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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!

    The Dirty Dozen

    | MA, USA | At The Checkout, Top

    (I’m standing in line at the ’12 items or less’ self-checkout behind a nice yet flustered older lady. My hands are full of stuff for my lunch—can of soup, loaf of bread, etc. A second woman comes up behind me with an over-flowing carriage; she’s way beyond 12 items.)

    Older Woman: *reading from the screen* “Swipe card.”

    (The older woman looks around, but misses the card reader in front of her.)

    Me: “It’s right in front of you.”

    Older Woman: “Where?” *continues to look all around*

    Woman Behind Me: “Tsk.”

    Me: “Just extend your arm straight ahead…”

    (The older woman turns to face me and extends her hand, with credit card in hand, to me. I put my items down and point out the swipe area on the card reader in front of her. She’s finally able to finish her transaction; all this time, the woman behind me has been tapping her toes, shaking her head, etc. The older woman starts to leave with her purse still sitting on the counter.)

    Me: “Ma’am, your purse.”

    Older Woman: “Oh! Thank you. I wouldn’t have gotten far without that.” *takes her three items and leaves*

    Woman Behind Me: “Some people just can’t follow directions.”

    Me: “Like 12 items or less’?”

    Woman Behind Me: *turns bright red*

    I Don’t Work Here, Actually Worked Here, Part 3

    | Cape Cod, MA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I don’t work at the store, but my uniform is similar to the store I’m at. An elderly man asks me for help and even though I’m not an employee I help him with his list. I eventually finish my shopping and step into a line. I see the old man step up behind me, so I casually step out of line so he can check out his fewer items first.)

    Elderly Man: “Did you stop out of line so I could get in front of you?”

    Me: “Nope, I was looking at this magazine over here.”

    Elderly Man: “Well, you get right back in front of me.”

    Me: “No, that’s okay; you’ve got less items than I do, so you’ll go through faster.”

    Elderly Man: “Now you listen here, young lady: I’m older than you and you have to respect your elders. Now, respect me and get ahead.”

    (I still refuse and because it’s his turn to check out, he has no choice but to unload his items. I unload my things behind his while the man hands the cashier clearly too much money.)

    Elderly Man: “You see that insufferable young lady right there? I want you to use this money to pay for her things. Stupidly I thought she worked here, and even though she doesn’t, she helped me find all of my items and then let me go ahead of her. I want you to use that money but give her a condescending look for being such a nice girl.”

    Cashier: “You want me to scold her for being kind?”

    Elderly Man: “No, I want you to scold her for not listening to her elders. You give her a nice smile for being kind.”

    (The man then leaves and I’m checked out.)

    Cashier: “That was really the most interesting conversation I’ve ever had, and if he hadn’t paid for your items, I would have for being such an outstanding customer!”

    Related:
    I Don’t Work Here, Actually Worked Here, Part 2
    I Don’t Work Here, Actually Worked Here

    Marked Down But Not Giving It Out

    | Helsinki, Finland | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money

    (It is the 1990s. We have ‘marks’ as our currency. I work in the grocery store, and my duty is to sell fish and other seafood. A women approaches me.)

    Customer: “Excuse me, can you change this thousand mark bill into one 500, four 100′s,one 50, four 10′s and ten coins of 1 mark?”

    Me: “I’m sorry madam, I can’t. I don’t have a cash register here at all and I’m afraid that even cashiers aren’t allow to change a thousand mark bill, because it is early in the Saturday morning and we need to have small change in our cash registers. But there’s no harm asking; the cash registers are over there.”

    Customer: “No, no, I meant that can you change this from your own money?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m a college student and work here only part time and since I’ve just paid my rent, I don’t even have that kind of a money in my bank account.”

    Customer: “I’m not interested what you have or don’t have in your bank account. I want you to change this for me. Take the money from your pockets.”

    Me: “Well, as I don’t have that kind of the money in my bank account, unfortunately I don’t have that kind of money in my pockets, either.”

    Customer: “I don’t believe you. Show me your pockets!”

