November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

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!

Extreme Foreign Interests

| England, UK | At The Checkout, Geography, Language & Words

(I suffered from a speech disorder as a child, and while I speak perfectly now, I have a slight twang in my voice. I’m on the checkout when a smartly-dressed customer approaches the till.)

Me: “Hello! How are you today?”

Customer: “…where are you from?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “Where. Are. You. From?”

Me: “Um, I’m local, if that’s what you mean.”

Customer: “No, where were you born?”

Me: “In [local hospital].”

Customer: *sighs* “Where are your parents from?”

Me: “They’re from [local town] and [local city].”

Customer: *getting irate* “I just want you to tell me where you’re from! Explain your accent!”

Me: “Oh! My accent! Yes, there’s an explanation for that; see when I was a kid—”

Customer: “I don’t want to hear your life story! Why are you ashamed of your heritage? You are probably bringing shame to your family by denying them! I get that there are racists here, but you don’t need to deny who you are! I won’t judge you!”

Me: “Sir, I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Customer: “Tell me your parents were born in a different country!”

Me: “Um… they were born in [other country]?”

Customer: “Yes! See how easy that is? Why couldn’t you have just said that in the first place?!”

(He grabs his bags and marches off. I turn to the next customer.)

Me: “Afternoon!”

Customer #2: “That was a lie, right?”

Me: “Yep. How can I help you today?”

They Are Gnat Worth The Trouble

| Massapequa, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

(I am working in a women’s clothing store. When an item is marked down, we put a red line through the barcode of the tag attached to the piece of clothing. A customer and her daughter in her 20s bring up a dress.)

Customer: “Hi, we found this on the sale rack.”

(I scan it. It comes up full price. Confused, I check the tag; there is a black line through the barcode, instead of a red one. Someone must have marked it down by accident, realized their mistake, and tried to correct it by drawing a black line over the red one, instead of just printing out a new tag for the dress. And then someone else misunderstood the black line and put it on the sale rack anyway.)

Me: “Ah. Okay, so I’m afraid this is actually full price—”

(The two customers’ eyes flash, and I know I’m in trouble.)

Customer: “But this was on the sale rack.”

Me: “I know. I’m so sorry for the confusion. I think what happened is, someone accidentally marked this down, but realized their mistake.” *I show her the tag* “See, we usually put a red line through it; this is black. It came up full price when I scanned it.”

Customer: “Well, that’s false advertising!”

Me: “No, no, it’s not. It was just a mistake someone else made when they put it back. I’m sorry about that.”

(The customer and her daughter exchange a look.)

Customer: “Well, it’s really your attitude that’s the problem.”

Me: *flabbergasted* “What attitude? I’m just explaining what happened.”

(The daughter laughs condescendingly.)

Daughter: “Come on. We don’t have time for—” *she gestures at me with a flick of her wrist* “—this little gnat.”

Me: “I was just—”

(Another customer at the other register chimes in.)

Other Customer: “It’s not you.”

(We all look over. The other customer is looking through her pocketbook for her wallet, but it’s clear she’s talking to me.)

Other Customer: “It’s not you.”

(My customer and her daughter shut up. They leave the dress on the counter and walk away. My manager walks up, and I wonder if I’m in trouble.)

Manager: “What was THAT all about?”

Other Customer: “It wasn’t you. Seriously, they were really mean.”

Manager: “Ah, okay. That’s what it sounded like. Don’t let them get to you.”

(To the other customer, thanks for putting in the good word for me! It made me feel less like a gnat!)

A Happy Mood Beats The Mean And Rude

, | USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers

(At my workplace, I am famous for having a bright smile and cheery voice when speaking to every single customer. Even if it’s been a stressful and long day, I never give up smiling. A regular of mine comes in for her daily coffee and we stop to chat a bit.)

Regular Customer: “So are you on medicine or something? How do you stay so chipper all the time?”

Me: “Actually, I choose to act happy towards everyone. No medication required.”

Regular Customer: “So you are ALWAYS happy, no matter what? That doesn’t sound possible.”

