• The Medium Suddenly Felt Very Small
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  • May Theme Of The Month: Movie Mayhem!

    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!

    Thinks She’s The Big Cheese

    | Canada | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

    (I used to work for a large franchise, but at a small location at which we stopped serving shredded cheese on sandwiches for a while. During this period, a woman comes in with her two preteen sons, and everything is just fine until we get to the cheese.)

    Me: “And what kind of cheese would you like?”

    Customer: “Shredded, please.”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t serve shredded on sandwiches.”

    Customer: “What? But I always have shredded.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but the shredded cheese is more expensive than the regular, and since we’re a small location, we need to save it to season our cheese bread.”

    (The customer is getting visibly angry now.)

    Customer: “This is ridiculous! I’ve walked out of stores without shredded cheese before! I’m a paying customer! You’re supposed to give me what I want!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to serve shredded cheese. If you like, I can give you [two kinds of our regular cheese that are in the shredded cheese]. It’s basically the same thing, it just won’t be shredded.”

    Customer: “I CAN’T believe this. How hard is it to shred cheese?! I’ve walked out of stores before!”

    Me: “The cheese comes pre-shredded or pre-cut. I have no possible way of shredding the cheese here.”

    Customer: “I am a paying customer! That other cheese tastes like plastic! I should speak to your manager about this! I’m paying and I should get what I want!”

    (Suddenly, one of the customer’s sons, who has been looking increasingly uncomfortable, speaks up:)

    Customer’s Son: “Mom. It’s just CHEESE.”

    Customer: “I know but as a paying customer I should be getting what I want!”

    (She didn’t walk out, but she kept repeating that she was a “paying customer” through the whole transaction. Her poor sons looked like they wished the ground would swallow them up.)

    Making You Feel Very Small (Talk)

    | NM, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (This was a few years ago when I was a receptionist at a bank. Sometimes people would come in and ignore friendly conversation. After a while, this gets on my nerves. I had a few ways of dealing with people like this.)

    Me: “Good morning, sir! How are you doing today?”

    Customer: “Karen.”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “Karen.”

    Me: “Are you dropping something off for Karen? Picking something up from Karen? Does Karen have paperwork for you to sign? Do you have paperwork for Karen to sign? Does Karen need to notarize something for you? Is Karen opening an account for you? Do you need Karen to do a Signature Guarantee for you? Is Karen closing an account for you? Do you have a meeting with Karen? Would you like to speak with Karen?”

    Customer: “Uh… meeting.”

    Me: *with a sigh* “Okay.”

    Has A Load Of Explaining To Do

    | MI, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I am helping an older couple buy lottery tickets. They have a ten dollar bill, and their total is at nine dollars.)

    Wife: “Why not get one more 1$ dollar ticket. I’ll blow my load!”

    (I am thinking: do not laugh at that! You are an adult. That was an innocent statement meaning she’ll spend all her money. Maintain composure! Unfortunately she says it again, and the husband and I make eye contact and die laughing.)

    Husband: *mutters* “It means something different these days; I’ll explain on the way home.”

    (I can only imagine what that conversation was like!)

    Not In Her Charitable Shoes

    | Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid

    (I’m an assistant manager in a charity shop. As we’re a charity, we don’t do any refunds unless the item is damaged, although we do take exchanges or credit with a receipt. There is a large printed sign clearly stating our refund policy on the counter. A volunteer calls me out to deal with a customer.)

    Volunteer: “This lady wants a refund for these shoes.”

    Me: “Okay, what’s wrong with them?”

    Customer: “They’re the wrong size.”

    Me: “Oh, sorry, I’m afraid we don’t do refunds unless the item is damaged. I can give you an exchange, or a store credit.”

    Customer: *begins to get angry” “You didn’t tell me that I couldn’t get a refund when I bought them. That’s false advertising! All other shops do refunds!”

    Me: *points to sign that is literally ON THE COUNTER* “There is a sign right here that states our refund policy; we can’t ask our volunteers to recite it to every customer. If you had asked when you bought the shoes then we would have explained the policy to you. All our profits go to charity, which is why we don’t offer refunds; most other charity shops have the exact same policy.”

    Customer: “That sign is too low; it’s ridiculous to expect people to read that!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but there is nowhere else that we could put the sign, and I feel that it’s quite clear. It’s on the counter, so everybody who buys something can see it.”

    Customer: “You should put it there!” *points to a display cabinet*

    Me: “Um… If we put it there, nobody would be able to see things inside the cabinet.”

    Customer: *by this point she is practically shouting in my face* “That’s not my problem! Your sign isn’t clear enough! I want a refund for these shoes. They’re for my mother and they’re the wrong size.”

    Me: “I’m sorry; I really can’t give you a refund because you bought shoes the wrong size. You can have an exchange or credit.”

    Customer: “I can’t believe this! This is RIDICULOUS, it’s false advertising, and I’m not leaving without a refund.”

    (My manager and another manager who happened to be in the shop have come out to try to calm the customer down.)

    Manager: “Everything she’s said is absolutely right. Our policy is stated right in front of you and as a charity shop, we don’t do refunds. It’s a very common policy.”

    Customer: “I’m going to call the police! I can’t believe this! I’m calling them now!” *she takes out her phone*

    (At this point, another customer steps in:)

    Customer #2: “If you call the police, who do you think they’re going to have a problem with: the shop following their policy, which is stated RIGHT THERE, or you screaming in their faces?”

    (The customer shouts some more about calling the police and then leaves, throwing the shoes on the counter.)

    Manager: “Out of interest, how much were the shoes?”

    Me: “£5…”

    No ID, No Idea, Part 17

    | NC, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

    (I’m working at one of the places in the park that sells alcohol and it is required that I card every single person no matter how old they are. A customer who is clearly older has come up wishing to purchase a beer but doesn’t have her ID and my supervisor is standing next to me.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but without your ID I can’t sell to you.”

    Supervisor: “Unfortunately, she’s right. It doesn’t matter how old someone is. I saw a guy that had to have been at least seventy trying to purchase beer and I still had to card him.”

    Customer: “I guess I’ll just come back with my ID.”

    (The customer returns a few minutes later.)

    Customer: “Your supervisor’s gone. Can you just pretend like you’re looking at something?”

    (The customer then proceeds to hand me a football card.)

    Me: “Ma’am, your ID has to be state issued…”

    No ID, No Idea, Part 16
    No ID, No Idea, Part 15
    No ID, No Idea, Part 14

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