October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

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!

No ID, No Idea, Part 21

| PA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Underaged

(The company that I work has recently switched to an ‘ID All’ policy. We gave all customers more than a two weeks’ notice in several ways (handouts, print outs at the bottom of the receipt, and warning every customer that makes a tobacco purchase that they will have to provide a photo ID starting on a certain date.) Despite our best to make the transition a smooth one, there are many customers, particularly regulars, who are not too happy with this. It has now been more than a month since the policy has been in place and people are still complaining. The gentleman appears to be in his late forties. I also am very petite and have always looked much younger than I am.)

Me: “Hello, sir, how are you doing today?”

Him: “Fine. Gimme [Brand cigarettes].”

Me: *grabbing that brand* “Okay, will that be all?”

Him: “Of course that’s all!”

Me: “All right, could I please see your ID?”

Him: “Are you f***ing kidding me? I’m old enough to be your grandfather!”

(I’m used to this type of reaction from our customers around his age and patiently start to explain our new policy. There are multiple signs all over the place stating that we ID all, as well as a stack of pamphlets right in front of him explaining the policy. All the while he is hurling abuse at me.)

Him: “How old do you have to be to buy cigarettes?”

Me: “PA requires you to be 18, though some states are 19.”

Him: “Well, I’m obviously older than that! Are you even old enough to be selling those things?”

Me: “There is no age requirement to sell tobacco products, although [Company] does require you to be 16 to work here. I am, however, 18, so I could legally purchase this with proper identification.”

Him: “There’s no f****** way you’re 18. When’s your birthdate?”

(I’ve had this question asked many times by customers who don’t believe I’m old enough to work at the store, so I usually just give it to them.)

Him: “Seriously? I thought you were like 12!”

Me: “So, you were willing to harass a 12 year old over a policy that I have no control over, which has been in effect for 6 weeks, and which had a further 2 weeks notice given to all customers, despite the fact that there is ample signage everywhere, including right next to [Brand cigarettes he wanted to purchase] which states that we require identification from EVERYONE, all the while causing a disturbance and holding up all of the customers in line behind you, simply because you refuse to show your ID? Which if I do not ask for and see I will lose my job and be required to pay a fine, and all of this because you’re offended that I asked for your ID? I know that you are over 18. Everyone here can clearly see that you are over 18! Now can I please just see your ID? If not I cannot and will not sell you the cigarettes, and I will help the person behind you, who has been patiently waiting the entire time you’ve been causing this ruckus!”

(He meekly hands over his ID and pay for his cigarettes without saying another word. The next person in line steps up as he’s putting his change back into his wallet. This customer has his ID already out.)

Customer #2: *pleasantly* “Hello there! How are you doing today?”

Me: “I’m doing pretty good; thanks for asking! What can I get for you today?”

Customer #2: “I would like two boxes of [Brand], please. And of course you can have my ID!”

(The first customer left as quickly as possible, but not before glaring at Customer #2.)

No ID, No Idea, Part 20
No ID, No Idea, Part 19
No ID, No Idea, Part 18

The Medium Suddenly Felt Very Small

, | Daytona Beach, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink

(I am a customer waiting in line at a popular fast food restaurant’s drive thru. I am next to place my order, and behind a large black SUV with a middle-aged blonde soccer mom type in the driver’s seat, another person in the passenger’s seat, and what must be her son in the back seat. She places the order for the son and begins to give her order.)

Mother: “I’d like a #4.”

Cashier: “And what size would you like that?”

Mother: “Medium.”

Cashier: “Okay, and what to drink?”

Mother: “Medium.”

Cashier: “I’m sorry, what would you like to drink?”

Mother: “MEDIUM!”

Cashier: “Miss, I’m sorry, I just want to know what you would like your beverage to be today.”

Mother: “MEDI—”

(At this point I have had more than enough, as I detest people who don’t listen when ordering and treat food service employees like they are lesser. I stick my head out the window and shout at the top of my lungs.)


(The mother sticks her head out her window as well to glare at me, when she notices my gleaming, freshly shaven bald head, large beard, and scowl barely covered by my sunglasses. She turns back to the speaker and meekly replies…)

Mother: “A Diet Coke, please.”

(After I give my order, actually giving the size and beverage without needed to be prompted, I pull up to pay.)

Cashier: “Oh, my God, thank you. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that!”

Me: “Don’t worry. For a long time I used to work in restaurants. I’ve wanted to do that forever, too!”

Should Have Given Them Decaf

| ON, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Language & Words

(I’m in line at a coffee shop before work when I overhear the following conversation between the cashier and the exhausted looking customer in front of me.)

Cashier: “What can I get you?”

Customer: “Coffee”

Cashier: “Any particular one?”

Customer: “Coffee”

Cashier: “Okay, what size would you like?”

Customer: “Coffee”

Cashier: “All righty, then, one extra large mocha supreme with a shot of espresso coming up.”

Customer: *while handing her $10* “Thank you.”

(The cashier got the coffee and the man took it and his change with one more mumbled “coffee” and left.)

Me: “That was weird.”

Cashier: “No kidding”

Me: “That’s the most expensive drink on the menu isn’t it?”

Cashier: “Yep.”

Dropping The Change You Want To See In The World

| Berkeley, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Health & Body

(I’m ringing up a frail, elderly customer who is having a hard time getting her money out, when she drops a quarter onto the floor. She turns to the customer behind her in line, who is in her late 30s.)

Customer #1: “Excuse me, do you mind helping me pick that up?”

(Customer #2 sighs, but bends down and picks it up for her.)

Customer #1: “Thank you so much.”

(I continue ringing her up, when she drops a coin again.)

Customer #1: *again to Customer #2* “I’m so sorry, do you mind helping me again?”

Customer #2: “Okay, but if this keeps happening, maybe you should ask somebody else.”

Customer #1: “I’m sorry; I have arthritis and—”

Customer #2: “Yeah, well, I have my own problems, lady.”

Me: *speechless*

Sadly This Behavior Is Old News

| PA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests

Customer: “One copy of the local paper, please.”

Me: “Okay, that’ll be [amount].”

Customer: “I just want to look at it for a minute.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, our newspapers are not for browsing. You will need to purchase it.”

Customer: “When the h*** did that become a rule?”

Me: “People were clipping coupons, marking up, and otherwise rendering the papers unsalable, so management—”

Customer: “Well, I’m not going to do that! I’m here to buy gifts. Just give me the d*** paper.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t do that. I’ll be happy to hold a copy for you until you’re done shopping and ready to be rung up.”

Customer: “You f****** little b****. Whatever happened to ‘the customer is always right’? I’m one of your best customers! Get me your manager!”

(I call my manager to the counter. The customer continues to berate me, at one point telling me she hopes I burn in h***.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “Your employee will not let me merely look at a newspaper. I came in here today intending to purchase gift cards for my entire family for the holidays, but if this is the kind of customer service I get, I will take my business elsewhere!”

(My manager looks at this customer, and I can see the moment he picks business model over me.)

Manager: “Your behavior towards my employee was very rude, but given the holiday season, I’ll let it slide. Here is a newspaper. Please bring it to the checkout with your purchases when you’re ready.”

(The customer walked off with her paper, and I was graciously given five minutes in the back to ‘get myself together.’ Two hours later, the cafe employees brought the news that the customer clipped three coupons out of the paper, spilled water on it, and left without buying anything.)

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