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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!

    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!)

    Loonie Over A Toonie, Part 2

    | Victoria, BC, Canada | At The Checkout, Canada, Money, Tourists/Travel

    Me: “Alright, that’ll be $26.17, please.”

    Customer: “Do you accept American money here?”

    Me: “We sure do. And, just so you know, the exchange rate right now is even at 1.00.”

    (I finish counting out the change and hand it to the customer along with her receipt.)

    Me: “Your change is $23.83. Enjoy the rest of the day!”

    (She stands beside my till looking confusedly at her hand for a few seconds.)

    Me: “Is there something else I can help you with?”

    Customer: “What is this?!”

    Me: “That’s your change, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Why would I want this?! Why don’t I get American change back? I’m an American!”

    Me: “Unfortunately, ma’am, you are in Canada. We don’t carry American change on the tills.”

    Customer: *hesitantly* “But Canada is practically a part of the States, isn’t it?”

    Me: “No, ma’am, it’s not. If you have any more questions, my supervisor at the service desk will be happy to help. You have a nice day.”

    (She moves off to the end of my till, slowly puts away the money, and wanders off.)

    Next Customer: *jokingly* “That definitely made my day. Do you get those types here often?”

    Me: “You have no idea.”

    They Crossed A Line

    | OH, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Theme Of The Month

    (It is Black Friday. I am waiting with my friend in a queue that wraps all the way around the store. After 45 minutes, we are almost to the front. A nearby rack catches my eye, and since I’m not purchasing anything, I step out of line. My friend and the customer in front of her watch me hold a sweater up.)

    Me: *to my friend* “Hey, do you think this sweater’s cute? It’s the last one!”

    My Friend: “Definitely. I’ll hold your purse while you try it on!”

    (I step away to remove my purse. Suddenly, the customer who’s been watching me dashes over, rips the sweater from my hands, and tries to duck right back into line!)

    Customer: “Haha, sorry! Guess you weren’t fast enough!”

    My Friend: “Are you kidding me? I’m not going to fight you for that sweater, but there’s no way you’re cutting back in front of me.”

    Customer: “Whatever. I didn’t even leave the line.”

    (A nearby employee, who has seen the entire exchange, speaks up before I can say another word.)

    Employee: *to the customer* “Ma’am, I just saw you step out of line. You need to go to the back of the queue.”

    Customer: “No way! I’ve been waiting forever! It’ll take me another hour to check out!”

    Employee: “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t let you buy anything from us at all!”

    (The customer stomps all the way to the back of the store.)

    My Friend and I: *to the customer* “Haha, sorry! Guess you just weren’t quick enough!”

    Get The Independent Jeans

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

    (A young girl drives a cart load of her younger sister and some clothing to my register. I always hate to begin checking children out without their parents present. This girl appears to be about seven years old, and the younger sister is three. The seven year old begins to grab items out of the buggy when she realizes that her sister is stepping on some of her items. She begins fussing at her sister as if she is her mother.)

    Seven year old: *to her sister* “I done told you not to be standing on my stuff. Get out of this buggy, little girl!”

    Me: “Let’s wait to check you out until mom is ready okay, sweetie?”

    Seven year old: “She’s ready!” *yells to her mother, who is still shopping* “Let’s go!”

    Mom: “Okay, I’m ready!”

    (I begin scanning her items and come upon a pair of jeans that is on sale.)

    Me: *to the mom* “This pair of jeans is part of our ‘Buy One, Get One’ offer. If you’re interested in a second pair, it’ll only cost you a dollar extra.”

    Mom: “Well honey, go grab another pair real quick!”

    Seven year old: “Ugh, you go do it!” *throws the pair of jeans at her mother*

    Mom: “Okay, what kind do you want? Something similar or a diff—”

    Seven year old: “Oh, forget it! I’ll do it because you will take forever!”

    (She snatches the jeans from her mother and storms off, as dramatically as only a child can manage.)

    Me: “How old is she?”

    Mom: “Oh, she’s seven. She’s just so independent. She’s something else isn’t she?”

    Me: “Absolutely, ma’am!”

    Training Draining

    , | Australia | At The Checkout, Food & Drink

    (It’s around 12 pm. I’m training a new girl on her third shift. She’s never been on register before, so I’m walking her through it before I teach her how to serve. Our register layout has changed that day, so every employee on shift is re-learning it. All of a sudden, a woman who has been standing in line for around two minutes walks straight up to the register. The register has a sign on it clearly stating that it is closed.)

    Customer: “Excuse me, do you have to do that now?”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “It’s lunchtime, and you’re training! Do you have to do that now?”

    Me: “I’m sorry ma’am, but this is her training shift and—”

    Customer: “I don’t care! I’ve been standing here for ten minutes! You have one girl serving and it’s extremely busy!”

    (We have around five customers besides her, three of whom have ordered and paid.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, I’ll get you my manager.”

    Customer: “It’s lunch time!”

    Manager: “Hi, what seems to be the problem today?”

    Customer: “This girl is being extremely rude to me and refusing to serve me!”

    Manager: “I’m sorry, but as you can see, this register is closed. Our trainee is currently being trained. If you’ll just step into that line over there, we’ll take your order.”

    Customer: “It’s lunch time! Are you all stupid!?. Some of us are on our meal breaks!”

    Manager: “I’m sorry about that, ma’am.”

    Customer: “This line isn’t even moving!”

    (The manager is needed in two other parts of the store at this point, so she instructs me to have the trainee serve the customer, and then get back to training her.)

    Customer: “Finally. It’s lunch time!”

    (The customer then proceeds to rattle off a long and extremely complicated order. This is difficult for both the trainee and myself and takes around five minutes to put through her order. She begins screaming about slow service around halfway through. The trainee is nearly in tears by this point.)

    Customer: “Oh, for God’s sake! You’re so f***ing slow! Don’t you know how to use a register?”

    Me: *finally losing my patience* “No, she doesn’t. That’s what I was trying to teach her before.”

    Customer: “I want to talk to your manager!”

    Manager: “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You have been extremely rude to my staff, who are only doing as they have been instructed to do. Here is your food.”

    Customer: “You can’t do this to me! I’m going to your owners, and I’m going to your head office! What’s your name? What’s her name?”

    (The manager gives both of our names.)

    Customer: “I’M GOING TO HAVE YOU BOTH FIRED!”

    (The customer then proceeds to charge out of the store, still ranting about poor service.)

    Manager: “Yeah, have fun with that.”

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