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  • February Theme Of The Month: Hazardous Customers!
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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!

    All Fantasy Sales Are Final

    | Baltimore, MD, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Geeks Rule, Technology, Top

    (I am at the midnight release for the video game “Final Fantasy XIII” with my friends. I don’t have a console that can play the game, but the store lets people purchase the release event promotional posters beforehand. There is only one poster in the store, and I had bought it a few days earlier. I’m also friends with most of the staff who are working there, including the manager.)

    Customer: “Can I also buy that promotional poster?”

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, sir, but it has already been purchased.”

    Customer: “There is no way it’s been purchased; it’s still there on the wall.”

    Cashier: “It was purchased a week ago, but it just hasn’t been picked up yet.”

    Customer: “So, just sell it to me; you’ll make twice the money.”

    Cashier: “Sir, I can’t sell the poster, since it isn’t ours anymore.”

    Customer: “I will give you twice what the other guy paid.”

    (The customer is starting to get angry, so another cashier steps in.)

    Cashier #2: “Didn’t you hear her? We can’t sell it to you.”

    Customer: “Fine! If you won’t sell it to me, then I’ll just take it!”

    (Both the manager and I have heard this. I decide to get my poster before this man does, and I catch the manager’s attention. I also just happen to be dressed like Auron from ‘Final Fantasy X’. I jump from my spot in line, and draw my fake sword.)

    Me: “Now! This is it! Now is the time to choose! Die and be free of pain or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories! Your fate is in your hands!”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: “Don’t look to others for knowledge; this is your story.”

    Customer: “I get it, but you are not getting that poster before I do!”

    Me: “Every story must have an ending.”

    (While this is going on, the manager takes the poster down, and puts it behind the counter. The customer gets to the spot where the poster had been, and looks at me, surprised.)

    Customer: “How did you do that?”

    Me: “I’m Captain Basch!”

    (The customer stomps off angrily. The whole store gets a big laugh when I do actually pick up the poster.)

    A Wee Bit Foreign

    | Brisbane, QLD, Australia | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (I am Scottish. After serving a Vietnamese family, another customer approaches and leans over the counter to whisper.)

    Customer: “It’s like trying to play a game of ‘Spot the Australian’ in here at the moment. There are so many foreigners around; know what I mean?”

    (Not missing a beat, I lean back over towards the customer and speak in my strongest Scottish accent.)

    Me: “Oh, I know ma’am! The bloody foreigners are everywhere! Jeez, sometimes you can never tell when you’re going to bump into one, hey?”

    Customer: “Oh… oh my… I am so sorry, I didn’t mean…”

    (The customer is very quiet for the remainder of the transaction, before apologising once more and leaving the store in a hurry.)

    Coworker: “You’re a very bad man sometimes dude. I love it.”

    Self-Service And Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

    | UK | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money, Top

    (I am buying lunch at a local supermarket. I approach the self-service machine, which is clearly labelled ‘CASH ONLY’. An employee quickly comes up to me.)

    Employee: “Sir, are you aware this is a cash only self-service machine?”

    Me: “Yes, thank you.”

    Employee: “And you’re paying in cash?”

    Me: “Yes, of course!”

    (I am insulted that the employee would see me as such an idiot. But then remembering all of the stories I’ve read and heard, I calmly breathe and look at her.)

    Me: “Sorry, I work in retail, too. I know that the general intelligence of the average customer is why those questions are necessary. Don’t worry; I’m one of the good guys.”

    (I smile at the employee and she smiles back with a sad look of self pity for industry in which we work.)

    Me: “We’ll escape it one day.”

    (I am walking away and realise I forgot to buy something. I head back just in time to here a customer screaming.)

    Customer: “HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW IT WAS CASH ONLY!? I HATE THIS PLACE!”

    (I smile that same sad smile back at the woman, knowing it is going to be a long day for her. Good luck to all of the workers out there, and keep smiling.)

    On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 4

    , | USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink

    (It is late at night. I’m doing headset on all drive-thru lanes, and handling money by myself. I am talking to a customer at the window.)

    Me: “Hello! Your total is $[total] tonight.”

    (I take the money, and another car pulls up. I greet them while I count change.)

    Me: “Good evening! Order when you are ready.”

    (I turn back to the window.)

    Me: “Here is your change, sir. Have a great night!”

    Customer: “Why are you talking to yourself? Are you slow or something? I don’t want your kind handling my money!”

    Me: “Uh… I was just greeting the customer who pulled up to the speaker.”

    (As we are talking, I am typing in the next customer’s order.)

    Customer: “I’m the only one here! What are you doing now? Hey! Answer me!”

    (I am now ignoring the guy yelling at me through the closed window.)

    Me: “Your total will be $[total] at your first window, ma’am. Please pull forward.”

    Customer: *banging on the window* “You can’t ignore me! I’m a paying customer! Open the window!”

    (I yell through the window.)

    Me: “Please pull forward, sir! You are blocking the next customer.”

    Customer: *suddenly very calm* “Okay, I’m sorry. But could I get another copy of my receipt? I dropped the one you gave me.”

    (I oblige and print him a new receipt. When I open the window he suddenly grabs my arm and tries to pull me out of the window. My screaming alerts my manager, who pulls me back inside, and locks the window shut while the customer speeds off with their food.)

    Manager: “What the h*** was all that about?! He nearly kidnapped you!”

    (I don’t work nights anymore…)

    Related:
    On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 3
    On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 2
    On The Need For Hazard Pay

    She Crossed The Line, Part 2

    | Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Top

    (I’m serving on the registers. There is an enormous line of people, so many of them have been waiting more than ten minutes to make their purchases. I look at the man at the front of the line and call him up. As he is walking up to my counter, an old woman with a walking frame, with remarkable speed, pushes through the adjacent layby line and throws her items at me, then turns and glares at the other man. The customer I called waves his hand at me to let her through. We both assumed that due to her age, she may not have realised that she came in the wrong way.)

    Me: “Hi, how are you today?”

    Customer: “Get on with it.”

    Me: “Uh, okay. So, just checking, are you just purchasing these today? I noticed you were in the layby line before.”

    Customer: “Of course I’m bloody well buying them! Why else would I be here?”

    (She puts more items on the counter, rudely shoving another customer’s stuff to the side, making some clothes fall on the ground. My coworker and I quickly pick up the items so they don’t get dusty.)

    Customer: “Why were you helping her? You’re supposed to be serving me, but you’re not doing a very good job of it!”

    Me: “Some clothes got knocked on to the floor, so I was picking them up to make sure they weren’t damaged. Now, I’m happy to put your items through. Just so you know, next time you actually need to line up over there. There is a big line waiting for the registers, but that nice man let you through.”

    Customer: “Well how was I supposed to know where to line up? There are no signs.”

    Me: “Well… there are around 30 people standing in the line that you just walked past. Also the wall just behind me says ‘Purchases: Pay Here’, while the one you were at says ‘Layby’.”

    (I point to all the large signs, but the customer isn’t even looking where I am pointing.)

    Customer: “You need to put signs up. That’s misleading.”

    (I ignore the last bit, since I’ve already explained it to her. I finish putting her sale through.)

    Me: “Alright then here’s your bag and receipt; have a nice day!”

    Customer: “I won’t! Because you RUINED it!”

    Other Customer’s Small Child: “Wow. What a crazy old bat!”

    Related:
    She Crossed The Line

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