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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!

    See Her In Her Cah

    | Lafeyette, LA, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (I’m ringing up a man and a woman. The woman is wearing a shirt and a couple of rubber bracelets that reference running in Boston.)

    Me: *indicating her shirt* “You from up north?”

    Woman: “Hmm? Oh, no. That was just a run I was in.”

    Me: “Ah. I used to live about an hour out of Boston.”

    (I finish ringing them up and hand the woman her change.)

    Man: “You don’t sound like you’re from Boston.”

    Me: “Well, I pick up accents pretty quick, and I’ve been in Louisiana for a year, so I guess I wouldn’t sound much like I’m from Boston anymore.”

    Man: “I mean, you’re polite.”

    Me: *laughing* “You haven’t seen me in the car!”

    Getting A Man-Handle On Your Words

    | Flagstaff, AZ, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I am a woman, and I am cashiering at a grocery store that is conducting a charitable fund drive. I am packing a chatty man’s groceries into his backpack.)

    Man: “Look at how you just get that all in there! You’re really man-handling that stuff!”

    Me: *packing the last two things, which are pieces of fruit* “Oh, but I don’t want to man-handle your peaches.”

    Man: “I don’t want to man-handle your peaches.”

    (I splutter and stare at this, torn between outrage and hilarity.)

    Man: “I’m sorry.” *as if to himself* “Get your mind out of the gutter.”

    Me: “To make it up to me, you will donate to our fundraiser.”

    Man: “Deal.”

    Acrimonious Acronyms

    | Middletown, RI, USA | At The Checkout, Technology

    (A customer pulls out his credit card to pay for his purchase. We cashiers have to push a button on the computer before the card reader will work.)

    Me: “Will that be debit or credit?”

    Customer: “Credit.”

    Me: “Okay, wait for the green light then slide your card through the machine.”

    Customer: *slides card before the green light comes on then stares at the machine* “It didn’t work.”

    Me: “That’s okay. Just slide your card again now that the green light is on.”

    Customer: “Oh, yeah. You did say to wait for the green light. I have an acronym for that. FTFD!”

    Me: “FTFD?”

    Customer: “Follow the f****** directions!”

    Time To Call It A Day

    | Chicago, IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

    (We have a sign posted on the counter informing customers to hang up their phones before conducting business. Often, they ignore this. A customer comes up, talking on his cellphone. I am not required to address him while he’s on the phone. He talks and talks for minutes, staring at me. Finally…)

    Customer: “Hold up, baby.” *to me* “Yo, you gonna help me?”

    Me: “Oh, sure, sir. Once you’re finished with your phone call.”

    Customer: “I can do both!”

    Me: “Sir, perhaps you missed the sign, but we will not conduct business with you while you are in the middle of a personal phone call.”

    Customer: “You a rude motherf*****! I wanna talk to your manager!”

    (I walk over tell my manager what’s up. The manager comes over and the customer is on his phone AGAIN.)

    Customer: “Hold on, baby.” *to manager* “Yeah, this guy was very rude to me and is refusing to help me. He should be fired!”

    (My manager looks at him.)

    Manager: “Who are you talking to?”

    Customer: “My wife.”

    Manager: “Can I speak to her?”

    Customer: “Why you wanna talk to her?”

    Manager: “Well, if I’m going to fire this guy, I need another witness, and since you ignored the sign that explicitly tells you to hang up your phone we have a second witness, and I want to get her account of what happened.”

    Customer: “Y’all’s a bunch of ignorant motherf*****s! I hope this motherf***** burns down! You just lost a customer!”

    (The customer storms off. An hour later I get a call from another dealership saying a guy came in and was cursing us out. But apparently, he learned to stay off his phone!)

    Close, But No Cigar

    | Reno, NV, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Language & Words

    (I work at the front counter of a chain store, and am responsible for all tobacco sales during my shift. A customer comes up to the counter and waves a $20 bill at me.)

    Customer: “[Brand].”

    Me: “Sure. What kind?”

    Customer: “[Brand]!”

    Me: “Sir, I have a lot of different kinds of [Brand]. Which one do you want?”

    Customer: *getting annoyed* “[Brand]!”

    Me: “Short or long?”

    (There is a long pause.)

    Me: “Sir?”

    Customer: “[Brand]!”

    (I point at the cigarettes at the top left corner and slowly slide my finger along the 12-foot display. I repeat this for every shelf until the customer finally speaks.)

    Customer: *excitedly* “Finally! [Brand]!”

    (I ring up his cigarettes and the customer leaves.)

    Manager: “Does he even speak English?”

    Me: “He did yesterday!”


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