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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!

    Her Son Is The Eggs-pert

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

    (An elderly lady comes in, whom we all call ‘Egg Lady’. She always complains about how we bag her eggs. We used to bag them in a single bag for her. As that’s wasteful, we tried putting bread on top of the eggs, but she complained that the bread cracks the eggs. It’s gotten bad enough that the manager now makes a point of ringing her up, bagging her stuff, and carrying her bags outside. She comes in the day after Thanksgiving to buy 10 cartons of eggs, and comes to my register.)

    Me: “Oh, Mrs. [Name], let me call the manager.”

    (I call him over to register, and then make some small talk.)

    Me: “How was your Thanksgiving?”

    Egg Lady: “It was nice this time. My family came in, and my son bought me four cartons of eggs. I don’t know how he does it, but he must buy some of those government eggs.”

    Me: “Government eggs?”

    (The manager has come over, and is checking her out. I move to his register to log on, and check out others. The manager takes care to place the cartons one on top of the other, but is called off by another associate. Egg Lady notices I have no customers.)

    Egg Lady: “I don’t have time to wait. My son and his family are expecting breakfast. You can help me load these in the car.”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

    (I turn off my light and go to help her.)

    Egg Lady: “Yep, my son told me how he got these eggs from the government. They are genetically mutating chickens to make stronger egg shells now with all these vitamins inside of them. Only problem is that sometimes the eggs are coming out green.”

    (I just smile and nod as I start to put the egg cartons in her trunk with care.)

    Me: “It’s interesting what they’ll come out with nowadays.”

    Egg Lady: “I might buy some of those government eggs next time. I hear you can smash them against the wall and they won’t break.”

    Me: “I wonder how you crack them open, then.”

    (She suddenly glares at me, and yanks the last bag out of my hand.)

    Egg Lady: “How dare you laugh at me! I’m going to report you to your manager! My son told me that he had government eggs, and you’re going to mock me. If I were your mother, I’d spank your behind!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am; I wasn’t meaning to laugh at you. I was just thinking out loud.”

    Egg Lady: “I’m going to tell my son about you, so he can prove to you that there are government eggs.”

    (She throws the last carton in, and slams the trunk. This knocks over a small crate she has in there. I hear the crunch of it hitting the eggs. The manager comes outside just as she’s peeling off in a huff.)

    Manager: “She’s coming back tomorrow, isn’t she?”

    Me: “Yep. I’m calling in sick tomorrow, so I don’t have to watch her crack all of our eggs to find the government ones.”

    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!”

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