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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!

    A Smoking Debate

    | IN, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Underaged

    (We card everyone who looks under 40 for cigarettes and alcohol. A customer comes up, who looks to be about mid-20s.)

    Me: “Hi ma’am! How can I help you today?”

    Customer: “I need a pack of [brand].”

    (I grab the cigarettes, and keep them next to me on the counter.)

    Me: “Alright, I need to see your ID, please.”

    Customer: “What the f***?! Just give me the d*** cigarettes. I’m over 18.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I can’t sell you them without seeing your ID.”

    Customer: “Just give me the cigarettes. I’m in a hurry.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am; I can lose my job or worse if I don’t ID you. Please… we can get through this much quicker if you give me your ID.”

    Customer: “F*** you, you b****! I want my cigarettes! I come in here all the time and have never been carded before! I demand to speak your manager!”

    (I call my manager up to the front. He’s not much older than I am, and Hispanic.)

    Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

    Customer: “This stupid b****, who probably isn’t even old enough to sell cigarettes, won’t give me mine!”

    Manager: *to me* “What does she mean?”

    Me: “I asked for her ID since she looks under 40, and she refused. So, I tried to tell her—”

    Customer: “You lying b****! You never asked for my ID!”

    Me: “I asked for it several times, ma’am.”

    Customer: “I want my cigarettes for free!”

    Manager: “I can’t do that ma’am, and I’m almost positive she asked for your ID.”

    Customer: “F*** you, you f***ing immigrant! I come in here all the time!”

    (She continues like this for a while. My manager and I are both completely stunned.)

    Manager: “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

    Customer: “You can’t make me!”

    (She starts screaming and shaking the register. Panicked, I call the police. While waiting for them she starts to go around the store knocking things off shelves. As soon as the sirens are in the distance, she runs out of the store. Thankfully after my manager and I deal with the police report, he gave paid vacation time.)

    Paging Insecurity

    | Oakland County, MI, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Theme Of The Month

    (I am a customer in this pharmacy store late at night. As I walk up to the counter, a male customer is loudly complaining to a male cashier about ‘the gays.’ Being a lesbian, I’m gathering up the courage to say something when the following happens.)

    Male Customer: “The gays keep trying to turn everyone!”

    Male Cashier: “It must be rough.”

    Male Customer: “How do you mean?”

    Male Cashier: “I have a handful of gay friends, and no matter how much time I’ve spent with them, I’ve never wanted to have sex with other dudes. I’m just saying it must be rough to have such a tenuous hold on your sexuality that you’re always worried about being turned by the slightest contact. I feel for you.”

    (It takes a moment, but the male customer realizes what the male cashier is saying.)

    Male Customer: “…Hey, f*** you, buddy!”

    Male Cashier: “You want to f*** me? Oh god, it’s happening now! There must be a gay in the store! Run!”

    Customer: *screaming* “Go to h***!”

    (The customer then runs out of the store. As I put my stuff up on the counter, the manager runs up from one of the aisles.)

    Manager: “What the h*** was that?”

    Cashier: “Oh, I’m probably just getting a customer complaint in the morning. Totally worth it… I’ll explain later.” *to me* “Sorry about all that. How are you tonight?”

    Me: “If I was straight, I would totally be giving you my number right now.”

    Her Manners Are Phone-y

    | Tampa, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Top

    (I work at a very busy supermarket and sometimes we don’t have enough baggers to keep up with all of the registers and help people out to their cars. I have a long line and the customer is talking very loudly on her phone at my register. I don’t have a bagger.)

    Me: “Hello! How are you today? Will plastic be alright?”

    (The customer continues talking on her phone, completely ignoring me.)

    Me: *a little louder* “Ma’am, will plastic be okay with you today?”

    (She continues to ignore me. So, I start ringing through her large order and then proceed to bag it all in plastic, which is my usual default in situations like this. After everything is bagged…)

    Me: “Okay ma’am, your total comes to $193.55. Do you have any coupons today?”

