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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!

    Pressured Into Showing Your ID

    | Weirton, WV, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

    (So, my store has only started selling cigarettes recently, and corporate office demands we ID each and every single person, each and every single time, regardless of how old they look. Failure to do so can result in immediate termination. An older looking gentleman asks for a pack of cigarettes.)

    Me: “May I see a piece of ID sir?”

    Customer: *becoming furious* “What? Does it look like I dye my beard grey?!”

    Me: “I do apologize, sir. It is company policy and I do not want to lose my job.”

    (He shows me his ID, reluctantly, looking more angry every second. After the transaction is complete he says:)

    Customer: “You are lucky my blood pressure medicine is working, because I’m so mad at your punk a** it would go through the roof!”

    Me: “Sir, do you know what else helps with blood pressure?”

    Customer: “WHAT?!”

    Me: “Not smoking cigarettes.”

    Sharing Is Uncaring

    | Chicago, IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (It’s worth noting that I work in a very small store, with an ice cream counter that spans one end. It’s slow at the moment, so I’m wiping down the counter while my coworker is in back getting a head start on the dishes when a middle-aged woman comes in and gets an ice cream cone.)

    Me: “All right, here you go. That’s $3.91”

    Customer: “Thanks.” *hands me a five-dollar bill*

    Me: “Okay, your change is $1.09, there you are!”

    Customer: “Thanks.” *takes change*

    (I think that’s the end of it, unless she drops some change into the communal tip jar. However, after pocketing the coins she leans over the counter and gives me a handshake, slipping the bill into my hand. I look at her, confused, as we have a very clearly marked tip jar a foot away.)

    Customer: “I don’t believe in sharing.”

    Me: “Um, thanks.”

    (She walked out before I could say anything else. As I’m wondering what to do my coworker comes out of the doorway to the back, where he obviously saw everything.)

    Coworker: “You handled that really well.”

    Me: “Thanks. So should I just put this in the jar?”

    Coworker: “No, that would be shared, and we can’t have that, now can we?”

    His Logic Doesn’t Check Out

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

    (I am working at the registers along with a head cashier shortly before closing. One of our regulars, a very old man, shuffles up to my register. I’m a little surprised, as he usually only talks to Manager, sometimes waiting for hours until Manager starts his shift.)

    Customer: “Yes, I’d like to buy this book.”

    Me: “Certainly! That will be [total].”

    (Customer pulls out a very old leather case with about 100 sheets of perforated checks. He slowly flips to the correct page, slowly starts to fill out a check, and then drops the whole case on the floor, scattering pages everywhere. I help him pick up.)

    Customer: “Oh, no, these need to be in order! Help me put them in order!”

    Me: “Sir, perhaps we should finish the transaction. Then you can put these back in order later.”

    Customer: *getting angry* “That is RIDICULOUS! How am I supposed to know which check to fill out?!”

    Me: “It’s the one you’ve already started filling out?”

    Customer: *muttering* “This is ridiculous. You people are SO unhelpful. I don’t even know why I shop here!”

    Head Cashier: *whispers to me* “Just do it, or we’ll never get out of here.”

    Me: “All right, sir, let’s get these back in order.”

    (Customer insists he put them back in order, very very slowly, while I hold the case. Nothing else will do. 20 minutes later, the check is finally filled out and we can continue with the transaction.)

    Me: “And can I see your driver’s license?”

    Customer: “My WHAT?!”

    Me: “Driver’s license, passport, or other state ID?”

    Customer: *getting hysterical* “What?! WHY?!”

    Head Cashier: *jumping in* “Sir, you’ve shopped here for years. You always pay by check. You KNOW you have to show us your license.”

    Customer: “THAT’S IT! I’m getting the manager!”

    (The customer storms off, and comes back with the manager.)

    Manager: “So, what seems to be the problem?”

    Me: “He’s paying by check.”

    Manager: “Okay, can I see your license, sir?”

    Customer: “Sure, here you go!”

    (Customer handed over his license, the manager finished the transaction in about 30 seconds, and we ushered the man out and closed the store.)

    Doubly Appreciative

    | Vancouver, BC, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers

    (I’ve finished serving a customer at my till. She hasn’t left yet, and is thoroughly reading her receipt.)

    Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, is there a problem?”

    Customer: “Actually, yes, there is. You charged me double on one item.”

    (I look at her receipt, and she’s right; I did charge her twice for the same item. This is a rather bad mistake, so I’m expecting the worst.)

    Me: “I’m terribly sorry, ma’am. I’ll fix this right away.”

    Customer: “If I just grab another one of these items, we’d be good, right?”

    Me: “Well, yes, that would be one way to go about solving this problem, but this is my mistake. I am very sorry for what I did, and I can give you your money back, if that’s what you prefer.”

    Customer: “It’s okay; I could use another one of these, anyway.”

    (Ma’am, if you’re reading this, I would like to thank you again for your kindness. It really meant a lot to me. And I’ll do my best to avoid repeating that mistake!)

    Dressing Up The Situation More Than Required

    | London, England, UK | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Money

    (I work in a small corner shop. It’s around two pm and the store is pretty dead. A lady walks in and purchases a large quantity of alcohol, paying in cash. She spots the engagement ring on my finger as I hand her the change.)

    Customer: “Aww, are you getting married?”

    Me: “Yeah, I’ve been engaged for almost two months now.”

    Customer: “That’s nice. I’ve been married for just under thirty years now.”

    (She reaches back into her purse and pulls out a twenty pound note.)

    Customer: “You seem like such a sweet girl. Here, take this. Put it towards your husband’s suit or something.”

    (I don’t like taking other people’s money, especially from strangers, so she puts it on the counter.)

    Me: “Well, um, actually my, uh, girlfriend and I are both gonna be wearing dresses but thanks.”

    (I don’t tend to discuss my personal life with customers much, and this one showed me why. Nodding for the briefest of moments before she realised what I’d said, her eyes widened in shock and she turned around and sprinted out of the store faster than I would have believed for someone of her age, leaving behind the £20 as well as all her purchases. We kept them behind the counter for a week before my boss decided to donate them to me and my now wife for our wedding. It’s been a month now since the wedding, but no-one since has asked about it.)

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