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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    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!

    Giving The French Stick, Part Deux

    | Tilbury, ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (I am about 18 and working at a sub shop. Two blonde beauties from Quebec come through the door. I live in Ontario and most of the people in my little town speak English; however, I went to French school.)

    Me: “Welcome to [Sandwich Shop]. What can I get you?”

    Customer #1: *in thick French accent, begins placing her order*

    (As I cut the bread and start to prep, I start hearing them talking in French, looking at me but speaking to each other; they didn’t even have the decency to whisper.)

    Customer #1: *in French slang* “That girl is so ugly. Look at her clothes.”

    Customer #2: “I know. Like, why would she even go out in public?”

    (This continues as I make their subs with a big smile on my face. They go on about how they’re worried that my touch will contaminate their food, among other slurs about the province and how much Quebec is better. After paying their total I say in perfectly clear French:)

    Me: “Merci d’avoir choisi [Franchise]. J’espère que t’aime ton voyage en Ontario.” *Thank you for choosing [Franchise]. I hope you like your trip to Ontario.*

    (Their faces turned white and they quickly exited the store, egos tightly tucked between their legs. I apologized to my mom that night for always giving her trouble about making me go to French school!)

    Related:
    Giving The French Stick

    Faster The Phones The Slower The Service

    | Ada, OK, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

    (I work in a popular hardware store. The following happens as I’m dealing with a family of five or six. The mother and one of her daughters approach my register, both looking at their cell phones.)

    Me: “Good afternoon! Did you find everything you needed today?”

    (Both women stare at their phones; 15 seconds go by.)

    Woman: “Huh?”

    Me: *repeats myself*

    (Another 15 seconds go by.)

    Woman: “Oh, yeah, just this stuff here.”

    (I proceed to ring up their merchandise.)

    Me: “Okay! You’re total is [total]; would you like to use [Store] card on your purchase?”

    (Neither the woman or her daughter answer me. Another 15 seconds go by.)

    Woman: “What?”

    Me: *repeats myself*

    Woman: “Oh! They aren’t done playing yet. We have some more.”

    (We wait for a few minutes while the rest of the woman’s family “plays” with some of the stuff we have set out on display so that people can test out the merchandise before they buy it. The rest of the family finally comes to the register, but no one says anything to me although I have smiled and asked what else I can get for them. They are now all on their phones and I ask repeatedly for the husband to please tell me what they need from a different department. Several more minutes follow of me asking for information, followed by silence, and then a confused “what?” As the rest of their merchandise is relayed to me between riveting bouts of cell phone induced silence, I finally complete the order. By this time I am extremely frustrated, but manage to smile and try to tell them their new total.)

    Me: “Okay! Your new total is—”

    Woman: “Wait! I have a coupon!”

    (She proceeds to scroll frantically on her phone. When she turns it to face me, it is the store’s cell-phone app, but it is on a black screen with only a search bar showing.)

    Woman: “What do I do with this? It’s for five dollars off.”

    Me: *finally fed up* “Ma’am, I don’t know. Our coupons are actually sent through—”

    Woman: “Oh! Never mind. Let’s just finish this up.”

    Me: *unable to control my exasperation and sarcasm drips through* “Thank you!”

    Woman: “Wow! You sure are in a hurry to get rid of us now, aren’t you?!”

    Me: *internally screaming*

    Shot Himself In The Foot

    | NV, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal

    (I’m a cashier in a sporting goods store. All of our more expensive products – anything from firearms and ammo to football gloves and high-end sunglasses – are kept behind a counter that is separate from the registers and located right next to the manager’s office. The managers are the only ones who have the keys to the knife drawers and gun cabinets, but any employee can handle small stuff like ammo and sunglasses. Customers are NOT allowed to get their own ammo – only a store associate can grab it for them and it MUST be brought up to the registers by that associate to prevent theft.)

    Me: “Hi there! How can I help you today?”

    Customer: “Ammo. I have a BB gun and I need the ammo for it.”

    Me: “Absolutely! If you go back over there—” *points to gun counter* “—I’ll call someone over and they can help you.”

    Customer: “Thanks!”

    (He heads over to the counter and I intercom one of my managers to help him. As soon as I hang up the phone, a line starts up at my register, so I begin working through the line. A few minutes later, I see one of my coworkers slip behind me and set a package of BBs on my counter, with the customer following right behind them.)

    Me: “Find everything all right?”

    Customer: “Yeah, but I’m a bit upset at your manager. He barked at me while I was over there.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir.”

    Customer: “Yeah, he snapped at me for going behind the counter.”

    Me: “…”

    Customer: “Yeah, I got tired of waiting, so I went back there and grabbed them off the shelf.”

    (From the time I sent him over to the counter to the time he walked back to my register, a whopping two minutes had passed, hardly a long wait for a store our size. I was honestly stunned that my head manager hadn’t killed him, or at least tackled him to the ground, for pulling a stunt like that.)

    Me: “Again, I’m sorry, sir.” *finishes transaction* “Have a nice day.”

    (Once he left, I turned to my coworker and frowned, pondering how he managed to rationalize the act of going behind the gun counter of a national sporting goods retailer and NOT think it was a bad idea.)

    No ID, No Idea, Part 22

    | Norway | At The Checkout, Underaged

    (I’m at our local grocery store, buying some snacks and alcoholic beverages. The drinking age here is 18, and the store policy is to check the ID of anyone who looks younger than 25. Since I’ve used the same store my entire life, most of the cashiers know me and don’t bother to ID me. The customer behind me, who is also purchasing alcohol, has been glaring at me through the entire transaction. It’s her turn.)

    Cashier: “I’ll need to see an ID, please.”

    Customer: “Why do you need that?”

    Cashier: “Store policy.” *points to sign*

    Customer: *points to me* “You didn’t check her ID, and I’m clearly older than her. I’m not even sure she’s legal.”

    Cashier: “She is. ID, please.”

    Customer: “No! Not until you ID HER.” *glares at me*

    Cashier: *sighs and turns to me* “[My Name], may I see an ID, please?”

    Me: “Sure.” *hands over my university ID*

    Cashier: “Oh, you’re at [University] now? How’s that going?” *hands my ID back*

    Me: “It’s great, thanks for asking. Say ‘hi’ to your parents for me.” *I turn to leave*

    Cashier: “You too!” *to customer* We’ve known each other since we were six. ID, please.”

    Related:
    No ID, No Idea, Part 21
    No ID, No Idea, Part 20
    No ID, No Idea, Part 19

    How To Narrowly Avoid An Argument

    , | Sydney, NSW, Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

    (It is late at night and I have been in the order taker booth in the drive-thru. The lane itself can be narrow at some points and many customers sometimes struggle in navigating it. A customer drives up and I can see that he has trouble navigating the drive-thru lane.)

    Customer: “Your drive-thru is really narrow. You should fix it.”

    Me: *with a weird look* “Well, I didn’t design the bloody thing 30-plus years ago, so why are you telling me?”

    (The customer then remained silent during the rest of the transaction and drove off.)

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