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!

In Line And Out Of Line, Part 8

| TX, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I work at a major bookstore and it is New Year’s Day. We are open, but business is fairly slow. I am at the registers along with one other co-worker. We work through a line of people that never reaches more than three people long. A gruff man comes up to me to check out.)

Customer: “About d*** time. I was in that line forever.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m sorry about that, sir. This is the busiest it has been all day. Luckily we have two people working the registers.”

Customer: “Well, why the f*** do you have 10 registers and only two of you working them?”

Me: “Well, we never really need all of them unless it’s the week before Christmas. We can work through a line pretty fast. Sorry you had to wait so long.”

(My customer looks at the elderly couple checking out next to me as they write a check.)

Customer: “It’s because all of these f****** are using their check books and crap like that. Makes it last longer.”

(I usually kinda joke it off if a customer makes a racy remark, but just stare blankly at him.)

Me: “Yeah, well, your total is [total].”

(Customer digs through his wallet and pocket to get several bills that are mostly wadded up. He begins to huff loudly as I try to straighten them all out.)

Customer: “Maybe it’s the f****** cashiers that make the lines last so long.”

(I deliberately took my sweet time handing him back the change.)

In Line And Out Of Line, Part 7
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 6
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 5

This Is Really Beginning To Grate

| Victoria, BC, Canada | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests

(I’m a cashier in a department store. While I do have some product knowledge, I’m not a salesperson and am not allowed to leave the service desk. A middle-aged man comes through the exit doors and starts snapping his fingers at me.)

Customer: “You! Girly!”

Me: “How can I help you, sir?”

Customer: “I need you to ring through a fire grate!”

Me: “We have several different styles of fireplace grates, sir. One of the associates in the hardware department would be happy to help you pick the right one.”

Customer: “No, no, no! This isn’t difficult! Just ring me one—” *waves his debit card* “—and bring it to me!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I’m just the cashier, and I’m not allowed to leave the service desk. As I said, an associate in hardware can help you pick the right one.”

Customer: “No! I can’t leave my car! Why is this so hard for you to understand!? Just get me one!”

Me: “Your car, sir?”

Customer: “Yes, my car! They could tow it!”

Me: “Where did you park it?”

Customer: “Right across the street!”

Me: “Oh, it’s Sunday, sir. Street parking is unlimited. You could leave it all day and you wouldn’t even get a ticket.”

(The customer still refuses to leave the doorway, which is starting to cause a bit of a traffic jam for customers trying to leave.)

Me: “Let me just call a hardware associate for you, sir.”

Customer: *sarcastically* “Yeah, you do that.”

(I page for a hardware associate and my manager takes the job.)

Manager: “What can I do for you, sir?”

Customer: *pointing at me* “This girl won’t help me with my grate!”

Manager: “I’m sorry for the confusion, but the cashiers aren’t allowed to leave the service desk. But if you’d like to come with me, the grates are just around the corner, here.”

Customer: *growls* “I’m. Not. Leaving. My. Car!”

Manager: “…All right, then.”

(She rolls her eyes as she runs around the corner and grabs the most basic grate.)

Manager: “Is this one to your satisfaction, sir?”

Customer: “Ugh, fine.” *tosses her his debit card* “Just ring it through!”

Manager: “Sir, this is a debit card. You’ll have to come to the desk to enter your PIN.”

Me: “It’s already cued up for you. It won’t even take 10 seconds, sir. I promise your car will be fine.”

Customer: *growls some more* “Why do you have to make this so difficult!?”

(He stomps over and aggressively stabs the pin pad. Once he enters his PIN he tosses the debit machine onto the desk, not paying any mind to the cringe-worthy crash of delicate technology.)

Customer: “There! Now, who’s taking this to my car?!”

(My manager was more than happy to take it out to his car, if only to get him out of the store!)

Not Gifted In The Art Of Returns

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

(While starting up my medical program, I am working at an outdoor style clothing store, which is a person’s name and not just initials or a place, in the mall. We are pretty busy, resulting in me being stuck on the register since I am the fastest at it.  I am the team leader for the current shift when this guy comes in with a hand full of socks, two shirts, and a pair of jeans. With him is a reasonably attractive blond, who I believe is his wife, since they have matching wedding bands on.)

Me: “Hey, how are you? What can I do for you?”

Him: “Well, my secretary got me all this stuff for my birthday and none of it is my style. I have never shopped at [Store] before and I don’t intend to. Not to mention none of these fit.”

Me: “Oh, no problem. Do you happen to have the receipt or gift receipt?”

(The man sighs, tapping the jeans with the palm of his hands.)

Him: “No, why would I? It was a gift. I told you that.”

Me: “Which is why I asked if you had a gift receipt. It’s all good, though. I can still get these returned for you. I don’t remember any of these having a sale outside of our coupons.”

