Featured Story:
  • Always Time For A Rhyme
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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!

    Surviving Their Snipes

    , | ACT, Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

    (My fiancé’s birthday is coming up. As game and console collectors we often browse game stores, but mostly we go to a particular second-hand game store where we find some real old treasures and odd things we don’t see very often, and have become regulars. A few days earlier he had spotted a sniper game for the Wii which comes with a full-sized fake sniper rifle that you mount the Wii remote on, but we didn’t buy it due to lack of funds during a billing period. While he goes to work a few days later I go to pick it up for him as a birthday surprise. As this is a second hand store, what people sell to the store is what the store has. There is no inventory of several of an item unless several were sold to them. Two rough looking men are outside the store as I walk in. I tell the lady working what I want to buy. The two men walk in and hover over the sniper game eagerly, just as the lady serving me takes it out of the display cabinet to pack up for me.)

    Rough Man #1: “Hey! What are you doing? We saw it first!”

    Rough Man #2: “Yeah! That’s ours! Don’t you dare sell that to HER!”

    Cashier: “Sorry, it’s being sold to this customer. We unfortunately don’t have any more in stock at the moment until someone else may sell us theirs. I’m terribly sorry.”

    Rough Man #1: “But we saw it first! We have a right to have it first!” *to me* “You can’t buy it. Give it up!”

    Rough Man #2: “Yeah! Give it up! The rules are the first who see it has a RIGHT to buy first! We override your rights!”

    Me: “Nope, sorry. This is for my fiancé’s birthday. I’m buying it regardless of if you saw it first or not. Whoever enquires first is the early bird. Maybe you can find one online.”

    Rough Man #1: “B****! You can’t do that!” *to the cashier* “You better not give it to her! It’s OURS! We have more of a right to it than her! Don’t you dare f****** sell it to her!”

    (At this point the cashier serving me looks a bit frightened. I don’t move from my post in front of her, being protective of both her and my fiancé’s gift as both of the men approach behind me very closely. I feel very wary as they both stand there trying to look as tall as possible, loudly swearing at me, muttering horrid names under their breaths at me. It doesn’t work and even though I feel scared, I stand my ground because I am not one to keel over to rude people, especially when I am buying gifts for loved ones and when they’re scaring others around me.)

    Rough Man #1: “You stupid s***, don’t be a f****** b**** and hand it over. It’s OURS and we’re buying it!”

    Me: “No way. It belongs to my fiancé. I’ll be walking out of here with it. My fiancé saw this days ago and I WILL be giving it to him for his birthday. Why don’t you find one elsewhere? This one is taken.”

    (I purchased it. All the while they were calling me every name in the book and trying to scare me as I stood tall, even though inside I was scared that they might get violent. The transaction went through, approved. I got my receipt, wished the lady serving me a good day, gave her a look that said to stay safe, and I left victoriously, tightly clutching the gift. I was still scared, though, as I was shopping alone, and made sure to quickly get on my bus home before they saw which direction I went. My fiancé was so happy with his gift, and thinks I’m tough as anything for standing up for myself.)

    Freely Bathing In Stupidity

    | Hiram, GA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money, Pets & Animals

    (The pet store I work at sells coupon books for $20 that are meant for people who are planning to buy puppies or have just bought them. They greatly help with a lot of the up-front cost and include a sign-up for the customer to continue receiving coupons through their email. A customer comes up with a grooming slip to pay for her dog’s grooming. She is holding a puppy kit and reading it over.)

    Me: “Hey, how are you today? Find everything okay?”

    Customer: “Yeah. Hey, am I allowed to take this book thing home with me and decide later if I want to come back and buy it?”

    Me: “Um, no, ma’am. You have to purchase merchandise before you are allowed to leave the store with it.”

    Customer:” Oh… Well, I guess I don’t want it then. Maybe I’ll get it some other time.”

    (She puts the puppy kit back with the ones at the register and places the grooming slip and a coupon on the counter. I notice the coupon is for $5 off the grooming. In the puppy kit, there is a coupon for a free puppy bath which is what is listed on the grooming slip. To try and save her some money, I decide to explain that to her.)

    Customer: “Hmm… sounds good. I’ll take it.”

    Me: “So you do want to get a puppy kit?”

    Customer: “No.”

    Me: *confused look* “Then what are you wanting to get, ma’am?”

    Customer: “Just the free bath.”

    Me: “Ma’am, the coupon for the free bath is in the puppy kit.”

    Customer: “So, I’ll take the coupon. But I don’t think I want the kit today.”

    Me: “Ma’am, unless you purchase the book I can’t just give you a free bath. It’s a coupon included in the puppy kit and you can’t use the coupons without buying it first.”

    Customer: “Oh… Well, I don’t want the kit thing tonight.”

