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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!

    No Business Like Snow Business

    | CO, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Food & Drink, Top

    (I work in a ski resort town at a small store that sells ski & snowboard accessories. It’s peak season and extremely busy. There is a constant line at the register and since we are understaffed, I am running the store alone open to close. This means I can’t leave the store or have a break during the shift. I am ringing people up when a customer with her three daughters come running in the crowded store.)

    Customer: “Ma’am, excuse me! I know you’re busy, but my daughters have a lesson in 20 minutes and they need goggles! But we really just need them for the week.”

    Me: “Okay, ma’am, hang on a minute and I’ll be right with you.”

    (After ringing up a couple more people, I break away from the line to show her our basic goggles and open the case to let her daughters try them on, while people are calling after me to ring them up.)

    Customer: “Great, we’ll take four pairs!”

    Me: “Excellent.”

    (I lock the case, walk to the back closet and have to climb on a chair to reach four pairs on the top shelf and hand them to the woman. The people at the register are clearly getting more impatient.)

    Me: “If you just head to the back of the line, I’ll take care of you shortly.”

    Customer: “Great, thanks!”

    (I return to the register. The customer eventually gets to the front of the line, pays, and leaves. Ten minutes later, I am still ringing people up, and the customer comes back and pokes her head in the store.)

    Customer: “Hey!”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

    Customer: “Do you like coffee or soda?”

    Me: “Uh… coffee?”

    (The customer disappears, and returns five minutes later and hands me a large latte.)

    Customer: “I just wanted to thank you for helping me out when you were so busy! It looked like you wouldn’t be able to leave so I got this for you.”

    Me: “Wow… thank you so much, ma’am! I really, really appreciate this.”

    Customer: “Not a problem! Have a good day!”

    (It was one of the longest 60-hour weeks of my life, but that small gesture made my week and reminded me that there are some awesome tourists too!)

    Do The Return, Feel The Burn

    | Cedar Rapids, IA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

    (I’m helping a customer, Customer #1, pick out a watch at a department store jewelry counter. Another customer, Customer #2, interrupts.)

    Customer #2: “Excuse me, I have a return. I had to wait in line at Customer Service just to be told I have to come up here.”

    Me: “I’ll be with you in a minute ma’am, I am helping this other lady at the moment.”

    Customer #2: “Well! I don’t have all day!”

    Customer #2: *to me* “You can return that for her.” *whispers* “Before she throws a fit.”

    (I do the return and turn back to Customer #1.)

    Customer #2: “EXCUSE ME! The customer service lady said you would ring this all out for me as well.”

    (Customer #2 holds up 2 boxes of shoes, some shirts, jeans and under garments.)

    Me: “Normally I would be able to, but as I said before I am helping this lady in watches. You can wait until I finish helping her or go up to the registers with your purchases.”

    Customer #2: “Well, I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you!”

    (Customer #2 storms off to the registers and stands in line, but continues to glare at me from afar.)

    Customer #1: “Whoa! Someone needs a nap!”

    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!”

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