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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!

    From Mumble To Stumble To Rumble To Humble

    | USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Health & Body

    (I have an inner ear condition and am hearing impaired but not really to the degree that I need a hearing aid. An older woman approaches my line.)

    Me: “Hello! How are you today?”

    Customer: *mumbles while looking at the floor*

    Me: “Um… I’m sorry. What did you say?”

    Customer: *sighs and looks to the right, still away from me, mumbling again*

    Me: “Ah, okay.”

    (I ring up her items and tell her the total. She holds up three different cards and mumbles again, but I can read her lips to understand, ‘not enough.’)

    Me: “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite catch that. Did you say you want to use all three cards?”

    (She nods and rolls her eyes, then swipes the first card.)

    Me: “All right, and how much did you want on that one?”

    Customer: *mumbles into the card reader*

    Me: “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

    (She mumbles once more, but since this is the third time I asked her to repeat herself and I’m feeling embarrassed, I just let the transaction run through as if she was using one card because I have no idea how much she wanted on there. The card is, of course, declined and she shouts wordlessly.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. Could you swipe it again, please? And I’m sorry, but how much did you say you wanted on that card?”

    (AGAIN she mumbles, with her head bowed so low I can’t even see her lips to try to read them. By that point, I’ve had enough.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I really need you to speak up, please. I’m hearing impaired and you’re speaking rather softly. I can’t hear you at all.”

    Customer: “You lying b****!”

    Me: *taken aback* “Excuse me?!”

    Customer: “Lying about being deaf is no excuse for your irresponsibility! You’re young! You’re not deaf. If you were, you’d have an earpiece in! You just listen to your music too loud; all you kids do. Keep that up, and you WILL be deaf before long!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I have [inner ear condition]. I have constant, loud ringing in my ears. Several times per day I lose all hearing in one or both of my ears for anywhere between three seconds to three hours. You’re right; I’m most likely going to completely lose my hearing before I’m 40 because there’s no cure or real treatment for it beyond surgery that might not even work. So please, while I still can hear you at all, could you speak up just a little?”

    (The customer stares at me, red-faced and silent, for a few moments. Finally she swipes the card again and then looks at me.)

    Customer: *loudly* “I’d like $10 on this card, please.”

    Hiss-terical

    | WA, Australia | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (I am having a pretty good day, with no bad customers. A middle aged customer comes up to my till.)

    Customer: “Mhhhhrmrrm.”

    Me: “… Okay. Would you like a bag?”

    Customer: “Mhhrrrrmrmr!”

    Me: “…  Do you have a rewards card?”

    Customer: “Mhhrrrrmrmr.”

    Me: *concerned* “Will that be credit or cash?”

    Customer: “HISSSSSSS!”

    (I jump back in surprise, but act as normally as possible for someone who has been spat on and hissed at.)

    Me: “Have a nice day!”

    Customer: “Mhhhhr!”

    Me: *to Boss* “What was that?”

    Boss: “Oh, she comes in here a lot. If you say the wrong thing she hisses at you.”

    (I transferred off tills very quickly after that!)

    A War Veteran Ally

    | PA, USA | At The Checkout, Military, Spouses & Partners

    (We have a regular customer who is a WW II veteran, at least 90-years-old, and lives alone. He prides himself on being cantankerous. I always make an effort to be nice to him so that he’ll have no excuse for throwing his food on the belt, insulting us, etc. I’m a young woman, and I wear a LGBT-rainbow bracelet to work.)

    Me: *while ringing up items* “Good morning, sir. How are you today?”

    Customer: “You’re nice to me. Most people aren’t, you know.”

    Me: “Well, you served our country. That seems a pretty good reason to be nice to you. Alrighty, sir, your total today is $13.95.”

    Customer: “Good. I’ve got enough left over to take you out to lunch.”

    Me: “You’ll have to check with my girlfriend on that.”

    Customer: *as he pulls out money* “Are you lookin’? Don’t look!”

    (This is a regular thing with him. I just smile and look away, holding out my hand for the money. My bracelet is in plain sight.)

    Customer: “I don’t like a suspicious woman!”

    Me: *deliberately, but lightly* “Neither does my girlfriend. Good thing I’ve been faithful to her the whole two years we’ve been together.”

    (Customer finishes handing me the money.  I ring him up, then give him the change and the receipt. My bagger is stifling laughter.)

    Customer: “You know I’m only gonna get worse if you let me.”

    Me: “I’ll let my girlfriend know, but I think you’re pretty harmless.”

    Customer: “And I think you’re pretty, especially when you smile.”

    Me: “Thank you. I’ll have to tell my girlfriend that! You have a good day, sir.”

    Customer: “Don’t tell me what to do!” *grins and scooters off*

    Bagger: “I don’t think he gets it.”

    Me: “He treated me exactly the same as he would if I’d mentioned a boyfriend. Who knows, maybe he’s an LGBT ally!”

    Please Be Civil To Partnerships

    | Bury St. Edmunds, England, UK | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bigotry, Top

    (I’m male. I’m chatting away to Customer #1 whilst scanning her items. We are talking about cakes.)

    Customer #1: “My husband doesn’t like the walnut one.”

    Me: *laughing* “Nor does my boyfriend. It means I can eat as much as I want in front of him and not have to sha—”

    Customer #1: “Your boyfriend? That’s disgusting. I didn’t realise [Company] hired your type!”

    (At this point, Customer #2, a sweet little old lady who has been waiting in the queue, speaks up.)

    Customer #2: “You leave him alone! He’s been nothing but helpful and you were happy to chat to him when you thought he was straight. Besides, I’ve seen him and his boyfriend in town, and he’s bloody gorgeous!”

    Customer #1: “Well! I never!”

    (She pays and flounces away.)

    Customer #2: *to me* “You tell that boyfriend of yours that I think you two look very happy together and may you be together a long time.”

    Me: “Thank you! I will!”

    (Months later, when my boyfriend and I decided to get a civil partnership, Customer #2 screamed with joy when I told her!)

    Doesn’t Drink, Period

    | Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Top

    (I’m second in a queue to pay and the customer in front of me is an older lady wanting a bottle of whiskey. They are kept behind the counter. The owner of the store is a very polite Muslim gentleman in traditional dress. I love this store; it has a little bit of everything and the owner has a great sense of humour. The woman is asking lots of questions about the strength of the whiskey and the prices.)

    Customer: “But what about the Glen Moray? What percentage is that?”

    Owner: “Its 40.”

    Customer: “And the price?”

    Owner: “£20.”

    Customer: “And the Jameson?”

    Owner: “It’s also 40% and £20.”

    Customer: “And how much is the Teachers?”

    Owner: “£20.”

    Customer: “But is it stronger?”

    Owner: “No, it’s 40% as well.”

    (Each time she asks about a whiskey the owner has to climb up a little ladder to check and he’s not a young gentleman. But he does it smiling all the time.)

    Customer: “What’s that there? Canadian Club?”

    Owner: “Yes it is also £20 and 40% proof.”

    Customer: “I just don’t know. What do they taste like? Which one’s the nicest?”

    (I should point out at this point that it became obvious that this lady was not a connoisseur. But was looking for the strongest whiskey to add to the 4 bottles of cheap strong wine she had in her basket.)

    Owner: “I’m sorry. I do not drink so I don’t know the taste.”

    Customer: *looking disgusted* “How on earth can you sell alcohol when you don’t even drink?”

    Me: *taps lady on shoulder* “Well, he sells tampons, too. I hope you don’t expect him to use them!”

    (The customer quietly pays and leaves.)

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