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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!

    Pre-pay Or The Highway

    | Independence, MO, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Wild & Unruly

    (I have just sold a prepaid cell phone to a customer.)

    Me: “Okay, sir. Your payment has gone through, and your next payment is due in 90 days.”

    Customer: “What? You’ve got to be kidding me! You mean I have to pay every 90 days or they shut me off?”

    Me: “Yes, sir. That’s how the prepaid plan works. You have to put at least $20.00 on your account every 90 days to keep your service on.”

    Customer: “In that case I don’t want it anymore! You take the phone and just give me my money back! I’ve had this phone for years and never had to do this!”

    Me: “I am sorry, sir, but we just accept payments for the parent company. Once the payment is sent, you have to talk to them to try and get a refund. There is nothing I can do for you.”

    (This goes on for about ten minutes, just going in circles with him. By this time I have five new customers in the store. Two of the new customers are a pair of very large Samoan brothers who happen to be regulars. Just then, the customer throws his cell phone at me.)

    Customer: “You take this d*** thing back! I don’t want it anymore!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I cannot keep your phone. It’s yours and you need to take it with you.”

    Customer: “You are s***! Your store is s***! This phone is s***! I will bury you! I will sue you all until all of you don’t even have a cardboard box to live in! I will hunt down your family’s and make you all pay! And f*** this d*** phone!”

    (He throws his phone onto the floor, shattering it into pieces.)

    Customer: “I’m going to wait outside until your shift is over, and you’ll get what’s coming to you!”

    (As he says all this, he hasn’t noticed the Samoan brothers who have been behind him in the back of the store. One of the brothers finally walks up and taps the irate customer on the shoulder.)

    Samoan #1: “Hey little man, I think it’s time to go.”

    Customer: “Who the h*** do you think you are talking—”

    (He turns as he’s talking to see the brothers, who are about two feet taller and three feet wider than he is. He turns the palest color I have ever seen a human being become.)

    Samoan #2: “As my bro said, time to go!”

    Customer: “But they are trying to rip me off! Trying to rob me! This is all BS! I am not going anywhere!”

    Samoan #1: “You walk out, or we toss you out. Your choice.”

    Customer: “I won’t leave until this p**** gives me my money!”

    (They each grab an arm, lift him three feet off the ground, and toss him backwards out of the doors. The rest of the customers then begin to clap and cheer for them. I make sure that anytime they come in after that, they get the full employee discount on everything they bought.)

    License To Bill

    | Wisconsin Dells, WI, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Extra Stupid

    (I work in the arcade at luxurious resort. Resort guests can use their room key to get a game card to play the arcade games.)

    Customer: “Hi, can I get three cards with $50 on each for my family? And here’s my room key; charge it to the room!”

    Me: “Sure, I’ll get that for you right away!”

    (I give them the cards and the family walks away excited, when five minutes later…)

    Customer: “What the h*** is this!? This d*** card isn’t working; I didn’t pay all this money for a card that doesn’t work!”

    (She rants for a few more minutes and then throws the card at my face. I pick it up to show it to her.)

    Me: “Ma’am, this is your driver’s license, not the game card.”

    Customer: *turns really red, takes the card, and walks away sheepishly*

    To Give Credit Where Debit Is Due, Part 3

    | NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Extra Stupid

    (Our card readers are different from a lot of other stores. If you swipe a debit card, it asks for a pin number. To use it as credit, the cashier has to push a button on the register. Pushing ‘cancel’ does not change it to credit; it cancels the card, and the customer has to swipe it again. A customer approaches my register with a nearly-full cart.)

    Me: “Hello! Did you find everything okay?”

    (The customer ignores me, and starts putting items on the counter. I start to scan and bag as usual. However the customer does not remove the bags, and instead continues unloading her cart. Eventually, I have scanned and bagged everything; however all the bags are still sitting on the counter.)

    Me: “Your total is—”

    (The customer tries to swipe their debit card, cannot do so as the bags are blocking the card reader. Rather than place the bags in the empty cart, she shoves them out of the way, sending two bags to the floor and knocking over a third. After sighing loudly, she puts the bags back on the counter, swipes their card and pushes ‘cancel’ when it asks for a pin.)

    Me: “Did you want that as credit?”

    Customer: *annoyed* “Yes!”

    Me: “Could you swipe your card again, please?”

    (The customer grumbles, swipes the card, and immediately pushes cancel again.)

    Me: “Could you swipe your card again and not push ‘cancel’ this time, please?”

    Customer: “Your stupid card reader isn’t working!”

    Me: “Ma’am, pressing ‘cancel’ does not switch it to credit. Swipe your card again and don’t push ‘cancel’.”

    (She swipes her card, and pushes ‘cancel’.)

    Me: “Sorry, it’s not reading your card. Could you swipe it one more time please?”

    (This time, I’m mashing the ‘credit’ button on the register. Fortunately, I manage to get it to switch before the customer hits ‘cancel’ yet again.)

    Customer: *sees that it switched to credit* “Why didn’t pushing ‘cancel’ work before?”

    Me: “I have no idea.” *completes transaction* “Have a nice day.”

    (At this point, the customer finally takes the bags off the counter and puts them in their cart. After they exit, I call my manager over, who witnessed part of the exchange.)

    Me: “Can I go on break?”

    Manager: “Yep. Take a few extra minutes if you need to.”

    Related:
    To Give Credit Where Debit Is Due, Part 2

    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*

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