(I ring everything up, coming up with a decent amount, and let him know.)

Me: “So, no, nothing was on sale, so I can give you the full price of it all. However, I can only do a gift card or a merchandise credit.”

Him: “WHAT?! Just give me the cash!”

Me: “I cannot do that. The register doesn’t even give me the option to do that. I will, unfortunately, also need your driver license to finalize the return.”

Him: “This is absolutely uncalled for! I am NOT giving your my license! I am NOT taking store credit! I told you I NEVER SHOP HERE! There is NOTHING you have that I want! I want to talk to who’s in charge!”

Me: “Hello, that’s me.”

(I smile and wave at him like an anime character.)

Him: “This is absolute bull-s***! You are an a**-hole! I can’t believe you don’t want to help me!”

Me: “I am helping you. You just don’t want the help.”

(At this point he grabs everything, while still screaming about how the ‘Return Anything Without A Receipt’ sign is a lie, so I point out where it says ‘Store Credit.’ As he’s screaming profanities at this point, I tell him he needs to leave or I’m having the police escort him out, since they have officers walking the mall. He hands the items to his arm candy, and he can’t help but scream one more time.)

Him: “I am NEVER shopping here again!

Me: “According to you, you never shopped here to begin with! You’re kind of like a vegetarian boycotting KFC: It doesn’t matter.”

No Will For A Refill

| MO, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

(I’m currently at the register because the manager on shift doesn’t like to be up there all day. I normally don’t mind too much, and he’ll put someone else on if I’m just not feeling it. It is getting late and we have several customers in the store when the manager comes up and leans in close, which is always a sign that he’s talking about a customer.)

Manager: *whispering* “There’s a man in a baseball cap with a frozen refill in a mug and he’s going to say it’s ice.”

(After he says that he gets off the register to return to the store and I wait for the man in question. After a couple of minutes a man fitting the description comes up with a fifty two ounce mug and says it is an ice refill.)

Me: “My manager just told me that that is a frozen refill.”

Man: *getting grumpy* “No, it’s ice.”

Me: “If it’s ice, could you open it and show me?”

Man: “Fine, just take it!”

(He shoved the mug at me, luckily not knocking it off the counter, before he stormed out of the store. I double-checked that, yes, the mug was filled with one of our frozen drinks. A few minutes later my manager came back up and told me that the man saw him and threatened ‘to get him.’ All of this over a dollar-something refill that we caught him trying to filch.)

The Employee Fee

| Mesquite, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Liars & Scammers

(I work in the home department of a widely-known department store. It’s close to Christmas and on this day, I happen to be in the china/dinnerware section. A woman with a child in a stroller and another on-the-way comes up to my register with a Christmas tree shaped candy dish.)

Me: “Good evening! Did you find everything okay?”

Customer: “Don’t ring that up yet. I just want to know how much it is.”

(At this point, I have a chance to get a better look at her. She has fingernail scars on her face and a ratty t-shirt that looks like she hasn’t changed for a week. I get a bad vibe about her but I try my best to be polite and courteous. I look and the tag on the bottom of the dish.)

Me: “It’s $15.99, miss.”

Customer: “How much would that be with my employee discount?”

Me: “You’re an employee? Which store do you work at?”

Customer: “Ummm… the one at [Nearby Mall].”

Me: “Oh, really? What department are you in?”

Customer: “Uh… jewelry. Look, can we just get on with this?”

Me: “Well, the employee discount is 25% off so this would be about $12. Do you need to make a payment on your card first?”

(The employee discount only works with a prepaid card.)

Customer: “Oh, I don’t have it with me. Can’t I just give you my driver license?”

(At this point, I know she’s lying about being an employee, but I keep going through the motions.)

Me: “Well, if you don’t have your card with you, we can just call the card service department and get the number. All I need is you social.”

Customer: “You don’t need my social security number!”

Me: “Have you never done this before? All you do is call the toll-free number right here and enter your number. You can key it on the phone yourself. I don’t need to see it.”

Customer: “You DON’T need my social.”

Me: “It’s how all the employees look up their card number. I’ve helped several do it. Look, you can use the phone right here at the register. I’ve done it myself a couple times!”

(I try to remain helpful and polite while trying to not to laugh. Regular employees know and expect this routine.)


Me: “If you would like, I can call [Manager at Nearby Mall location] to confirm your status and clarify how we should confirm your employee discount card number.”

(The customer stomps away from the register, screaming.)


(After she walks out, an older employee, who saw and heard everything (and has been at this store for 6 years), walks up to me.)

Older Employee: “I’ve never seen her before in my life… and she’s not even old enough to have worked anywhere for 10 years.”

(We both got a good laugh out of the ordeal and told our manager about it later, who also chuckled a bit.)

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