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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!

    Doesn’t Have The Gift(card) Of Foresight

    | Miami, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Money

    (I have previously worked for a large bookstore chain that went out of business. I now work at their competitor.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling [Current Bookstore] in South Miami. How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Yeah, do you guys accept [Previous Bookstore]’s gift cards?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t. They were a different company, so they’re not valid here.”

    Caller: “But when I go to their website it redirects me to yours!”

    Me: “Yes. When the company closed, [Current Bookstore] bought their domain, and I believe their mailing lists, but they were never actually affiliated with them.”

    Caller: “So you don’t accept their gift cards?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but no. They were a different company. ”

    Caller: “So what am I supposed to do with this gift card?”

    Me: “I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do. The company went out of business. It’s closed. The cards are worthless now.”

    Caller: “But someone paid good money for these cards!”

    Me: “I understand that. But I worked for [Previous Bookstore] when they went under. When they announced their bankruptcy, they also made it very clear that as they liquidated they would only accept gift cards through a certain date. There were signs all over the stores. You had two months to come and use the card. After that, even the stores stopped accepting them. [Previous Bookstore] didn’t exist. They were owned by a liquidation company at that point.”

    Caller: “But someone paid for this. And you’re telling me that money is gone?! That’s unacceptable! I want my money!!”

    Me: “Ma’am, with all due respect, the store closed three years ago. How important could the value of that card be to you if you’ve waited three years?”

    (Click.)

    Understaffed But Over-Spoken

    , | Seattle, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink

    (Working late at night the store is understaffed. There is a manager and I running the entire store. We are trying to keep up with drive through demand, but the wait time is slipping from two minutes to about five minutes.)

    Me: “Welcome to [Store]. How may I take your order?”

    Customer: “I’d like [hamburger meal] and a large drink.”

    Me: “Thank you. Please pull up to the second window.”

    (The customer waits in line for a few minutes until I can handle the customer before him and prepare his food. He drives up in an expensive sports car.)

    Me: “Sorry for the wait, sir. Here is your—”

    Customer: “You know I’ve been to your stores all over the country, and yours in the only one that always takes such a d*** long time to get anything done!”

    Me: *embarrassed/angry*  ”I’m sorry for the long wait, sir, but we are understaffed. There is just the two of us here handling all the orders. But if you are interested in helping get things sped up, we are hiring right now and I can get you an application.”

    (The customer made a face, took his food, and sped off.)

    Running Out Of Consideration

    | Marengo, IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink

    (I work at an ice cream and grill. It’s small so it usually doesn’t take long to close up. It’s 8:59 and I’m just about to lock the door when a customer runs in.)

    Me: “You know we close in 20 seconds, right?”

    Customer: “I know; that’s why I ran! I’d like [several meals].”

    Not Going To Put The Matter To Bed

    | NS, Canada | At The Checkout, Family & Kids

    (It is the day before Mother’s Day. A little boy, around seven or eight years old, comes up with his dad to buy a cake and a card.)

    Me: *to the boy* “So, are you going to make breakfast in bed for your mom tomorrow?”

    Boy: *in awe, with wide eyes* “How did you know I was gonna do that?”

    Me: “I’m psychic!”

    (At this point the dad has just finished paying, and as they are walking away I hear this:)

    Boy: *to his dad, still in awe* “But, Dad! How did she know I was gonna do that?”

    Carded If The Card Is Discarded

    | NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money

    (Per company policy, if a customer wants to pay with a card they need to have it with them. We can’t authorize them over the phone unless it is a credit card issued by our company. There are occasional exceptions, but really only for regulars. We are also always supposed to check an id. A woman came in to buy a bunch of supplies for her office. As she’s at the register to pay. She pulls out a piece of paper.)

    Customer: “I’d like to pay with this.”

    (The paper she pulls out is a photocopy of a company credit card.)

    Cashier: “Uhm… we can’t take this.”

    Customer: “Why not?!”

    Cashier: “Because we need the physical card.”

    Customer: “Get a manager!”

    Manager: “Can I see an id?”

    Customer: “Why? My name won’t match. It’s a company card.”

    Manager: “Then, I’m sorry but we can’t accept it. I really shouldn’t do it, even if the names did match. It’s against policy.”

    Customer: “This is ridiculous! How can you not take it!? Why do you even need to see my ID?”

    Manager: “Ma’am, there is way too much risk for identity fraud. I have no way of knowing that’s your card, or company. Anyone could have taken that card and made a copy, or found the copy lying around somewhere.”

    Customer: “Are you accusing me of stealing this card information!?”

    Manager: “Of course not! But wouldn’t you rather have stores check ids and only accept physical cards if yours was the one that was stolen?”

    Customer: “This is ridiculous! It’s our company card! And accusing me of stealing?! I’m never shopping here again! You’re losing so much business!”

    Manager: “Well, it’s better than getting in trouble for a fraudulent charge. Sorry we couldn’t help you.”

    (The customer stormed out in a huff.)

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