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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!

    She’s Been Placed On The Blacklist

    | Redlands, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bigotry

    (I am filling out an application at an empty register counter when I see a well-to-do looking customer screaming at one of the employees. The employee looks close to tears.)

    Customer: “Why the f*** can’t I use my coupon? I have a right to this deal. You sent it to my home! I am going to use it now. Take my freaking coupon!”

    Employee: “Ma’am, it only works on Black Friday. It is only Wednesday. It is store policy. There is nothing I can do about it.”

    Customer: “I just saw another woman use the same coupon!”

    Employee: “We sent out similar ones that work for Thanksgiving products like—”

    Customer: “Shut up! I know you are too dumb to understand what I am saying. Giving your people an education is a waste. A monkey could do this job. You n*****s have no right to be here, taking jobs from good people, like that girl right here! She is likely going to starve because you rats keep taking all the good work!”

    (The woman literally drags me over to where they are.)

    Customer: *to me* “Doesn’t it p*** you off that these blacks have their own holiday and excuse us good, Christian white folks? You need a job and I am going to get this girl fired for you!”

    Me: “Let go of me! Are you crazy? No need to be a racist b**** about it. Just because you are racist doesn’t mean she is stupid.”

    Woman: “I am not racist! This colored girl can’t do her job. She is obviously too stupid to work here. She needs to go back to Africa.”

    (At this point, a man who has been standing off to the side marches up to us.)

    Man: *to the customer* “You can leave right now. I am refusing you service.”

    Customer: “You have no right to tell me what to do!”

    Man: “I do. That employee is my wife, and my father owns this store.”

    (As he is saying this, he points up towards a camera. The woman looks up without thinking.)

    Man: “Great, now I have your face for the picture I am going to be posting on all the doors. I hope you like driving to [next town], because you are now banned from this store.”

    Customer: *sulks away, leaving her paid-for purchases*

    Man: *to me* “Would you like some free stuff?”

    How To Spot A Bad Penny

    | AK, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money, Top

    (I’m teaching a trainee how to operate the cash register.)

    Me: “You see, all you have to do is press this button here, then the drawer will open, and the amount to give back will be up on the screen, as well as the receipt.”

    Trainee: “Oh! That’s really easy!”

    (During this time, a regular customer has been watching us, kind of poking around at the end of the register for awhile. I’m keeping an eye on her, as this customer is notorious for being dramatic.)

    Customer: “I’m ready to check out!”

    Trainee: “Yes ma’am, how are you today?” *begins checking out her items*

    Customer: “Oh, I’m fine. I have some change I’d like to empty from my purse.”

    (At this point I’m relatively relieved, as there hasn’t been any issues. However, she proceeds to pull four BAGS of PENNIES from her purse, and plops them on the counter.)

    Customer: “It’s legal tender, so start counting!”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “Excuse me?!”

    Me: “There is a Coinstar to your left, and a bank right in front of you. The Coinstar charges 8.9 cents per dollar, and I’m pretty sure the bank does it for free. I’ll be happy to suspend your order until you’ve returned.”

    (Despite how calm I am, my trainee looks visibly terrified.)

    Customer: “Shame on you. What terrible customer service. I will call and have you fired!”

    Me: “Ma’am, as I’ve said, I will be happy to suspend your order, but if you continue on yelling, I will have to ask you to leave.”

    Customer: “I am the customer! I am always right, so be—”

    Me: “QUIET.”

    Customer: *goes slack-jawed*

    Me:You will not get anyone here fired. You have not only been horrifically rude, but have made an extremely embarrassing spectacle of yourself in front of most of the store. You are holding up this line. Here are your bags of pennies, so please leave.”

    (The customer dawdled away from my register, but stayed by the front of the store screaming at everyone who walked in about us not taking her bags of pennies. The manager had to eventually call the police on her. It took a long time to reassure my trainee that not everyone was crazy like that!)

    Mama Puts A Stammer In Your Swagger

    | OH, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Family & Kids, Rude & Risque, Top

    (I’m up working the cash register on a slow day, when a teenage boy comes up. He looks to be about 14. He’s sagging his pants, trying to look tough.)

    Customer: “Hey, baby.”

    Me: “Hi there, sir. How can I help you today?”

    Customer: *leans on the counter* “You can get me your number.”

    (I’m 25, and engaged.)

    Me: “Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. Can I help you with anything else?”

    Customer: “Why the f*** not, you stupid b****?!”

    Me: “One: That would be illegal. Two: I am happily engaged. And three: even if I ignore the first two, it’s against company policy.”

    Customer: “You’re a f***ing b****! You should be happy I want a piece of your a**!”

    (As the customer continues ranting and raving, a woman appears behind him. She reaches out and taps his shoulder twice.)

    Customer: “What the f*** do you want—”

    (He turns around. All the color drains from his face. He manages to squeak out some words.)

    Customer: “Hi, mama.”

    (She smacks him across the face.)

    Customer’s Mom: “I did not raise you to be a self-entitled douche-bag! I did not raise you to think you are better than this poor girl!” *she grabs him by the ear, and shoves him against the counter, facing me* “Now, apologize!”

    Customer: “But mom!”

    Customer’s Mom: “Now!”

    (He looks close to tears. He mumbles out how sorry he is, and how it wasn’t fair of him to treat me like a piece of meat. His mom, by his ear, pushes him towards the door.)

