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!

I Scream For A Crouton

| Cambridge, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink

(I work in a coffee shop inside a bookshop. It is always very quiet in there and we are rarely very busy but the shop is popular with mothers and young children. There are two parents with their two young daughters. The girls are chatting amongst themselves but not being especially obtrusive. Two older ladies approach me at the counter.)

Old Lady #1: “Two mushroom soups, please,”

(I begin dishing up and the second old lady goes to get spoons from the stand which is about six feet away from the counter.)

Old Lady #1: “Those little ones are being awfully loud aren’t they? We came here for a bit of peace and quiet.”

Me: “I am sorry, Madam, but they’re only wee, and they don’t seem to be bothering anyone else. Now, would you like croutons with your soup?”

Old Lady #1: “Well, I certainly would and er… Hang on a tick dear—” *at the top of her voice* “MARTHA! MARTHA!”

(Old Lady #2 doesn’t react.)

Old Lady #1: *even louder* “MARTHA!”

Old Lady #2: *turns around* “WHAT?!”

Old Lady #1: “DO YOU WANT CROUTONS?!”

Old Lady #2: “WHAT?”

Old Lady #1: “CROUTONS, MARTHA!”

It’s The Principle Of The Matter

| USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, School

(I am second in line, and it’s early morning on a Thursday. The area has just gotten a severe weather warning about freezing rain and hail. In front of me is a chipper customer chatting with the clerk as she pays for her 40-oz bottles of malt liquor.)

Customer: “I got four of these. Does the two for five bucks still apply?”

Clerk: “Sure does. You got the day off, do you?”

Customer: “Yep, I work for the school district, and school’s been cancelled! I’m gonna get shit-faced before noon!”

Clerk: *slightly shocked* “Okay, well, that’s $10.20. Have fun.”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry. I’m not teaching your kids. I’m the principal!”

Phoning In The Irony

| Michigan, MI, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Technology

(My aunt is teaching me how to do dispatch at the gas station she owns, for whenever they’re busy. I’m too young to sell any cigarettes to a customer and someone else has to do it. If she’s busy or needs to help a mechanic she lets me run the front as long as I don’t sell any cigarettes, so I need to call for help on that a lot. A woman and her young girl walk in the store. The woman is on her phone playing a popular game.)

Little Girl: “Mommy! Guess what I learned at school today?!”

Woman: “Huh? Oh, yeah that’s great, [Little Girl].” *continues to play on phone*

Little Girl: “Mommy! I asked you to guess! It’s really fun; I promise!”

Woman: “Be QUIET! I’m busy! You can go pick up a piece a candy or something. I’m gonna pay for gas.”

Little Girl: “Okay!” *heads off, happy again, to get candy*

Woman: *walks up to our counter* “I need $20 on pump four, please.” *taps on phone*

Me: “All right, I’ll—” *I get a phone call from my aunt saying she won’t be back for a while and that I should call a coworker to help me with any cigarette sales* “—Okay, I’ll call her right away. Thank you.” *click*

Woman: *has put her phone away* “I find it very rude that you would talk on your cellphone while dealing with a customer! You young people must have those d*** things glued to your hands or something. You won’t even take the time to do your job!”

Little Girl: “Mommy, I got a [Candy Bar].”

Woman: “Yeah, okay.”

Me: “I’ll… just ring those up for you. That’ll be [total]. Have a nice day.”

Woman: *back to her game* “Huh? Oh, yeah. You, too. Come on, [Little Girl].”

(Honestly there have been dumber customers, but this really got on my nerves.)

Snacking On A Bad Attitude

, | York, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink

(I work in a busy branch of a fast food place. When customers order burgers, it’s store policy to ask if they would like it as part of a deal, which is cheaper than if the food in the meal was purchased separately.)

Me: “Hello, sir, what can I get you?”

Customer: *giving me a somewhat disdainful look* “I want a [Burger] with fries and a large [Soda].”

Me: “Would you like that as part of a meal or are you buying them separately?”

Customer: *visibly annoyed, and still glaring at me* “No, I’m having them as a snack.”

(I laugh politely, thinking that he was trying to be funny.)

Me: *smiling on the outside, dying on the inside* “Is that a large meal or are you buying them separately?”

Customer: “I already told you, I’m having them as a snack.”

(I look at my supervisor like a deer in headlights. She takes over.)

Supervisor: “Sir, are you having your order as a meal or are you buying each item separately?”

Customer: *growing quite rude and ill-tempered now* “I’ve already told him that I want them as a snack. Doesn’t he understand simple instructions?”

(My supervisor is quite protective of her trainees. I know that the look in her eyes means she wants blood, but she remains calm and collected.)

Supervisor: *trying to remain polite* “We don’t sell meals as “snacks,” sir. Are you buying it for yourself or—”

Customer: *almost shouting* “Of course I am. Now get me my large [Burger] with fries and a [Soda]!”

Supervisor: *faces me and tells me to get his food prepared* “I’m ringing that up as a meal deal, sir. That’ll be £5.45, please.”

(Customer begrudgingly slams a £10 note on the counter and gives me a scathing glare as I hand him his food in a bag and he leaves the store in a huff. My supervisor realises something.)

Supervisor: “Did he want his meal to-go?”

Me: “No clue. But I did.”

A New Excuse To Have Baggage

| Grangemouth, Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

(Recently, a new law has come in where all retailers have to charge 5p for a bag. This happens on the first day it becomes law.)

Me: “So, that’s £40 altogether…”

Customer: “Can I get a couple of bags?”

Me: “Yeah, that’ll be another ten pence. Is that okay?”

Customer: *suddenly angry* “No, that isn’t okay! Since when did you lot start charging for bloody bags?!”

(I do my best to not look at the various signs that have been around for a couple of months warning people of the date, doing my best to remain professional.)

Me: “Just today. The law became active today.”

Customer: “Bulls***! This is just another way for you lot to line your pockets!”

Me: “The money goes to charity, though. We don’t—”

Customer: “Save it! I’ll just go to another bloody shop that doesn’t have the f***ing cheek to charge for f***ing bags!”

(He storms off, leaving his shopping, as my manager, who was standing beside me just shrugs.)

Manager: “Where’s he gonna go, England?”

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