Me: “Well, there are lots of reasons I keep smiling even if I am not having a great day. I know lots of people just need a sweet smile and some kind words to make a terrible day so much better and I like to think that’s what I do. Also, I learned from one of my psychology classes that the action of smiling releases chemicals in the brain that make you happier because the action of smiling is associated with happiness. Finally, when a customer is so persistent on being rude and mean to me it pisses them off when I continue to smile and be happy. It’s funny when they get upset that they couldn’t make me cry!”

(The customer is easily thirty years my senior, probably more. She stares at me in awe.)

Regular Customer: “I want to be like you when I grow up. Have a fantastic day Sunshine!”

Refunder Blunder, Part 3

| CA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

(I am working near the registers, but I am not currently on register. Our return policy is printed on every receipt in clear, bold lettering.)

Customer: “Hey, I wanna return this CD and get all my money back.”

Me: “Sure thing, just let me call someone over and they can help you out.”

(I call my manager over to do the return and I go back to work.)

Customer: “They had better give me all my money back, or I’ll cause trouble.”

Manager: “What can I do for you today?”

Customer: “I wanna return this CD and get all my money back. Here is the receipt.”

Manager: “Alright, everything looks okay; can I see the item you want to return?”

(The customer hands over an unwrapped CD case.)

Manager: “I’m sorry, but I can only give you a refund on unopened merchandise. If the disk wasn’t playing I can replace it for you though.”

Customer: “No, you’re gonna give me all my money back, or I’m gonna file a lawsuit.”

Manager: “Go ahead and file a lawsuit. I don’t care. The return policy is on the receipt, and clearly says items must be unopened in their original packaging in order to be returned for a refund.”

Customer: “No, it doesn’t say that. Where does it say that?” *looks at his receipt* “D***.” *walks out*

Refunder Blunder, Part 2
Refunder Blunder

Getting All Hancocked Over A Lincoln

| GA, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Wild & Unruly

(I am a rather short young man who has just paid for lunch that I am sharing with a friend. Upon taking my seat at the table, I realize that I have been given $5 extra change. I go back to the register to return the excess money. There is one other customer in line behind me.)

Me: “Sorry to bother you again, but I just wanted to return the extra change I was given by mistake.”

Cashier: “Really? Well that’s a first.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but what is, ma’am?”

Cashier: “Well, incorrect change is given out every now and then, and we always hear when it is short. However, we never get approached when we give too much.”

Me: “You would think otherwise, wouldn’t you?”

Cashier: “You’d be surprised. Unfortunately, when the register comes up short, we are either charged the difference out of our own pay or dismissed.”

Me: “That’s terrible! Maybe if people knew jobs were at stake, they would be more honest.”

(The customer in line has heard the whole thing and decides to speak up.)

Customer: “Hey buddy. If you don’t want it, I’ll take it.”

Me: “What?”

Customer: “That $5 bill. I could use the money if you’re just giving it away.”

Me: “I’m not giving it away. It’s their money; I was just given it by mistake. Did you not hear that she could lose her job?”

Customer: “Look man, times are hard. People that actually have to work for their money need all of it they can get. We can’t all be spoiled brats like you!”

Me: “I have a part-time job and go to college, so I work for what I have, too. Now I’m giving this money back to her, who it belongs to, not you. That is final!”

Customer: “F*** you punk, and f*** that b**** too! If you won’t give it to me, I’ll take it along with all your front teeth!”

(The customer is a full grown and muscular man, nearly twice my size. He grabs me by the arm and lifts me into the air. I see a swift motion in front of my face and brace for impact, but suddenly I feel myself dropped. The customer is cowering and holding his face. The cashier has sucker-punched him while he is holding on to me.)

Me: “Thank you so much! I don’t know what I would have done without that!”

Cashier: “No, thank you. If not for your honesty, I would have been fired. It’s the least I could do.”

(The customer has recovered and quickly leaves. The manager comes over and is told the whole story.)

Manager: “I’d like to offer you a free meal the next time you come.”

Me: “I have to politely turn you down. I think the food is more than worth the price, and I’m happy to pay!”

(I eat there regularly and have even become friends with the cashier. The best part is, because of this and her track record of great service, she later gets promoted to assistant manager!)