most went next door to the bank ATM to get cash. One customer, however, isn’t particularly happy about this.)

    Customer: “So, you’re telling me I have to walk all the way over to the ATM to get cash?”

    (Note: the bank is right next door.)

    Mom: “I’m sorry, sir, but the credit card machine is down for the moment. You can go to the ATM or go to another store.”

    Customer: *scoffs* “Fine.”

    (He leaves the store, and comes back a few minutes later with cash in his hand.)

    Customer: “I had to pay three dollars to get money out of that ATM! I better get a discount!”

    Mom: “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t have that authority.”

    Customer: “I don’t care! I better get one!”

    (He picks up a $50 Scotch and returns to my mom’s register; she rings him up.)

    Customer: “Hey, you didn’t give me my discount!”

    Mom: “Sir, I’m sorry but I can’t give you three dollars off because you made the choice to go to the ATM.”

    Customer: “B****, give me three dollars off!”

    (The store goes absolutely silent, and everyone is watching the exchange.)

    Me: “Don’t talk to my mother that way.”

    Mom: “I’ll tell you what I can do.” *takes scotch and puts it under her stand* “I can refuse to sell this to you.”

    Customer: “I want to see your manager!”

    Mom: “Fine.” *calls manager*

    Manager: *comes over* “What’s the problem?”

    Customer: “Your employee said, and I quote, “I won’t sell you s***!”

    Me: “No, she didn’t!”

    Mom: “Sir, I did not use that language towards you.”

    Customer #2: “I’m a witness, and she didn’t say that.”

    Customer: “I WANT A DISCOUNT!”

    Manager: “Sir, leave. Now.”

    Customer: “Give me my discount!”

    Manager: “If you don’t leave right now I will call the cops.”

    Customer: “Fine, call the cops! I don’t care!”

    (The manager, Customer #2 and I, pull out our cell phones.)

    Customer: “I’m never coming back!” *runs out of the store*

    Me: “What was his problem?”

    Customer #2: “That guy needs to pull up his skirt.” *smiles at my mom* “I’ll keep coming back for the wonderful customer service, and tough-as-nails cashiers!”

    Giving More Than His Two Cents

    | Hamden, CT, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

    (A male customer buys nothing but a water and is checking out with me.)

    Me: “Have a nice day!” *big smile*

    Customer: “You too!”

    (The customer leaves with no issue and is gone for perhaps a minute before he comes storming back in the exit door.)

    Customer: “Did you charge me 5 cents for this water?” *waving receipt in the air*

    Me: “The water itself is two dollars and then we have the deposit fee.”

    (There is a 5-cent deposit on all beverages in my state. Period. You get it back when and if you recycle it at a machine that gives vouchers. It has been this way for as long as I can remember in my 22 years.)

    Customer: “So you charged me 5 cents?!”

    Me: “It’s not an extra five cents, Sir, there’s just a deposit.”

    Customer: “I want my 5 cents back!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, it’s a state law. All beverages have a 5 cent deposit.”

    Customer: “You can’t do that! It’s not displayed. I want my 5 cents back!”

    Me: “Sir, I can’t give you a nickel, I’d be a nickel short in my till.”

    Customer: “You need to give me my 5 cents back! It isn’t on a sign! You have to have a sign about it!”

    Me: *shocked pause* “Let me call my manager… one second.”

    (A new manager approaches and asks what the problem is. As the customer is obviously irate, he takes him back to his office to talk, something you really aren’t meant to do. When their meeting is finished, the customer storms out of the office.)

    Manager: “I should have just given him the five cents. I think we just lost a customer.”

    Me: “…I think we can survive losing that particular customer.”

    Customers Providing Change For A Change

    | Oakville, ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I have seen only one customer all day: a regular contractor who normally goes to another location.)

    Me: “Hey! What do you need?”

    Contractor: “Just a roller sleeve; am I the first you’ve had all day?”

    Coworker: “Well, with the roller you’re buying, so far we’ve made $13.79 today.”

    Contractor: *throws a $50 bill on the counter* “Wow. Use the change to buy some magazines and snacks so you aren’t just sitting here anymore.”

    Me: “Thank you! Oh, wow! You should keep this, but thank you so much. I’m dying of boredom!”

    (Five years later, all I remember about that job was how awful my boss was, and how nice the contractor was every time he came in, no matter what was happening or how long it took to get his paint. He was always wanting the employees to be happy, and whenever he walked in we were.)


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