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!

No Will For A Refill

| MO, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

(I’m currently at the register because the manager on shift doesn’t like to be up there all day. I normally don’t mind too much, and he’ll put someone else on if I’m just not feeling it. It is getting late and we have several customers in the store when the manager comes up and leans in close, which is always a sign that he’s talking about a customer.)

Manager: *whispering* “There’s a man in a baseball cap with a frozen refill in a mug and he’s going to say it’s ice.”

(After he says that he gets off the register to return to the store and I wait for the man in question. After a couple of minutes a man fitting the description comes up with a fifty two ounce mug and says it is an ice refill.)

Me: “My manager just told me that that is a frozen refill.”

Man: *getting grumpy* “No, it’s ice.”

Me: “If it’s ice, could you open it and show me?”

Man: “Fine, just take it!”

(He shoved the mug at me, luckily not knocking it off the counter, before he stormed out of the store. I double-checked that, yes, the mug was filled with one of our frozen drinks. A few minutes later my manager came back up and told me that the man saw him and threatened ‘to get him.’ All of this over a dollar-something refill that we caught him trying to filch.)

The Employee Fee

| Mesquite, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Liars & Scammers

(I work in the home department of a widely-known department store. It’s close to Christmas and on this day, I happen to be in the china/dinnerware section. A woman with a child in a stroller and another on-the-way comes up to my register with a Christmas tree shaped candy dish.)

Me: “Good evening! Did you find everything okay?”

Customer: “Don’t ring that up yet. I just want to know how much it is.”

(At this point, I have a chance to get a better look at her. She has fingernail scars on her face and a ratty t-shirt that looks like she hasn’t changed for a week. I get a bad vibe about her but I try my best to be polite and courteous. I look and the tag on the bottom of the dish.)

Me: “It’s $15.99, miss.”

Customer: “How much would that be with my employee discount?”

Me: “You’re an employee? Which store do you work at?”

Customer: “Ummm… the one at [Nearby Mall].”

Me: “Oh, really? What department are you in?”

Customer: “Uh… jewelry. Look, can we just get on with this?”

Me: “Well, the employee discount is 25% off so this would be about $12. Do you need to make a payment on your card first?”

(The employee discount only works with a prepaid card.)

Customer: “Oh, I don’t have it with me. Can’t I just give you my driver license?”

(At this point, I know she’s lying about being an employee, but I keep going through the motions.)

Me: “Well, if you don’t have your card with you, we can just call the card service department and get the number. All I need is you social.”

Customer: “You don’t need my social security number!”

Me: “Have you never done this before? All you do is call the toll-free number right here and enter your number. You can key it on the phone yourself. I don’t need to see it.”

Customer: “You DON’T need my social.”

Me: “It’s how all the employees look up their card number. I’ve helped several do it. Look, you can use the phone right here at the register. I’ve done it myself a couple times!”

(I try to remain helpful and polite while trying to not to laugh. Regular employees know and expect this routine.)

Customer: “YOU DON’T NEED MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, YOU THIEF!”

Me: “If you would like, I can call [Manager at Nearby Mall location] to confirm your status and clarify how we should confirm your employee discount card number.”

(The customer stomps away from the register, screaming.)

Customer: “I’VE NEVER BEEN SO INSULTED. I’VE BEEN AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS!”

(After she walks out, an older employee, who saw and heard everything (and has been at this store for 6 years), walks up to me.)

Older Employee: “I’ve never seen her before in my life… and she’s not even old enough to have worked anywhere for 10 years.”

(We both got a good laugh out of the ordeal and told our manager about it later, who also chuckled a bit.)

A Dally Over A Dollar

| Pittsburgh, PA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Crazy Requests

(I’m in line to check out at an everything-is-a-dollar store. An elderly lady is in front of me, trying to do a return of some fake flowers.)

Cashier: “I’m sorry, but we don’t do refunds. We only do exchanges.”

Customer: “But I was told that I could return these if they were the wrong ones!”

Cashier: “I’m sorry, but we don’t even have an option on the register to do that. I could call a manager for you.”

Customer: “Yes, do that.”

(The manager comes over to talk to the woman as the cashier rings me up. The customer, despite that we’re the only customers in the store at the time, is being quite loud.)

Customer: “These are the wrong color! I don’t need them, and I don’t need $11 of anything else in here! I want my money back!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but since everything in here is only a dollar, we do not provide refunds, only exchanges.”

Customer: “But that’s not what I was told! I was told I could get a refund, not that I would have to get something else! That’s false advertising!”

(Meanwhile, the cashier has finished ringing me up and has handed me my receipt.)