    Customer: *to her phone* “Hold on a second.” *to me* “Didn’t your mama ever tell you that it is rude to talk to people when they’re on the phone?! Honestly! I swear you people don’t have any manners anymore! Oh, and I wanted everything in paper. Double bagged and pack it all light!”

    (She then turns back to her phone and continues talking to her friend, complaining how rude I was and how slow I am moving. However, Customer #2, who is behind her in line, is a regular of mine. She winks at me and then speaks up loudly.)

    Customer #2: “Honestly! The manners of some people. I mean didn’t her mama ever teach her to get off the phone while in line at the grocery store?” *turns to Customer #1* “And if you have a problem with how she bagged your stuff then you need to answer the sweet young lady when she was talking to you. At least when she finishes putting herself through college she will have the experience to put up with b****** like yourself as she moves to the top of a company.”

    (Customer #1 gets completely enraged and starts screaming how she will complain on me and will get me fired. She then grabs her groceries, still mostly in plastic and storms out of the store.)

    Customer #2: “If she calls and complains you let me know, darling. I’ll set the story straight. You keep up the good work!”

    Stuffed Candy Meets Sweet Justice

    | Kearney, NE, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

    (I’m checking out a couple with a lot of groceries and other items. The wife is unloading the cart on to the belt while the husband has come down to the end of the belt and starts chatting with me.)

    Me: “Oh, the weather’s been lovely for—”

    (I stop mid-sentence when I notice the wife stuffing assorted items into the candy, trying to hide them.)

    Me: “Ma’am, you can give those items to me and I’ll take care of them.”

    (She gives me a blank stare.)

    Me: “The items you don’t want? It’s no trouble; I’ll just take them.”

    Wife: *holds her hands up and shrugs* “What are you talking about?”

    Husband: “Oh, just take the items out of the candy and hand them to her.”

    (The wife retrieves the items and hands them to me, mumbling.)

    Wife: “You weren’t supposed to be watching…”

    (She goes back to unloading the cart but is visibly pouting. The husband just gives his wife a puzzled look and apologizes to me. Thankfully she didn’t have any other unwanted merchandise!)

    Branding Is All Smoke & Mirrors

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior

    (The Australian government has recently made it law that all cigarette packages must be plain with no branding or colouring. A lot of people are angry over this and are taking it out on the cashiers.)

    Customer #1: “…and can I get a pack of [brand cigarettes]?”

    Employee: “Sure!”

    (The employee fetches them and leaves them on the counter while she finishes ringing up the customer’s other items.)

    Customer #1: “Hey! I said that I wanted [brand]. What’s this s***?!”

    Employee: “That is [brand]; it’s just a different package.”

    Customer #1: “Don’t you lie to me, you b****!”

    (He then grabs them from the counter and hurls them at her, but they bounce off her and land on the ground. She calmly bends down to pick them up.)

    Me: *to Customer #1* “Hey! What the h***, man?”

    Employee: *turns to me* “It’s okay.” *turns to Customer #1* “Sir, can I show you something?”

    (She gestures for the customer to look at the cigarettes.)

    Employee: “This writing right here says [brand] Optimums, see? And this number right here says 25. So, this is [brand] Optimums 25s, which is what you asked for. Have a nice evening.”

    (He storms out, and the next customer steps up. He’s been fiddling with his basket and looking impatient while the employee was dealing with the first customer.)

    Customer #2: *quietly* “You’re doing a very good job dealing with jerks like that. I’ve never seen such patience and poise in a young woman such as yourself; they are very admirable qualities to have.”

    Employee: *near tears* “Thank you.”

    Customer #2: “Don’t let vicious people get you down. You’re just trying to do your job.”

    (The manager, who had just returned from dealing with Customer #1 outside, overheard this gave Customer #2 his groceries for free for being a decent person!)


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