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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!

    That’s No Way To Talk To A Customer

    | CA, USA | At The Checkout, Health & Body, Top

    (I’m the customer in this story. I’m checking out at a grocery store and the cashier has a sign out that reads ‘I’ve lost my voice. Please work with me.’)

    Cashier: *nods at me by way of greeting; points to the sign*

    Me: *nods and give thumbs up to indicate that I saw it*

    Cashier: *scans a bottle of wine; pantomimes opening his wallet*

    Me: *wordlessly show him my ID*

    Cashier: *holds up a bag; raises eyebrow to ask if I want one*

    Me: *nods; hold up one finger*

    Me: *out loud* “Oh… I guess I can still talk, huh?”

    Cashier: *smiles and writes me a quick note on a scrap of paper*

    Note: “Don’t feel bad. You’re at least the 10th person today.”

    Doesn’t Have The Gift(card) Of Foresight, Part 2

    | SK, Canada | At The Checkout, Money

    (Customer is paying at the checkout at a world-wide chain supermarket.)

    Me: “That’ll be $11 please.”

    Customer: *digging out pockets of pants, jacket, and purse* “Where the h*** is my card?”

    (Five minutes pass; the line starts to build up.)

    Customer: “I’m sorry; I’m looking for my gift cards.” *place five cards on the desk*

    Me: “It’s okay, take your time.”

    Customer: “You can help others first.” *keeps searching for more gift cards*

    (I clear the rest of the line in five minutes.)

    Customer: “Here, try this one.”

    (Hands me a gift card with three-year-old design and at least 10 cards on the desk. I swipe and it get a $0 balance.)

    Me: “Sorry, madam, this one didn’t work out. It has a $0 balance.”

    Customer: “Okay, then try this one.”

    (I kept trying with her other five cards and they all turn out $0.)

    Customer: “How the f*** can that be? That’s why I never trust any of these gift cards! Do they expire or what? See, that one’s got a $20 written (hand-written) on top! Get me your manager!”

    Me: “Madam, as far as I know they are required by law not to have an expiry date, and I can get you the manager.”

    Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

    (I explained the situation.)

    Manager: “Well, madam, these cards will never expire, they can only be used up, is there any chance that they’ve already been used up?”

    Customer: “H*** no! See this f****** writing?! It says $20 and that one got $30 and that—”

    Manager: “Well, then, I can help you figure out how much they worth at my till.”

    (The manager cancelled her order at my till, and the customer went with manager to check values of her cards. Later, when I talked to the manager, she said all but one of her cards had value, which added up to $25.30. And after double checking with the pin number of each gift card, Manager was able to pull out records of all the gift cards, rendering the customer speechless and walk away shamefully. Oh, yeah, and she still kept all those empty gift cards in her purse mixed altogether with the only charged one.)

    Doesn’t Have The Gift(card) Of Foresight

    Putting The Prices Into Perspective

    | Newport, KY, USA | At The Checkout, Health & Body

    Customer: “How do you sleep at night charging this much for popcorn?”

    Me: *completely fed up with this crap* “I lie awake at night thinking about my mother’s cancer treatments.”

    (No response from Customer, and awed shock from coworkers.)

    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 7

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m working as a cashier on Black Friday. A man cuts to the front of the line with an armful of clothing.)

    Me: “Uh, sir, you’ll have to go to the back of the line. I’m sorry.”

    Rude Customer: “F*** that! No way I’m waiting that long! Just make it quick!”

    Me: “No, sir. You just cut the line, and I won’t serve you.”

    Rude Customer: “Oh, f*** you! Just do your job already! You’re only making this take longer!”

    (At this point, the customer he cut in front of, a man in his early 20s, speaks up, quietly and calmly.)

    Calm Customer: “Just go back and wait in line, man. Stop being a dick.”

    Rude Customer: “F*** y-”

    (The rude customer rounds on the calm one as he speaks, raising his hand in what may or may not have been an attempt at a backhand. Regardless, the calm customer catches his arm, twists it, and slams the rude customer’s face into the counter hard enough for it to make an audible thunk through the clothes. The entire time, the calm customer remains stone faced.)

    Rude Customer: “Ow! A**-hole! Lemme go! You can’t do this!”

    Calm Customer: “Texas law says I can use lethal force if I’m attacked.”

    (He twists the man’s arm a little more, causing him to cry out.)

    Calm Customer: “You don’t want that, do you?”

    Rude Customer: “Ow! No! Just lemme go!”

    Calm Customer: “Where are you going to go?”

    Rude Customer: “Back of the line! Back of the line!”

    Calm Customer: “And are you going to be patient? And polite?”

    Rude Customer: “Yeah, man! Sure!”

    Calm Customer: “Apologize to the nice young lady, now.”

    Rude Customer: *starting to cry slightly* “I’m sorry! I’m sorrryyyyy!”

    (The calm customer released the rude one, who almost looked like he was going to attack again. One look at the calm customer’s completely emotionless face seemed to make him think twice, though, and he grabbed his clothes and scampered back to the end of the line.)

    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 6
    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 5
    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 4

    Out Of Line Behavior

    | Tampa, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

    (The cafe is run by three people: the owner, the cook, and me, the server. At this time, there is a long line going almost out the door when a customer (Customer #1) decides to skip ahead and form a new line. I say nothing but Customer #2, the person I’m taking care of, does.)

    Customer #2: “Miss, the line is back there.”

    Customer #1: “We can place orders here, too”

    Me: “You can wait there if you want, but I have to serve them first.”

    Customer #1: “When did that change?”

    Me: “It never did. I always serve those who wait their turn, not necessarily where they decide to stand.”

    (Customer #1 walked out with a huff.)

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