    Customer’s Mom: “Go.”

    (He walks out of the store, ready to cry. She turns to me, gives me a huge smile, apologizes again, and even buys me a gift card. Apparently there are some good parents still out there!)

    A Real Mystery Shopper

    | IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Health & Body, Rude & Risque

    (I answer a phone call while working the cash register. The voice on the other end is male.)

    Caller: *obviously uncomfortable* “Um… uh… could I ask you to do me a favor?”

    Me: “Certainly. What do you need?”

    Customer: “Can you grab a box of tampons and hold it at the counter for me?” *he specifies the brand and strength* “I’ll be there in about ten minutes.”

    Me: “Uh, sure.”

    Customer: “Thanks.”

    (A little while later, a man comes up in line with several grocery items.)

    Customer: *mutters* “I believe you’re holding an item for me?”

    (I grab the box and, taking care to hold it lower than counter level so others don’t see, I confirm that the item is correct. When he nods, I scan it as stealthily as possible and slip it into his bag.)

    Customer: *looks around nervously* “Thank you so much.”

    (Later, I’m telling my boss about the odd incident.)

    Boss: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…” *begins to sing the ‘Mission: Impossible’ theme*

    Working Hard: $100; Holiday Spirit: Priceless

    | ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Holidays, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (I am working in the jewelry department of a big retailer. It is December 23, and my coworker has called in sick, so I am working an 8-hour shift by myself. About 5 hours in, I am ridiculously busy and have yet to take a break. Customers are lined up and getting irate.)

    Customer #1: “Oh, this is lovely. Do you think my son will like it? He’s about your age.”

    Me: “I definitely like it. And since it’s the holiday season, I can print out a gift receipt. He has until January 15 to exchange it if he doesn’t like it.”

    Customer #1: “Lovely. I’ll take this, please.”

    (I ring her up as quickly as I can, by this point I’m starving, thirsty and really have to use the bathroom. Unfortunately the line is not letting up and customers are starting to yell at me. I call upstairs and request some help from anyone. 10 or 15 minutes go by and no one shows up. By this point I’m desperate.)

    Customer #1: “About time! Hurry up and get me that pair of earrings for my wife!”

    Me: “No problem, sir. I’m so sorry for the wait, my coworker called in sick and it’s just me today. Now just so you know the earrings are non refundable for hygienic reasons.”

    Customer #1: “Fine, fine, just hurry up.”

    Customer #2: “Hey! Hurry up!”

    Me: “I’ll be right there, sir. Just a moment!”

    (I call up again for some help and again no one comes. I’m in serious pain by this point and feel very light headed. I help a few more customers when this little old lady asks for help.)

    Little old lady: “Hello, dear. It’s quite busy in here today, isn’t it?”

    Me: “Yes, it is! But, then again, that’s the holidays for you!”

    (I help this customer, who is quite pleasant and doesn’t seem to mind when customers yell across the counter at me. She even lets me go cash out the simple ones while continuing to help her. This alleviates the line quite a bit. I finish helping this customer and just as she’s about to leave a man comes to my counter visibly upset and slams his fist down on the glass counter angrily.)

    Customer #1: “YOU! HELP ME NOW!”

    (I am shaken by him slamming his hand on the desk.)

    Little old lady: “Hey! Leave her alone. She’s all by herself and trying her best! Have some holiday spirit!”

    Customer #1: “Well, I’ve been waiting a while and she’s not trying hard enough! She’s wasting time talking to people instead of helping them!”

    Me: *tearing up* “I’m really sorry, sir. I’m trying my best but I’m all alone today and I’ve yet to have a break. I keep calling for help but no one comes,.I’ll be happy to help you now though.”

    Little old lady: “I’ll be right back, dear.”

    Me: *confused* “Okay, ma’am.”

    (I help the angry customer, and he leaves a little less angry than when he got in. I’ve moved on to other customers and have forgotten about the sweet old lady. Suddenly, she comes back with the store manager!)

    Little old lady: *to the store manager* “There! Look at her! Look how hard she’s working all by herself! She’s called for help but no one shows up! Now, I think you should take over while this young lady gets a break for all her hard work!”

    Manager: “Yes ma’am, of course. I had no idea this was happening.” *to me* “Go take an hour to have your lunch. By the time you come back, I’ll have two other people with you.”

    Me: *starts to cry out of relief* “I can’t. I’m the only one who knows where everything is. And you have other things to do.”

    Little old lady: “Sweetheart, don’t worry. Go take your break!”

    Manager: “Go, I’ll be fine. We can manage an hour without you.”

    Me: “Okay.”

    Little old lady: *gives me a big hug as I’m leaving* “You have a good rest of your shift!”

    Me: “Thank you!”

    (I have my hour and come back feeling much better. The store manager is still there with two other workers, one from electronics and another from the general cash.)

    Manager: “Ah, you’re back! How was your break?”

    Me: “Great!”

    Manager: “Come to my office at the end of your shift.”

    Me: “Okay.”

    (At the end of my shift, I go up to his office and he tells me what I great job I did today. He says he was sorry that I had to go through what I did but he rewards me with a 100$ store gift card. The little old lady came back a few weeks later to give me a thank you card for the great job I did that day. Goes to show that not all holiday shoppers are mean during the holiday season!)

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