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  • Bigotry Is Not On The Menu
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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!

    Heed The Words Of Wisdom

    | WA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (Our libraries offer self-checkout stations in addition to staff-assisted checkout. The self-check consists of a touch-screen monitor and barcode scanner. Using the scanner can take some practice. If it doesn’t get the entire item barcode an error message appears on the monitor. There are also several other error messages a customer can get regarding late fees, exceeding the checkout limit, etc. Because the monitors face customers and not the staff, we don’t know what error someone has unless we run around the counter to look. Some customers aren’t great at articulating which error message they’ve received or for asking for assistance at all.)

    Customer: *scans an item* “There. Are. Words.”

    Me: “I’m sorry? Did you get an err—”


    Me: “Let’s take a look. It’s asking you to tap the ‘OK’ button and scan the item again because it misread the barcode.”

    Customer: *she jabs at the screen and re-scans the item aggressively*

    Me: “Yay, it worked!”

    Customer: *grunts and walks away*

    Coworker: “If she couldn’t handle reading the screen, how will she manage with the book she’s checked out?”

    Hard Of Hearing For Hard Customers

    | Wichita Falls, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Health & Body

    (I’m deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other. Since I’ve been like this all my life, I’ve learned to adjust as well as I could. I have a habit of tilting my head and leaning in with my good ear. Most people don’t say anything or don’t even notice. I was serving this customer when this happened.)

    Me: “Welcome to [Store]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “I want a…” *mumbles while looking down*

    Me: “I’m so sorry. I didn’t catch that.”

    Customer: *looks annoyed and mumbles it again*

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry. I’m hard of hearing, and I just can’t catch what you’re saying. Would you speak up just a bit, again I’m sorry.”

    (She finally looks up and rolls her eyes.)

    Customer: “What, they actually hire you people now?”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “If you can’t hear like a normal person then you shouldn’t be working!”

    Me: *starting to get upset* “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I like working, and since I can work, I’d rather do that than go on disability.”

    Customer: “Well since you can work just soooo well, then I guess you heard my order. And I’m not repeating it.”

    Me: “I didn’t hear it ma’am, and I don’t really want to just take a guess at your order.”

    Customer: *very loudly* “Then get me another server, you freak!”

    (Luckily my manager overheard and escorted her out, telling her not to come back. Thankfully, most people are actually really nice about it, and will just speak up.)

    I’m Not Even Here Right Now

    | The Netherlands | At The Checkout, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I’ve just found the piece of underwear I was looking for, from the mall’s own brand. The closest check-out happens to be their shop-in-shop lingerie store, so I go there to let the cashier ring up my item.)

    Cashier: “That’ll be [total]. Would you like to get a savings card?”

    Me: “Perhaps. What does it get me?”

    Cashier: “€5 off on your next purchase at [Lingerie Store], over €25 and up.”

    Me: “Oh, no thanks. I never shop here.”

    Cashier: *gives me a strange look*

    Me: “I mean, I never shop for €25 here at [Lingerie Store].”

    Cashier: “Oh…” *hands me the receipt* “Well, have a nice day, then.”

    Sexy Money

    | Sweden | At The Checkout, Language & Words, Money, Rude & Risque

    (The Swedish word for the number six is ‘sex.’ The cashier is just about to charge an elderly couple for their groceries.)

    Cashier: “That’s 106 kronor.”

    (The old man hands him a 100 kronor bill.)

    Cashier: “I need six kronor more.”

    Old Man: *to cashier* “What did you say?”

    Old Woman: “He said he wanted sex.”

    Cashier: *getting red but trying to smile* “Six kronor more.”

    Old Man: “What?”

    Old Woman: *loudly* “He said he wants sex!”

    (Both the queue behind them and the queue for the other register go silent and stare.)

    Cashier: *loudly* “Kronor!”

    Old Man: *loudly* “Speak up woman!”

    Old Woman: *almost screaming* “THE CASHIER WANTS SEX FROM YOU!”

    Cashier: *screaming* “SIX KRONOR!”

    Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 3

    | MA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Theme Of The Month

    (I work for a popular pharmacy/retail chain. We have a rewards card that can be linked to a customer’s online account or their mobile app that gives them the ability to send coupons directly to their card electronically, eliminating the need for paper coupons. The customer simply scans their card at check out and their coupons will appear to me, the cashier, and I can put them in right from there.)

    Customer: “I was supposed to have a 25% coupon on there.”

    (No coupon popped up at the end of the transaction, meaning the coupon either expired, or she did not complete the sending process.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, but a coupon didn’t pop up.”

    Customer: *exasperated sigh, giving me a look of disgust* “Well, that SUCKS.”

    Me: “I know, Sorry about that. The new coupon system can be a pain in the neck. Do you have the coupon anywhere I can see so I can—”

    Customer: *cutting me off in a very rude tone* “You know what? Just take it! This f****** sucks!”

    (The customer then flung the nail polish at my chest and stormed out of the store!)

    Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 2
    Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount

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