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  • Getting Owned By The Owner, Part 7
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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!

    Keeps Coming Back For More For Less

    | Sacramento, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (A customer comes up to my register with a cart full of various sizes of picture frames.)

    Me: “Hello! Did you find everything?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    (She just stands there, not taking anything out of her cart, just looking at me.)

    Me: “Good! You can go on and put those smaller frames up here on the counter. And I’ll just need you to lift up the large ones so that I can reach the barcode on the bottom.”

    Customer: “You have to scan them?”

    Me: “Yep! If you are wanting to buy them, that is!”

    (I smile and laugh my hollow ‘customer laugh.’)

    Customer: “Oh, I thought… I didn’t know the scanning was necessary.”

    Me: “It’s how our registers know what you’re buying and charge you the correct amount. So you can just hand those small frames to me, and I’ll scan those, then we’ll get to the big ones. The small ones I can also wrap and bag for you.”

    Customer: “You mean I have to help you?”

    Me: “Well, that is the fastest way to check out. If you cannot lift them, though, I can come around and get them.”

    Customer: “I just don’t understand any of this…”

    (I give up and just take everything out of her cart myself, as a line is forming.)

    Customer: “What are you doing?! I have never had such rude service.”

    Me: “Ma’am, if you want to buy these, I have to ring them up. That’s all I’m doing.”

    Customer: “Whatever. Okay, these are all 40% off.”

    Me: “Yes, you’re right. Their sale prices are just up here on the screen. And with that sale, your total comes to [total].”

    Customer: “I don’t believe that’s the sale price.”

    Me: *internal sigh* “Well, see, for example, this frame was originally [price]. When you take 40% off of that price, it comes to [total], as displayed on the screen.”

    Customer: “Fine, whatever. I’ll double check the math when I get home. And I want to use a coupon.”

    Me: “Okay, sure! I just need to scan the barcode on it. Do you have a printed coupon or is it on your phone?”

    Customer: “What? I don’t understand.”

    Me: “I need the coupon to scan it, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Why? Just take the amount off. I’d like a 30% one, please.”

    Me: “I cannot apply a discount, then, ma’am. We have to scan the coupon for you to receive the discount. If you wish to come back tomorrow with the coupon and get a price adjustment, though, we can certainly do that for you. But the only available coupon for your purchases is a 10% one.”

    Customer: “Oh, I guess I’ll come back in. That’s poor service, though.”

    Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Now how will you be paying?”

    (As she runs her credit card through the card reader, I start wrapping her frames in paper to protect them.)

    Customer: “What are you doing?! You’re hurting them!”

    Me: “I’m wrapping paper around them to protect them from scratching one another.”

    Customer: “No, no, no, stop!” *she throws them in her cart with a crash*

    Me: “Okay, you just need to sign this receipt for me and you’re all done.”

    Customer: “No. I don’t sign things.”

    Me: *using my stern ‘mom voice’* “Then your transaction is not complete and you cannot leave with these items.”

    (She stares at me for a while and finally gives in with a huff. She leaves, muttering about poor service. Everyone in line behind her is wide-eyed with confusion, and the next few customers comment on how it seems like she’s never been in a store before. Then she reappears with her husband, holding one of the larger frames).

    Customer: “I’d like to trade this frame for another. It has scratches.”

    (I definitely gave her a quick, evil stare, but the frame is question is very easily scratched and it’s our policy to let customers trade them out.)

    Me: “Okay, sure. If you want to just leave that one up here, you can go on back and pick another one. If you pick a different style, we’ll have to run an exchange through the system.”

    (She leaves her frame and husband with me. It’s now 10 minutes to close, and we have a long line of customers. Her husband stands in front of my till browsing a magazine).

    Me: “Sir, if you will step to the end of my register here, I will check out a few of these other guests. We need to be closing soon, so I need to help everyone get out of the store. When your wife returns, I’ll do whatever needs to be done to process her frame.”

    (He throws his hands up in disgust and makes an exasperated noise, but doesn’t move.)

    Customer #2: *barreling up with a cart* “Outta my way. You aren’t doing a d*** thing!

    (She shoves her cart into him until he moves. I don’t say anything, because I’m too annoyed and trying not to laugh.)

    Customer #2: *to me* “There you go, love. What’s wrong with him? He a zombie?”

    (I ring up five guests before the original customer finally returns. Luckily, she’s got the same type of frame as the one she purchased, so I’m allowed to let her take it without doing anything in the register system.)

    Me: “Okay, awesome. Looks like that is exactly the same type of frame, so you can just take that and go! We don’t need to do anything else!”

    Customer: “What? You’re trying to make me steal!”

    Me: “What…? No, no I’m not. You’re leaving with essentially the same item as you brought back, minus a small scratch. I promise, it’s fine. Thank you, and have a good night!”

    (She and her husband stand there a minute complaining about me, then go stand in front of the automatic sliding doors, which slide open for them. They don’t move, talk, anything. They just stand there).

    Customer: “HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GET OUT OF YOUR D*** STORE?!”

    (Everyone in the area just stares, shocked. I have had it, so I just turn around and call up the next customer to my register.)

    Customer #3: “Never have I so enjoyed waiting in line at this store! What a show! It was like an SNL skit or something! I’m gonna write to the Pope, tell him you should be sainted. You acted so pleasant the whole time, with just the perfect touch of ‘rage boiling under the surface.’”

    (The original customers must have figured a way out of the OPEN DOOR THAT THEY HAD ALREADY USED THREE TIMES, because we didn’t find them inside after we closed!)