    Me: *showing* “As you can see, the only thing in my pocket is this handkerchief.”

    Customer: “But you are a woman, you surely have a hand bag, don’t you?”

    Me: “Well, yes I do.”

    Customer: “So, where is it?”

    Me: “It’s in my locker, in our locker room.”

    Customer: “So, why won’t you go to your hand bag and fetch the money from there?”

    Me: “I’m afraid I can’t leave, because I’m the only seller here right now, and it wouldn’t be any use anyway. I can assure you that I don’t have 1000 marks in my purse either.”

    Customer: “So, why do you work here if you can’t even help a customer by changing my bill into a smaller bills and coins?”

    Me: “I work here because I need to finance my studies.”

    Customer: “Some fine financing! I can’t believe you won’t be able, or willing, to help me out!”

    A Moment Of Kindness Is Unquantifiable

    | Forest, VA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (Our point of sale has crashed, meaning we can not accept cash. My coworker is in the back trying to fix it. Meanwhile, I am in the front handling more customers than I’ve seen my entire shift, while having to turn away those who don’t have cash. A woman walks in and orders a hot chocolate.)

    Me: “What size can I get for you?”

    Woman: “Just a small.”

    Me: “One moment; I will figure out what that will cost.”

    (The woman looks around at the other impatient customers, reaches in her wallet and hands me a $10.)

    Woman: “It looks like you’ve had a rough night. You can figure it out whenever you get the chance and keep the rest as tip.”

    Me: “No, ma’am! Really! That’s too much! It will only take a second!”

    Woman: “It’s really okay. Please keep it.”

    (That’s more than I normally make in tips in a week. I never saw the woman again.)

    She Crossed The Line

    | New England, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Top

    (I am a customer at my regular hardware supply store, which most local contractors have accounts at. I’m standing in a large queue at the cash register with a few items for a job I’m working on. The customer in front of me seems annoyed and is asking many questions about a special light bulb for her house.)

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, from what you’ve told me, I don’t think that particular bulb will work with your fixture. However, the row of bulbs above where you got it will work!”

    Customer #1: *more annoyed* “So, I have to pick out another one? Can you at least show me?”

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, I can’t leave the register right now. But [employee's name] can help you.”

    (She points to her coworker twenty feet away in the lighting section. The customer begins heading there, but first asks…)

    Customer #1: “Will I have to stand in line again?”

    (The cashier and I look at each other and shrug, so we both wait out of courtesy. However, the customer is gone for quite awhile although the aisle she went to is very close, so the cashier decides to help me first. However, halfway through my transaction, Customer #1 comes back and goes straight to the front of the line.)

    Customer #1: “Excuse me! I believe I was first!”

    Cashier: “Oh! ma’am. I’m sorry. You were gone for a while, and he only had a few items and I thought-”

    Customer #1: “Whatever! Just ring me up!”

    (The cashier nervously looks at me and I nod that it’s okay for her to go first. By now, there are at least six people standing in the queue behind me. The cashier begins to ring her up.)

    Customer #1: “You know, that was really rude! You should all be more helpful here!”

    Me: “Ma’am, she was only doing her job. This is a small business and they are very courteous and helpful here.”

    Customer #1: *turns around to me* “I don’t care! They need to be more efficient and shouldn’t be so rude. I’m on my break. I don’t have time for this!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m a contractor, I lose money for every minute I am away from the worksite. Your time is no more valuable than anyone else, and [cashier's name] works very hard and is very good at her job.”

    Customer #1: “Wuh-well… I was only saying that so they know that they are wasting a customer’s time!”

    (A customer behind me interrupts her.)

    Customer #2: “Hey, lady! We’re all contractors. You are wasting our time and money!”

    (Everyone else in line verbally and visibly motions in agreement. The first customer finishes her transaction and quickly leaves, embarrassed. The cashier was so thankful she went and told the store manager who gave everyone in the queue a keychain flashlight for free. I love that store! Remember to support your local businesses!)

    Related:
    They Crossed A Line

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