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  • Got Him Out Of A Pickle
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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!

    Russian Into Things

    | AZ, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Crazy Requests

    (One evening a very obviously young teenager (15 or 16) comes in and tries to buy a pornographic magazine. After I inform him I can’t sell to him without seeing an ID he sticks around and starts chatting me up. I am a very tall woman in my mid-twenties while he was very short and petite.)

    Kid: “You know, the main reason I wanted to buy a magazine is because I’ve been deprived of the company of women for most of my life. You see…” *he leans up against the counter, looks around the room and says in a stage whisper* “…I was trained from birth in a Russian compound to be a deadly assassin.”

    Me: *trying not to laugh* “Go on…”

    Kid: “I’m the best there is at the trade. I became the youngest secret KGB agent.”

    Me: “The KGB actually hasn’t existed for several years now.”

    Kid: *nodding gravely* “That’s because I took them all out when I went rogue. Since then I’ve been freelancing. But now that I have more money than I know what to do with, I’ve been thinking about getting out of the game. You know, finding a beautiful woman and settling down in my French chateau. What do you say? Want me to take you away from all this?”

    Me: *having serious trouble keeping a straight face* “That’s very sweet. But aren’t I a little too old for you? Not to mention I’m nearly two feet taller.”

    Kid: “That’s okay. That’s the way we like ‘em in Russia!”

    Me: “Kid, you are one cocky little s***. If you weren’t underage I’d buy you a drink.”

    Kid: “Well, if you come with me we can go to a country where the legal drinking age is much lower. You know, in Russia I’ve already reached the age of consent. If you get my drift…”

    Me: “Thanks, but I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.”

    Kid: *sigh* “Oh well it, was worth a try. Do svidaniya!”

    Last Name Last Thought

    | Franklin, TN, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers

    (I’ve worked retail for years, but this is my turn at being the clueless customer. This store can look up your membership card with your name and phone number. I am currently wearing my name tag, which has only my first name on it.)

    Associate: “Oh, you work at [Other Store]. You must know [Coworker], who used to work here!”

    Me: “Oh, yeah, [Coworker]‘s great! Oh, I have a membership card, but I don’t have it on me.”

    Associate: “What’s your last name?”

    Me: “I’m not sure… [My Name], I think.”

    Associate: “…”

    Me: “Oh, my God, I’m sorry! I thought you were asking for [Coworker]‘s last name! Sorry! Do I win the award today?”

    Associate: “Not even the strangest thing that’s happened today.”

    Coupon And On And On

    | Calgary, AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

    (I work at a children’s clothing store. A customer comes in with her daughter and wants a jacket, so I process it. She then gives me a coupon printed off for 25% off. Members can get coupons in e-mails so this is normal. I scan it in to discover that number has been used already.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. This coupon has been used already.”

    Customer: “Yeah. I used one at your other store.”

    Me: “Well, I apologize, but they should have taken it from you at the other store. We can only accept a coupon once.”

    Customer: “Yes, I printed it out again. It said I can use it all weekend!”

    (I had to hold back laughter because I glanced at her daughter and she just gave me this look that said ‘I’m so sorry’ as I explained that the sale was for the weekend only but it’s one coupon per customer. I never believed people would actually do that until today.)

    Demanding And Stupid In The Same Breath

    | MA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Musical Mayhem, Top

    (We’re a bookstore, but we also sell some smaller toys from a popular company known for their hand-crafted products. I’m covering the register on a slow night. A customer I rang out a few minutes earlier who bought a $3 wooden kazoo comes storming back into the store. Another customer reaches the register at about the same time, but holds back when she sees how angry the other woman is.)

    Customer #1: “Why’d you tell my son he couldn’t return this kazoo? It’s defective!”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. He just asked if he could get his money back, and I told him we couldn’t take it because it was opened already. It’s defective?”

    (I pick up the wooden kazoo that she’s slammed on the counter hold it near my mouth, and hum. It makes a kazoo noise.)

    Me: “Oh, maybe your son doesn’t know how it works. You have to hum into it, not blow like a whistle. Seems fine.”

    Customer #1: “What? I didn’t hear anything! It’s defective! I want my money back!”

    (I hold the kazoo near my lips again and hum louder. It makes a louder kazoo noise.)

    Me: “See? That’s what it’s supposed to do. You hum, and it makes that noise.”

    (I set it down in front of her, thinking the problem is solved.)

    Customer #1: “No way! I’m not taking that out of the store now! You’ve contaminated it with your breath! It has all your germs in it. Give me my money back!”

    Me: “Really?”

    (The woman tries to stare me down.)

    Me: “Ma’am, as I explained, you don’t blow into a kazoo. You hum. You can’t hum with your mouth open. None of my breath went into the kazoo.”

    (I demonstrate a humming noise without the kazoo, showing her my lips are firmly pressed closed.)

    Customer #1: “This is ridiculous! I’ve bought hundreds of things from here that were all defective, and I’ve never bothered to return them before. I just threw them away. Now, you won’t even take back this broken kazoo?”

    Me: “But, it’s not broken, remember? And I didn’t breathe in it, either. I’m not sure exactly what your complaint is at this point.”

    Customer #1: “That’s it! I want to talk to your store manager.”

    Me: “That would be me.”

    Customer #1: “Fine! Then I want to talk to a district manager! Is he here?”

    Me: “Yes. And he’s also me.”

    Customer #2: “This isn’t over. Not by a long shot! You haven’t heard the last of me!”

    (The woman snatches up her kazoo from the counter and runs out of the store. I turn to the other woman who’s been waiting patiently.)

    Me: “I’m sorry you had to be here for that uncomfortable situation.”

    Customer #2: “Oh, I don’t mind. That was pretty entertaining. I think you may have created a super-villain.”

    (Ten minutes later, one of my managers from another store location calls me, laughing.)

    Coworker: “Um, apparently, I’m supposed to fire you. Some crazy lady just called to tell me that you threw a kazoo at her?”

    Can Give An Inch In A Pinch

    | Edmonton, AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Rude & Risque

    (I’m a barista at a well known coffee chain. I only work the opening shift, which means I’m at the store at 5:30 am. This customer comes in around 6:15 am.)

    Me: “Morning. What can I get for you?”

    Customer: “Americano.”

    Me: “Sure. Do you need room for cream?”

    (I think he answers no. I make the Americano, and fill the cup to the top, leaving no room for cream.)

    Me: “Here’s your Americano. Have a great day!”

    Customer: “You call this room?”

    Me: “Sorry! I must have misheard you. I can pour some out for you, if you’d like.”

    Customer: “Yes, please. Pour out about an inch.”

    (I pour out a good inch of the beverage and hand it back to the guy.)

    Customer: “You call this an inch? Clearly men have been lying to you your whole life, dear.”

    (He immediately walks away, while I stand there, suffering from shock.)

    Manager: “Did he just say what I think he said?”

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