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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!

    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!)

    No Good Deed Goes Unthreatened, Part 2

    | Durham, NC, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Money

    (I work for a cosmetics store. We’re collecting donations for a popular women’s charity. However, as I am not well off, and cannot donate more than a dollar or two here or there myself, I mention it very casually and do not think badly of those who do not donate, or donate small amounts.)

    Me: “Okay, so your total is $x.xx. Would you like to round up your purchase for the charity we are supporting today? No obligation!”

    Customer #1: “What does that mean?”

    Me: “Oh, we’re supporting [Charity] for this month, so I’m just asking everyone if they would like to contribute any amount, even a few cents. No obligation, like I said, I have to ask each customer. I was asking if you wanted to contribute a few cents to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar today.”

    Customer #1: “So, I look like some kind of sucker to you, I guess? I look like I have a goldmine just flowing out of my pockets? No, I will not be donating today. Thank you for the guilt trip!”

    Me: “Alrighty, no problem. Your total is [total].”

    Customer #1: “No. You tacked on a donation. I want the exact itemization of my purchase!”

    Me: “Okay, ma’am.”

    (I proceed to go over each item and add it up on a calculator, plus sales tax. Eventually, Customer #1 is satisfied. She’s still standing around, but I move on to the next customer, Customer #2.)

    Me: *to Customer #2* “How are you, today?”

    Customer #2: “Fine, dear. Also, I’d like to donate 10 dollars towards [Charity] today.”

    Me: “Thank you, Ma’am! And please take this gift as a thank you for your contribution!”

    Customer #1: “Hey! Why does she get something for free and I didn’t?”

    Me: “Ma’am, she made a donation towards [Charity], and we have free gifts for those who contribute certain dollar amounts. It’s on the signs in front of the register.”

    Customer #1: *throws a penny at me* “I donated. Now give me the [ten dollar donation gift]!”

    Me: “I am sorry, but that is for customers who contribute $10.00 or more towards [Charity]. I can’t give you this item for a penny contribution, although we do appreciate the donation.”

    Customer #1: “Well, I donate several thousands of dollars to [Charity] every year! Give me the free gift!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I am sorry, but donations that will earn you this gift must be made at this store. I apologize, but you can’t have this gift without a donation for the requisite dollar amount.”

    Customer #1: “Give it to me!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but this item is only for customers who make this certain donation amount. It’s a gift we give as a thanks for the donation towards [Charity].”

    Customer #1: “You know what? That’s fine! Jesus will punish you! He will send you to Hell for being so greedy!” *walks away singing ‘Amazing Grace’*

    Related:
    No Good Deed Goes Unthreatened

    Cash-Back It Forward

    | West Palm Beach, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Top

    Customer: “Looks like I’ll need cash back today.”

    (The customer opens his wallet. It’s empty.)

    Me: *laughs* “Oh, I know how that is.” *joking* “But I never even have the cash to get back.”

    (The customer gets $40 in cash back. I hand him two twenties.)

    Me: “Twenty and forty, have a good day, sir!”

    Customer: “Thank you!”

    (He walks off a moment, then turns around and tosses one of the twenties I handed him onto the register.)

    Customer: “A little cash back for you.” *smiles*

    (Before I can protest, he leaves. I wound up using that $20 to fill my gas tank. Thank you, sir!)

    Coffee, Strong, And Proud

    | Concord, NH, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bigotry, Top

    (Note: during the course of this conversation the customer uses several degrading terms for people of Middle-Eastern and African descent.)

    Customer #1: *slaps a $10 bill on the counter* “I’ll have a pack of [racial slur] delights.”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer #1: “You know, [different racial slur] specials! You know, the cigarettes the [yet another racial slur] make!”

    Me: “You mean Camels?”

    Customer #1: “That’s what I said I wanted, isn’t it?”

    Me: “Not even close. You used several highly offensive racial slurs, but not once did you ask for a pack of cigarettes.”

    Customer #1: “Whatever. Just get me the f***ing cigarettes!”

    Me: “Yeah, that’s not happening. I’m exercising my right to refuse you service. The door’s right over there, have a nice day!”

    Customer #1: “You’re kidding, right? What the f*** is your problem?”

    Me: “It’s simple, really. If someone is bothering other customers, I am required to kick them out of the store. Your crude and abusive language is clearly bothering the customers in line behind you, so there you go. Goodbye.”

    Customer #1: “What the f*** is wrong with you! What’s wrong with calling a [slur] a [slur]? They’re all f***ing [slurs], and you’re all a bunch of f***ing b****ds. You hear me? You’re all—”

    (At this point Customer #1 turns around to yell at the other people in line, but cuts off as he catches sight of the customer right behind him. Customer #2 is a male African-American that could accurately be described as ‘terrifyingly enormous’. It should also be noted that one of the slurs Customer #1 has been using was aimed at African-Americans.)

    Customer #1: “Whoa, man. I said ‘sand [slur]‘. I don’t have any problem with you!”

    Customer #2: *stares down at Customer #1* “Lemme see if I’ve got this right. You’re a loud-mouthed, ignorant, bigoted a**hole, but that shouldn’t bother me because you don’t have a problem with me specifically?”

    Customer #1: “Uh, yes?”

    Customer #2: “Uh, no. The nice man behind the counter asked you to leave the store. I suggest you do so before I decide you need some help getting through the door.”

    (Customer #1 immediately flees out the door, allowing Customer #2 to put his four coffees on the counter.)

    Customer #2: “Just the coffees, my friend.”

    Me: “Dude, the look on that guy’s face was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. For that, and for helping me out, your coffee is on me.”

    (The next day I told my manager what happened. After reviewing the security tapes (and laughing for a good 20 minutes) she gave me a nearly half a box of free coffee vouchers to give Customer #2. When I quit two years later, he still hadn’t run out of them.)

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