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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!

    Don’t Be A-Gas-t, Just Being Help-Fuel

    | Robeline, Louisiana, USA | At The Checkout, Money

    (It’s around closing time and two customers walk in. One is a regular and the other is a frazzled looking woman who is talking to herself while digging in her wallet.)

    Woman: *mutters to herself* “No money, but I need gas. I wouldn’t worry, but the fuel light is flashing…”

    (She glances my way and I notice that she’s on the verge of tears.)

    Me: “Ma’am? Can I help you?”

    Woman: “I really need gas but this is all I have.” *opens her hand to reveal $0.42*

    Me: “I know how that is. Tell you what… why don’t you go pump $5 and I’ll pay for it, okay?”

    Woman: *wide-eyed* “Are you sure?”

    Me: “Yes, I’m sure. Go ahead, I’ve got it.”

    (The woman walks out looking less distressed. However, the regular gives me a stern frown.)

    Me: “What?”

    Regular: “Why’d you do that?”

    Me: “Because I could only afford to let her get $5. If I wasn’t broke right now, I would have told her to go for $20.”

    Regular: “No, why did you let her get gas on your dime? She could have been lying for all you know!”

    Me: “She looked lost as a goose and terrified. I doubt she was lying. Even if she was, it’s my money, not yours.”

    Regular: “Hmph!” *pays for his items and leaves*

    (As for the woman, she actually came back in the store, wanting my address to send me the money but I insisted it was fine!)

    Best Not Berate Bob Or You’ll Get The Boot

    | New Jersey, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Top

    (I go to my local post office several times a week. One the employees, Bob, always has a smile on his face no matter what. One day, I come in and see he’s the only one working. There’s a long line due to many large and complicated orders. A customer comes in behind me, sees the long line, and starts complaining about the slow service.)

    Customer: “It’s much faster at [other] post office. Don’t you think they are slow here?”

    Me: “No. I think there are a lot of people, it’s lunch time, and Bob there is going as fast as he can.”

    Customer: “They are much faster at [other] office.”

    Me: “No, they aren’t. That’s why I come here. Bob’s as fast as he can be. Look, he’s not slacking. You can see he’s working as fast as possible.”

    Customer: “But they are so rude here!”

    (Now I’m angry. This office, and Bob, in particular, is never rude.)

    Me: “No, they are not rude. They are nice, even when they have to deal with people like you.”

    Customer: *stomps around* “Well, I’m never coming here again! Everyone is rude and slow! Next time, I’m going to [other] office instead!”

    Me: “Why don’t you just go there now?”

    Customer: “I will!”

    (As she leaves, all the other customers nod in relief and the tension in the line disappears.)

    Bob: *still smiling, to me* “Thank you.”

    Don’t Vex The D-Rex

    | Alberta, Canada | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Top

    (At the music store where I work, two girls who are probably in their early-mid teens approach my till, hand in hand. I go through their rather long order, and after awhile they start getting really overtly sexual—feeling one another up, biting necks, etc.)

    Me: “Excuse me, but can you please not do that in the store? That kind of behavior isn’t really appropriate for public places and it makes some of our customers uncomfortable.”

    Girl #1: “What the f***? What’s wrong with kissing my girlfriend? F***ing homophobic b****!”

    Me: “Homophobia has nothing to do with it. Those kind of activities aren’t appropriate in public when they’re disturbing others.”

    (Girl #2 by this point seems completely uncomfortable, but Girl #1 just keeps rolling along.)

    Girl #1: “It’s a**holes like you that make this world horrible! You f***ing homophobe! How dare you tell me I can’t kiss my girlfriend in public! I wanna talk to your f***ing manager! I’m going to get you fired!”

    (The Manager on Duty has been standing nearby with a huge grin on his face.)

    Me: “Yo, wanna weigh in on this, boss man?”

    Manager: “No, no. I’ll let you break it to her…”

    Girl #1: *to my manager* “You’re not going to tell her off for being a homophobe?! What, do you have a problem with queer people too, you f***ing a**hole?!”

    (My manager just folds his arms and his grin gets even bigger.)

    Manager: “Not really. She’s also the last person I’d accuse of being homophobic.” *to me* ”So how’s your girlfriend, [me]?”

