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  • Getting Owned By The Owner, Part 7
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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!

    Miss Management (Not Mrs)

    | AZ, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Liars & Scammers, Money, Top

    (A couple comes up to my checkout with a large amount of sporting goods.)

    Me: “Wow, looks like someone’s getting all their holiday shopping taken care of. Your total is [over $200].”

    Customer: “Ugh, no, it isn’t. My husband here is a manager with your company, so we get the employee discount.”

    Me: “Okay…” *leans over to the paging system* “Manager to register two, please.”

    Customer: *surprised* “Why did you just call a manager?”

    Me: “Because you said you and your husband were getting the employee discount.”

    Customer: “Oh, what, and you don’t believe me? You think my husband can’t be a manager because we’re [race], is that it?!”

    Me: “Huh? What are you talking about?”

    Customer: “I’m talking about you calling the manager on us because you’re a f***ing racist. I’ll have you know we drive a BMW and have a lot more money than anyone here, especially a minimum wage nobody like you!”

    (She goes on verbally attacking me, insulting my appearance, and just sounding generally crazy. Her husband is quietly standing behind her looking very nervous, but puts a restraining hand on her when she threatens to come behind the counter and teach me a lesson. At some point, the manager I paged approaches the counter.)

    Manager: “Hey, how come you called?”

    Customer: “Are you the manager? I have a complaint! Your employee here is a racist and should be fired for discrimination!”

    Manager: “What happened?”

    Customer: “Little-Miss-Hair-In-Her-Face over here called a manager when I told her my husband was getting the employee discount. We shop here all the time and we’ve never been treated with such disrespect.”

    Manager: “Okay. Well, we can give you a discount once we get this cleared up.”

    Customer: *shoots a smug nasty look at me*

    Manager: “So, since you shop here all the time and work for our company, of course you know that in order to get checked out with an employee discount a store manager has to enter his number and authorization code. Now, I just need his employee number and you’re set.”

    Customer: “…What?”

    Manager: “The employee identification number, we all have one in our system. He does have one, right?”

    Customer: “When I said he worked here, I was just kidding. But she called a manager because she’s a racist!”

    Manager: “No, you weren’t kidding. You were trying to scam her. She called me because she was following the procedure to prevent people like you from getting away with it. I’m voiding your transaction. Please leave.”

    Customer: “Oh, yeah? We’ll go to the news! Once everyone hears how racist this place is your store will be shut down!”

    (The customer’s husband, who has been frozen in silence up until this point, suddenly speaks up.)

    Husband: “No, you absolutely will not. You’ve already embarrassed us enough and dragged me into your bull****. Don’t even think about dragging me onto TV! I like this store. Now how am I supposed to show my face here? It’s bad enough to have a crazy, meana** girlfriend who lies like she breathes, but every time I take you out I’m lucky if the cops don’t get called. Now get in my crappy Volvo everyone can see from the window. I’m taking you home!”

    (Just as the customer’s ‘husband’ said, he was not only not an employee, but he wasn’t even married to her. He came back to the store a few days later and apologized for her behavior, and told us he had dumped her that evening. Because he was so nice about it my manager told him he wasn’t banned, and when the guy tried to purchase some of the items he’d been trying to pick up the last time my manager gave him a small discount.)

    Never Too Old To Spice Up Your Life

    | NS, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Food & Drink, Musical Mayhem, Top

    (At work, a regular elderly customer, whom everyone gets along with, approaches the counter at his turn.)

    Me: “Hello! What can I get for you?”

    Regular Customer: *singing* “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want!”

    Me: “So tell me what you want, what you really, really want!”

    Regular Customer: “I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna medium double cream, and a sugar twin, ahhhhh!”

    (While we are singing and having a good time, I am ringing him in. However, the next person in line reaches the counter at the last little bit of his song-order and speaks out loudly.)

    Next Customer: “Hey! I’m in a hurry here, take your song and dance somewhere else, buddy!”

    Regular Customer: “Sonny, when you reach my age, you’ll have all kinds of time on your hands to sing all the Spice Girls music you want, and no one will stop you!” *turns back to me* “And, honey, you look like that Posh one, and she’s my favorite. Don’t ever let a guy like him be your lover, or get with your friends!”

    (With that, he left, leaving the next customer standing there with his mouth agape, and me feeling quite happy! He made my day with the singing alone.)

    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*

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