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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    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!

    Saving Money And Wasting Time

    | Brighton, England, UK | At The Checkout, Money

    (I work for a supermarket that has launched a ‘price promise.’ If you spend more in the supermarket than you might have spent in a competitors, the till system automatically prints a coupon for the difference. If you saved money over shopping with competitors, it prints a little ‘for information’ slip to tell you how much money you saved over going elsewhere.)

    Me: “That’s £14.87 please, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Oh! I have this coupon! I can save 50p!”

    (The customer hands me a ‘for information’ slip that is not actually a coupon.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m afraid that’s an advice slip. You already saved your 50p on your last shop.”

    Customer: “Exactly. So I get 50p off now, right?”

    Me: “No, ma’am. This piece of paper says ‘You saved 50p’ and is for information only. If it was a coupon, it would have the writing ‘Save 50p off your next shop!’ instead.”

    Customer: “So it’s a coupon?”

    Me: “No, ma’am. It’s for information. If it was a coupon it would have the text as I described, and also a barcode beneath for me to scan to apply that discount. As there is no barcode, regrettably it is not a coupon, and unfortunately I cannot credit you with this 50p.”

    Customer: “So why did they give me a coupon to save me money if I can’t actually save any money?”

    Customer’s Husband: “FOR LORD’S SAKE, WOMAN! The lady has very nicely tried to explain several times that THIS IS NOT A COUPON. You ALREADY saved your money, so you can’t save it twice. Can we PLEASE just pay and go before people start questioning why I’ve not divorced you yet?”

    Customer: “Oh. Sorry, dear.” *to me* “Sorry to you too, dear! I don’t understand why they gave me a coupon I can’t spend, though.”

    Customer’s Husband & Me: “It’s not a coupon.”

    Some People Never Change

    | UK | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Liars & Scammers, Money

    (I’m on my first shift at a new grocery store job as a cashier. The store isn’t very busy, and things have been running quite smoothly. A middle-aged customer and her teenage daughter approach my register. I ring her up and bag her items.)

    Me: “That will be £8.90, please.”

    (While smiling sweetly at me, she hands me £10. I give her the appropriate change and receipt.)

    Woman: “Um, excuse me, trainee, but I handed you a £20 note.”

    Me: “Oh, I’m very sorry, I’ll just check that for you.”

    (During the transaction, I had opened only the register to put her £10 inside. Due to store policy, all £20 notes have to be put in a security box under the register. Therefore, no £20 notes are in the register at all. I apologize, and explain this to her. She is all the while still smiling sweetly.)

    Woman: “No, stupid girl, it was definitely a 20, wasn’t it?” *turns to her daughter*

    Daughter: “Yeah, I saw it.”

    Me: “I’m very sorry, but there is absolutely no physical £20 note in my cash register. Please, feel free to look.”

    (She leans over and looks, then withdraws, still smiling.)

    Woman: “Well, you must have just pocketed it while I wasn’t looking. Let’s not drag this out, honey. I’m not leaving until I get my change.”

    (At this point, I call over my supervisor to help me deal with the situation. The woman explains her stance and I tell him exactly what I informed the customer. My supervisor explains that he would be more than happy to review security footage if she suspects theft. At this point her smile seems to disintegrate.)

    Woman: “I really don’t have the time for this nonsense. If my hard-earned money means so much to that tramp then she can keep it.”

    (The woman finally picks up her bag and leaves, her daughter following briskly, but not before telling me to ‘get a life.’ My supervisor leans in and speaks in a low voice.)

    Supervisor: “Don’t worry about her. The girl she was with does the same thing whenever there’s a new face on a register. Now I see where she gets it from.”

    This One Definitely Needs Decaf

    | Washington, DC, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink, Top

    (I’m a customer at a popular coffee chain. I overhear the following exchange between the cashier, who has been there for years, and a customer.)

    Cashier: “Hello, sir, what can I get for you?”

    Customer: “Yes, I’ll have a decaf latte, with caffeine.”

    Cashier: “Okay… so a regular latte?”

    Customer: *impatiently* “No, a decaf latte with caffeine.”

    Cashier: “Sir, ‘decaf’ means ‘less caffeine.’ If you want caffeine, you want a regular latte.”

    Customer: “S***, was I saying caffeine? I meant with caramel. I’m an idiot.” *loudly to the rest of the line* “Don’t be an idiot like me, people!”

    Enquiring Children Enquiring About Children

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month

    (I am carrying on quite a conversation with a four-year-old girl while I check her mother out at my store. I am 19.)

    Mom: “Stop asking so many questions; you’re bothering the lady!”

    Me: “No! It’s okay; I’m happy to answer. I think it’s great that she’s so curious!”

    Mom: “You must have kids.”

    Me: “Oh no, not yet.”

    Little Girl: “You don’t have kids?!” *whimpers, sounding heartbroken* “Why? You don’t like kids?”

    Me: “No, no, I love kids! I’m just really young, and I’m not ready to have kids yet.”

    Little Girl: “Well… when will you be ready?”

    Me: “When I have more time and money. I want to make sure I can take good care of my kids, and right now I can barely take good care of myself!”

    Little Girl: “Well, that makes sense. Okay then!”

    (The little girl then gives me a nod approval.)

    A Triple Rainbow Of Pens

    | NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (I work part time at the local convenience store that sells school supplies, snacks, basic clothing, and other things. A customer walks in smelling heavily of marijuana.)

    Customer: “Can I get some pens?”

    Me: “Umm, sure.”

    (I show the customer over to the area where we keep pens and pencils.)

    Customer: “Whoa… YOU GUYS HAVE PINK PENS?!”

    Me: “Yes, why?”

    Customer: “I didn’t know they made pink pens!”

    Me: “Umm… they make pens in every color, sir.”

    Customer: “Even… ORANGE?!”

    Me: “Yes, even orange.”

    Customer: “Even YELLOW?! Oh wait, that’d just be a highlighter.”

    Me: *points at yellow gel pens* “No, they make yellow pens too.”

    Customer: “WOW!”

    (The customer buys his pens and leaves. Good to know I may have changed someone’s life.)

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