    Me: “Well, she got her certification and is working as an electrician. So, pretty well I think.” *to the girls* “Incidentally, I’m not a ‘homophobic b****’… I’m a raging dykeasaurus. I also know that there’s a time and a place for groping my girlfriend, and a mall full of people isn’t on the list. It’s called public decency and has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. Now, are you going to stop swearing and act like a big girl, or am I going to void this transaction and kick you out?”

    Girl #1 & Girl #2: *both look absolutely mortified and go quiet*

    (Later on, Girl #2 actually came back with a coffee shop gift card and apologized. She was as sweet as could be and totally embarrassed. She apparently loved the word ‘dykeasaurus’, though, and I got a $10 gift card out of it!)

    Disrespect Can Be Infectious

    | Michigan, USA | At The Checkout, Health & Body, Top

    (A customer approaches my register and drops her items on the counter in two separate piles without acknowledging me or diverting attention from her cellphone. There is a line forming as there is only one cash register. Note: I work part-time here; my other job is at a pharmacy.)

    Me: “Did you find everything all right today?”

    Customer: *to her phone* “So, I went to the doctor and he prescribed me zithromyacin…”

    Me: “Okay, were you going with all of these today or is this pile here to go back?”

    Customer: *to her phone* “Well, I didn’t want to spend money on another prescription, so I just took some Diflucan I had at home.”

    Me: “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I need to know what you plan to purchase before I can ring you up.”

    Customer: *to her phone* “That should be okay, right? I mean, I don’t even know what Diflucan is, but I figured it was stupid to spend more money on pills.”

    Me: “So, should I go ahead and ring these?

    Customer: *to her phone* “I mean, what is Diflucan anyway?”

    Me: *a bit loudly* “DIFLUCAN is most frequently prescribed for YEAST INFECTIONS. Were you ready to check out or would you like to step into a more private area to finish your call?”

    Customer: “Okay, these are the items what I wanted to purchase!” *pays and quickly leaves, embarrassed*

    A Rude A-Blabbering

    | Massachusetts, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Money, Top

    (I’m ringing out a customer who is blabbing away on their cellphone.)

    Me: “Your total is $13.47.”

    Customer: *throws her card on the counter and continues blabbing*

    Me: “Will that be debit or credit?”

    Customer: *no answer*

    Me: “Will that be debit or credit?”

    Customer: *no answer*

    Me: “Will that be debit or credit?”

    Customer: *no answer*

    (I put the card back in front of her and wait. Eventually, she realizes I’ve stopped and speaks to me.)

    Customer: “What’s the problem?”

    Me: “I was trying to ask if you you would like debit or credit, but you wouldn’t give me an answer.”

    Customer: “That’s probably because I’m on the phone having a conversation! God! Debit!”

    Me: “Okay, please enter your PIN number and hit the green button when you’re done.”

    Customer: *ignores me and starts blabbing away on her phone again*

    (I ask for her PIN a few more times, but after about 30 seconds the credit card machine automatically cancels the transaction since no PIN number has been entered.)

    Customer: “Now what’s the problem?”

    Me: “I asked you to enter your PIN number a few times, but the machine timed out. I’m going to need to swipe your card again.”

    Customer: *throws the card at me*

    Me: “Okay, please enter your PIN number and hit the green button when you’re done.”

    (Once again, she isn’t paying attention. The machine times out. I put the card back on the counter in front of her and ask the next customer behind her if they are ready to be cashed out. The next customer approaches the counter and places her items down.)

    Customer: “UMM, EXCUSE ME?! YOU’RE WAITING ON ME! ”

    Me: “No, ma’am. I’ve been trying to wait on you for several minutes but until you finish your phone call, I will not be able to complete your transaction.”

    Customer: *to her cellphone* “Can you believe this? I’m being refused service because Im on my phone. This is bulls***!” *to me* “YOU ARE EXTREMELY RUDE!”

    (Fed up, the next customer speaks up on my behalf.)

    Next Customer: “YOU’RE calling the cashier rude? You’re the one who has been holding up the line. The poor girl was trying to get you to enter your PIN for 5 minutes while you blurted out your personal business in front of a bunch of strangers. You need to learn some manners!”

    Customer: *blushes and walks out of the store without her items*

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