    Wish You Were Just Pulling My Leg

    | Taylor, MI, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink

    (I was working as a cashier when a customer comes up with a cart full of two-packs of turkey legs.)

    Me: “Wow, these are pretty big; they make me think of renaissance festival turkey legs.”

    Customer: “Yeah, exactly! I’m going to put them in my smoker. They come out just like that.”

    Me: “Oh, sounds nice! Now I’m craving one!” *laughs*

    Customer: “You are? I could give you one if you like!”

    (I laugh it off as a joke and finish the transaction normally. However, a couple of days later, I see the customer return with a food container in the child seat of her cart.)

    Customer: “Oh! I was hoping you were working this shift again. Guess what I brought you!”

    (She opens the container and pulls out a whole turkey leg, smoked so much it’s falling off the bone she’s holding it by.)

    Customer: “I brought you one like I said!”

    Me: *surprised* “I… uh? Thank you, but… I really can’t take it!”

    Customer: “No, it’s okay. I have plenty. You saw. You said you wanted one right? Take it!”

    (I continue to politely refuse while she literally shoved the turkey leg at me, it’s falling apart on my belt and getting grease everywhere.)

    Me: *desperate* “I can’t eat on the job. I could get in trouble!”

    Customer: “Oh, well… I’ll just leave you it here for it later then.”

    (She puts the turkey leg right on the belt and hurries off like nothing happened, leaving me to clean up the greasy mess. It was a nice gesture but an odd one at that!)

    Half A Mind To Watch What You Say

    | Veron, NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Language & Words

    (A father and son check out books and DVDs.)

    Me: “That’s it. Books are due in two weeks and the DVDs are due in one. But you can return the books at the same time as the DVDs are due, if you have a mind to. Thank you.”

    (A few minutes later, as they go in the children’s room:)

    Son: “What did she mean by that, Daddy?”

    Father: “Well, I think she’s from down South and it’s just a saying…”

    (I’m watching what “down South” expressions I use now…)

    But We Do Have Some Everlasting Gob-Stoppers

    | Annapolis, MD, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

    (It’s a snowy winter day on the East Coast. Customers are placing their items on the checkout counter to be rung up by me. I’m wearing jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt, not a winter coat, no gloves or hat, and I’m three registers away from the open outside door.)

    Customer: “Brrr! It’s so COLD! How can you STAND it in here? You must be FREEZING!”

    Me: “No, I don’t mind it. We keep busy when we are at the register.”

    Customer: *eyeing the previous customer’s frozen ice cream containers being bagged by a coworker* “How can anyone buy ice cream on a freezing day like this?”

    Me: “Ah, well then, you should buy some Willy Wonka’s Hot Ice Cream! It’s perfect for those cold days.”

    Coworker: *stops bagging items and stares at me with open mouth*

    Customer: “Wow! Really? That sounds great! Is it too late to go back and get some?”

    Me: “Sorry, we’re temporarily out of stock.”

    Coworker: *turns away to laugh*

    Customer: “Oh. Too bad.”

    Me: *smiling at the customer’s ignorance of Roald Dahl’s book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’* “Maybe next time. Have a good day!”

    The Mother Of All Nice Gestures

    | Fort Collins, CO, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Family & Kids

    (I am just about to clock out from work when a teenage girl walks in to return a shirt that was paid for with credit card. My coworker handles the transaction.)

    Coworker: “So, you’ll be getting $13.94 back for this. Do you have a credit card to put that on to?”

    Girl: “No.”

    Coworker: “Well, I can give you a voucher to the store instead.”

    Girl: “Okay, that works.”

    (My coworker finishes the transaction, and gives her the voucher. The girl’s mother then comes in and becomes furious when her daughter gives her the voucher instead of cash. So she stomps over to my coworker.)

    Woman: “Excuse me, but I wanted cash back for this, not a voucher.”

    Coworker: “I’m sorry; you only get back your return how it was originally paid for.”

    Woman: “Fine, I’ll put it back on to my card.”

    (Unfortunately my store cannot put money from a voucher back onto a credit card. It’s final once it becomes a voucher. My coworker explains this, the woman gets mad and demands to speak to a manager. My manager comes over.)

    Woman: “You have to put this back onto my card. I need to get gas for my car.”

    Manager: “I’m sorry, but once it’s been put onto a voucher there’s nothing we can do.”

    Woman: “You have to.”

    Manager: “I can’t.”

    Woman: “You HAVE to!”

    Manager: “I can’t!”

    (This unpleasantness goes on for awhile, until my manager has had enough.)

    Manager: “I don’t have to do anything. Especially something that’s impossible.”

    (The woman finally gets it through her head and leaves with her daughter. Then after a couple minutes her daughter comes back in, tears streaming down her face, and goes back over to my coworker and manager.)

    Girl: “Is there anything you can do?”

    Manager: “I wish I could but it’s impossible.”

    (The girl looks to be on the verge of tears again.)

    Girl: “Please…”

    (I’m finally clocked out now, and after watching this whole situation and feeling terrible for the girl, I walk over.)

    Me: “How much is on the voucher?”

    Coworker: “Uh…$13.94.”

    Me: “Okay.”

    (I pull out my wallet and get $14.)

    Me: “I’ll give you this for the voucher.”

    Girl: “…really?”

    Me: “Yeah.”

    Girl: “Thank you. So much.”

    Me: “Of course.”

    (The girl takes the money and leaves. My coworker hands me the voucher.)

    Coworker: “Thank you, [My Name.]”

    Me: “Yeah, no problem.”

    Manager: “That was amazing, [My Name]. Thank you, I appreciate it.”

    Me: “Just to be clear: I did it to help out the poor girl, not her f****** mother.”

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