Me: *in a low voice so the cashier is the only one who can hear me* “It says it on the receipt.”

Cashier: “What?”

Me: “Right here, on the bottom. You have 30 days for an exchange of a product. We do not offer refunds.”

Cashier: *also whispering* “You feel my pain.”

Me: “I used to work in retail. I swear, customers need to pass a reading comprehension test before they try to get around the policies written right on the receipt.”

(At this point, I didn’t notice that the customer had approached behind me while I was talking to the cashier.)

Me: “I swear. Some people think they can get away with anything. It’s $11. Just go buy some candles or batteries or something. You never know when the power will go out. But don’t complain about a return policy that is right there on the receipt in your hand. You have a lovely day, and hopefully that’s the craziest customer you’ll have this month.”

(I turn around to face the customer who’s glaring at me with a bright red face.)

Me: “Have a nice day, ma’am.”

Refunder Blunder, Part 11

| Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I work as a cashier at an electronics store. A woman has just come to me for a refund but doesn’t have the card it was purchased on. Company policy dictates I must put it back on the same card.)

Me: “I’m really sorry, ma’am, but I can’t issue the refund without the card. What I can do however is leave it as a credit on the system, and when you come back with the correct card I would be happy to refund it to you.”

Customer: “That is totally outrageous! I don’t have the card because I lost it when I was in hospital! I was very sick! Why can’t you just bend the rules and put it back on this card?!”

Me: “Because, ma’am, I’m not willing to risk my job over a $30 return. I’m really sorry but you need to bring the correct card with you to get your refund.”

(The customer glares at me and snatches her receipt off the counter.)

Customer: “This is totally ridiculous! I’ll be finding somewhere else to shop from now on!” *storms out*

(Fifteen minutes later, the same customer returns to my counter looking sheepish.)

Customer: “I found the card. It was in my car.”

Me: “Well, that’s wonderful! Let me process that return for you now.”

(I start processing the return.)

Me: “I’m really sorry about making you get the correct card, I know it’s a hassle but it’s important to [Company] to do things right.”

Customer: *sighs* “Yeah, well, we have the same policy at my work but we usually just ignore it.”

Me: “…”

Related:
Refunder Blunder, Part 10
Refunder Blunder, Part 9
Refunder Blunder, Part 8

Needs A Military Rescue

| NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Military

(I work at a movie theater. It’s a Monday morning and I’m serving a young man in line.)

Customer: “Do you offer military discounts?”

Me: “The current policy is that we do not offer military discounts on weekdays, but we do on weekends. Since weekday prices are already so much cheaper, especially for matinees, we really can’t add additional discounts on top of it.”

Customer: *firmly* “Well, lemme ask you this: Do you believe the minimum wage should be raised?”

Me: *confused* “Um… well, yes. Yes, I do. A little over $8 an hour is hard to live off of, especially in this economy.”

Customer: “Well, that’s bull-s***. You don’t deserve more money. I just got back from being stationed in Iraq. How about you? I fought for your freedom, kid. The same freedom that you’re exercising now to tell me that my sacrifices won’t even get me a discount! You minimum wage drones don’t deserve more money.”

Me: *absolutely shocked* “I’m… I’m sorry, sir. I truly thank you for your service…”

Customer: “I want you to know I have no respect for you whatsoever. You obviously weren’t in the military, and you don’t understand the meaning of sacrifice. It’s unbelievable that after I chose to fight for your freedom, you deny me the basic dignity of recognition with a discount. Do you understand that I don’t respect you?”

Me: “I… I guess?”

Customer: “No, you tell me that you absolutely understand that I don’t respect you.”

Me: *going pale* “I understand.”

Customer: “Good.”

(He buys his tickets and goes into the theater. I’m left shocked by the exchange. An older man who was behind him in line approaches me. He gives me a warm smile.)

Old Man: “Wow. I’m sorry you had to put up with that. You know… I was in the military. Fought in Vietnam. Put up with a lot in my life. But I want to tell you… I thank YOU for YOUR service. And I have nothing but respect for you and every other person out there trying to make ends meet while being a good employee, despite dealing with a low minimum wage. Not everyone is cut out to be a soldier. But that doesn’t mean jerks like him are better than you. People like you… doing your hardest and trying to make ends meet, all while having to put up with the self-righteous people like that… you deserve as much admiration as anyone else. This world needs people of all types. We’re all in this together. We’re all heroes in our own way. So thank you. Because of you, I get to have a nice day seeing movies. You’re helping to give me happiness for a few hours. And that means a lot.”

(I was almost crying for the rest of the day. Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity after the last person nearly destroyed it!)

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