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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!

    Waiting For The Bad Customer That Never Comes

    | Milwaukee, WI, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Food & Drink, Time

    (I’m getting food at a rather well-known fast-food joint that specializes in American-Chinese cuisine. I’ve just finished placing a large order.)

    Cashier: “The [dish] is out right now. Would you like something else, or would you like to wait? It’ll be about 10 minutes to make another batch.”

    Me: “I’m fine with waiting. Thank you.”

    Cashier: “Okay, that’ll be [total]. Can I have your name so I can call you when it’s all ready?”

    (I give her my name, pay, and take a step back to wait. About three minutes pass and I notice her walking out to me with a cup.)

    Cashier: “Sir, I’m sorry it’s taking so long. Would you like a complimentary drink?”

    Me: “Uh… sure, I guess. It’s really no problem though. Only 10 minutes, right?”

    Cashier: “Thank you for being so understanding!”

    (She hands me the cup and goes back to serving other customers. Another three minutes pass and I notice one of her coworkers is waving me over to the counter.)

    Coworker: “We’re really sorry for the wait, sir. Would you like a complimentary order of egg rolls for your trouble?”

    Me: “Thank you for the offer, but no. Seriously, I’m really fine with the wait. It’s no problem.”

    Coworker: “Okay, then. Just let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.”

    (I step back from the counter and wait a few more minutes until the cashier calls my name.)

    Cashier: “Here you are, sir! I’m so sorry for the delay, I tossed in a few orders of egg rolls and rangoon because it took so long.”

    Me: “Really, that’s very nice, but you didn’t have to do that. You were up-front with the wait time and it took almost exactly what you told me. You really don’t owe me any free food or even the drink.”

    (Suddenly it all clicks.)

    Me: “People still freak out when they have to wait even after you tell them how long it’s going to be, don’t they?”

    Cashier: “You have no idea. Have a great day!”

    Hard Of Earring

    | Basingstoke, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Criminal/Illegal

    (I work in a high-end high street women’s clothing store. We also sell accessories. Like most UK stores, we do not accept returns on earrings for any reasons, bar them being defective. We’ve just entered the mid-season sale period, where a lot of our jewellery is now 70% off. A fair amount of customers are returning and rebuying items to get the discounted price.)

    Customer: “I want to return this set of earrings and rebuy them.”

    Me: “I’m sorry. Store policy says we’re not allowed to accept returns on any earrings, unless they’re defective. Even though you’re wanting to rebuy them, I cannot process the return.”

    Customer: “I WANT TO RETURN THEM!”

    Me: “I’m sorry; I’m not allowed to do that.”

    Customer: “Yes, you are! You’re just saying that because you don’t want to give me the sale price!”

    Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, and I assure you we do allow returning and rebuying. We just can’t accept returns on earrings unless they defective in some way.”

    Customer: “I want to talk to someone else!”

    (I get my assistant manager, who comes over and relays what I’ve just told the customer.)

    Assistant Manager: “I’m sorry, we can’t accept the return on them unless they’re defective.”

    (The customer drops the earrings on the floor, then stomps on them. She picks them up and puts them on the counter.)

    Customer: “I want to return these. They’re defective.”

    Assistant Manager: “We don’t accept returns on items that have been damaged purposely by customers.”

    Customer: “You have no proof I broke them. It’s your words against mine, and the customer is ALWAYS right!”

    Assistant Manager: “This may be true in most circumstances. Here, we have CCTV showing you damaged them yourself. I’m sorry. We cannot accept returns on them. Is there anything else you’d like me to help with today?”

    Customer: “MY EARRINGS ARE BROKEN! What am I gonna do with broken earrings?!”

    Me: “Would you like me to dispose of them?”

    (The customer glared at my assistant manager and me, then stormed out.)

    Read You Loud And Unclear

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Language & Words

    (One of my coworkers is a quiet, well-spoken man normally, but has an astonishingly loud voice if he wants to shout. My manager is also the shop owner, has a great sense of humor, and likes to let him use that voice in situations.)

    Customer: “A carton of [Brand] cigarettes, please.”

    Coworker: “Yes, sir. What kind?”

    Customer: “[Brand].”

    Coworker: “Yes, sir. Twenties, thirties, mild menthol, filtered or plain?”

    Customer: “[BRAND]!”

    Coworker: *just as loud* “Yes, sir. Twenties, thirties, mild menthol, filtered or plain?”

    Customer: *as loud as he can shout* “[BRAND]!”

    Coworker: *louder than the customer; painful to the ears* “YES, SIR! TWENTIES, THIRTIES, MILD, MENTHOL, FILTERED OR PLAIN?!”

    (The customer turns pale, and takes a step back.)

    Customer: *normal voice* “Er, um, sorry. What?”

    Coworker: *normal voice*  ”Twenties, thirties, mild menthol, filtered or plain?”

    Customer: “Oh. Twenties, filtered, plain. Thanks.”

    (The customer paid, and then left, turning back, looking, and shaking his head in disbelief.)

    Listening Skills Don’t Carry Much Weight

    | WV, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Transportation

    (I am a cashier at a grocery store. Our management does not allow customers to take shopping carts outside. Instead, if a customer has a large order of groceries, we load them into a trolley and an employee follows the customer to their vehicles with the groceries. We always have employees on-hand to do these carry outs. An elderly customer comes to my register with several two-liters of soda and a box containing a 12-pack of soda, among other things. Thinking that this must be heavy, I offer to call a carry out for her.)

    Me: “Hello, ma’am, would you like a carry out today?”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: “Would you like help out?”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: “Would you like help out to your car?”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: *very slowly and deliberately* “Would you like someone to help carry your bags to your car?”

    Customer: “Oh, no, dear. I don’t need that.”

    Me: “Are you sure? It would be no trouble at all.”

    Customer: “I’m sure!”

    (I shrug and ring up her order. I bag her groceries, she pays, and I hand her a receipt.)

    Me: “Thanks a lot. Have a great day!”

    Customer: *stares at her bags of groceries* “Well, how am I supposed to carry all of this by myself?!”

    The Power Of One

    | Boston, MA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

    (I work as front of house staff at a theater with multiple performance spaces. On this night we have three sold out shows in our building and an incredibly high volume of patrons in line for the box office and in line to get their tickets scanned. I am the only person scanning tickets at this point and I have developed a cluster of patrons around me, plus many more behind them. I realize that to proceed efficiently, I need more organization. I address my patron cluster:)

    Me: “It will really help me out if everyone can form one line please!”

    Woman In The Cluster: *as though this never would have occurred to her* “OH! Because you’re only one person!”

    Me: “…exactly.”


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