    Me: “Okay. I’ll just run it through with the $5 coupon, then.”

    Customer: “Yeah, that would be good. Since I can’t get the bath for free without the book, I’ll at least save something that way…”

    Should Have Been Carted Away

    | Cedar Hill, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money

    (The woman currently being served has a shopping cart PILED with food, clothes and toiletries, but most of it has been rung up and bagged, so I think she is almost done. However, the next man in line, cart about 2/3 full, turns out to be her adult son, and his cart is added to her purchases. No problem, I think; only one payment to process instead of two, this will be even faster. Then the trouble begins.)

    Cashier: “Your total is [nearly $900].”

    Customer: “Okay.” *swipes card*

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, ma’am, it’s declined.”

    Customer: “Try it again!”

    Cashier: *does so* “Hmm, declined. Do you have another card?”

    Customer: “No, I know there’s money on that card! You’re not doing it right!”

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, ma’am, sometimes the machine doesn’t read the strip. Let me type your number in manually… No, I’m sorry, it’s still declined. Do you have another method of payment, like a check?”

    Customer: “Who writes checks anymore? I got this check CARD! That’s what it’s for!”

    Cashier: “How about a credit card? Visa, Mastercard, Amex—”

    Customer: “No, credit cards are a scam. Are you saying I don’t have any money? I HAVE MONEY!” *waving debit card*

    Cashier: “It doesn’t tell me why it’s declined, ma’am, just that it is. There’s an ATM right there, if you’d like to step out of line and verify your balance while I ring up the next person—”

    Customer: “NO! You’re helping ME! Don’t you move!”

    (She has her adult son stand behind her carts so I can’t move up to the scanner belt. The cashier sighs, and shoots me an ‘I’m sorry’ look. The customer goes over to ATM and fiddles around for a few minutes, then gets on her cell phone to the bank but is stymied by the automated prompts. I think this surely can’t go on much longer, as we’re approaching the 15-minute mark for her transaction.)

    Cashier: “Ma’am, if you can’t pay at this time, I need you to move aside and let other customers through. I can suspend your transaction so we won’t have to ring everything up again when you have your payment ready.”

    Customer: “NO. I have money on this card! I always use this card here, and you always give me trouble about it!”

    Cashier: “Do you have another card I can try? Or possibly you could remove some items from your transaction and try again with a lower total—”

    Customer: “NO! I need all this stuff! And I always pay with THIS CARD! I’m not on welfare. I have money! Why won’t you take my card?!”

    (The cashier summons a manager, who tells the woman the same thing; if she doesn’t have a working debit card or other form of payment, she will have to leave her two full carts of bagged items and come back when she can pay.)

    Customer: “…and THAT is why I always carry cash!”

    (She whipped out a huge roll of bills and peeled off the required amount, with plenty left over, then strolled out with her son and their two shopping carts as every employee and customer in earshot stood with jaws on the floor.)

    More Taxing To Some People

    | Austin, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

    (A customer brings a pack of gum to the counter. The MSRP, 69 cents, is printed on it.)

    Me: “Okay, that’ll be 75 cents.”

    Customer: *practically yelling* “No, it says 69 cents right here!”

    Me: “Yes, and sales tax makes it 75.”

    Customer: “Tax is 8 cents to a dollar, and this is less than a dollar, so there isn’t supposed to be any tax on it!”

    Me: “That’s… that’s not how sales tax works…”

    (He left without buying the gum.)

    Making Universal University Assumptions

    | USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, School

    (I am in college and working full-time as the receptionist for a car repair shop to pay my way. Because I don’t always have customers calling or coming in, the management allows me to bring my homework with me, provided I can put it down immediately when someone phones or comes in. I am 21 and look very young for my age. One older customer walks in and looks down at the book on the desk while I’m pulling her file.)

    Customer: “Does your teacher know you’re skipping class?”

    Me: “Well… this is just my homework. Now, about your car—”

    Customer: “What? High schools don’t have class at night. Is it even legal for you to be here?”

    Me: “Actually, I’m in college. I’m 21; I just look a lot younger than I am.”

    Customer: “Do not lie to me, young lady. You should be ashamed of yourself. Skipping class and lying. Does your manager know this?”

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I’m not in high school. And I’m working on my schoolwork here, so I’m obviously not trying to ditch schoolwork. Now, if I can get you to sign these papers here, we’ll get the estimator to come and—”

    Customer: “Nonsense! You’re just trying to get out of responsibility, and now that I’ve caught you, you’re trying to distract me by talking about my car! You young people dropping out of school is what is causing the economy issues we’re having!”

    (I quietly flip over the book to show her the cover, which lists the state university name, as well as a college-level class name.)

    Customer: “What forms did you need me to fill out?”

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