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  • August Theme Of The Month: Best. Customer. Ever!

    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!

    An Automatic Autistic Response

    | CA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Health & Body

    (I work at a retail store. We are having a donation opportunity for the month of May where customers can donate money toward autism research. We are supposed to ask every customer if they would like to donate. I finish ringing this customers items up.)

    Me: “And would you like to put a dollar towards autism research?”

    Customer: “You know, kids would stop getting autism if they stopped all that vaccinating.”

    Me: “…have a nice day, sir.”

    The Rules Are Carved In Stone

    | KY, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Money

    (I ring up a lady who got only a carving pumpkin, which are quite large, and she slides her card through the machine. Note: I’m 16 and relatively new to my job.)

    Me: “That’s weird; it didn’t charge your card.”

    Customer: “What do you mean?”

    Me: “It charged $0.00 to your card. Could you slide it again for me?”

    Customer: “No, it’ll charge me twice.”

    Me: “Well, it charged $0.00 the first time, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

    Customer: “Fine.”

    (She slides her card again. This time I realize she’s using food stamps.)

    Me: “Oh, ma’am, it’s not food stamp eligible.”

    Customer: “Yes, it is.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but it’s not.”

    Customer: “Pumpkins are technically food, so yes, it is.”

    Me: “The computer doesn’t think it is.”

    Customer: “Look, kid, have they not taught you in school yet that you can pay for food with food stamps?”

    Me: “Ma’am, these are ‘carving’ pumpkins.”

    Customer: “Okay, now you’re p***ing me off. Pumpkins are food. Now, ring it up right or I’m going to talk to your manager.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I understand that pumpkins are food, but we sell these pumpkins specifically for carving, not for eating.”

    Customer: “Pumpkins. Are. Food.”

    Me: “Do you intend to eat it?”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: “Are you going to eat this pumpkin, ma’am?”

    Customer: “…no, but that shouldn’t matter.”

    Me: “Ma’am, food stamps are for people who can’t afford to buy food themselves. If you can afford to use them to buy decorations, then maybe you shouldn’t be using them.”

    Customer: *she glares at me for a second, then hands me a five dollar bill* “Unbelievable.”

    (She then stormed out.)

    Fickle Over A Nickel

    | ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money, Politics

    (I have just completed a transaction with an otherwise calm customer. My city is right across the border from a major American city, and this customer has paid with American currency. Here, we have phased out the penny, and transactions either round up or down to the next .05 or .10.)

    Me: “That will be $6.30, please.”

    Customer: “But the screen says $6.27!”

    Me: “Yes, but we do rounding here. 27 cents rounds up to 30.”

    Customer: “Well that’s just ridiculous! I demand to see your manager! You’re trying to short change me! I know the tricks.”

    Me: “Sir, it’s just three cents—”

    Customer: “GET ME YOUR MANAGER!”

    (My manager, having heard all this, steps in.)

    Manager: “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to calm down. My worker here is not trying to short change you, nor is she lying to you.”

    Customer: “I want a refund!”

    Me: “You didn’t even pay yet.”

    (I glance at the money still in this hand.)

    Customer: *flustered* “Well, good! I didn’t want you taking my money anyways!”

    (He left in a huff, muttering about ‘foreign commies out to get his money.’)

    Do You Have Any ID-ea Who I Am?

    | Baltimore, MD, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid

    (A middle-aged customer approaches the counter with her male companion.)

    Me: “Hello, ma’am. Did you find everything you needed?”

    Customer: “Mhm.” *texting*

    (I scan her items and take her card. I notice the back of the card isn’t signed.)

    Me: “Ma’am, can I see your ID?”

    Customer: “Hmm? I don’t have it on me. It’s in my car.”

    Me: “Well, I need to see ID before I can complete this transaction.”

    Customer: “Well… I don’t HAVE anything.”

    Me: “Then I can complete this transaction.” *hands back her card*

    Customer: “Wait! I still want this stuff!”

    Me: “Then maybe you can go to your car and get your ID?”

    (She just stares at me for a second.)

    Customer: “I don’t think I brought it.”

    Me: “Okay… Do you have something that has your signature on it so I can compare it to the one on the screen?”

    Customer: *thinks for a moment* “I could just sign my name on my card.”

    Me: “No, something like a library card that already has a signature on it. It’s required I check this for all customers’ security.”

    Customer: *looks at her companion and shrugs* “I don’t know. I’m me.”

    Me: “Yes, but I need to make sure that your identity matches the card.”

    (She starts looking distressed.)

    Customer: “Babe, tell her my name.”

    Man: “Yeah, that’s not what she means.”

    Me: “Here’s what I can do for you: I can go ahead and put these things on hold, put your name on it, and when you get back with your ID, you can let either me or whoever is at the cashier know you have items on hold.”

    Customer: “But I thought you said you had to verify my identity!”

    Me: “Yes, but I don’t need that to put things on hold. This doesn’t require a credit card.”

    Customer: “You could just write my name down and use that for my ID!”

    (The man actually sighs and holds his head in his hand.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, but writing your name down isn’t going to cut it for ID.”

    Customer: “BUT I’M ME! I don’t know what else I can do to tell you that!”

    Me: “You can get your ID and show me that.”

    (This continues for several minutes. She threatens to go to another cashier. There isn’t one. I explain that every cashier checks ID every single time, even for small purchases and customers we personally know.)

    Me: *frustrated* “The ONLY forms of payment that don’t require an ID are cash and gift cards.”

    Customer: “But I don’t HAVE any cash!”

    Me: “Then you need your ID. I can’t help you until you either have cash or have your ID.”

    Customer: “Oh, but this card was a gift! *holding up her credit card* Soooo, I don’t NEED an ID!”

    Me: “No, THIS is a gift card.” *points to gift card display* “You have a credit card. Like I have been saying, I can’t help you until you get cash or have your ID.

    Man: Let’s just go get it from the car.”

    (The two of them bicker a little and finally leave. Another customer comes up, having seen the exchange.)

    Other Customer: “What a ding-dong! She should just pay with a check. Everyone knows you don’t need ID for those!”

    Me: *sigh* “Yes, you do…”

    That Customer Is Trumped By THAT Customer

    | USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

    (In passing, I have noticed a sale on NERF products in my local store. I and some friends have been planning a NERF based event so I begin to empty the aisle. This takes place at checkout.)

    Me: “Uh, ma’am? Shouldn’t these be ‘buy one get one free’?”

    Cashier: “No, sir, I believe the sale is ‘buy two get one free.’”

    Me: “Hmm… I think I’ll go look again to be sure. Do you mind holding my purchase for me?”

    Cashier: “Not at all, sir.”

    (I walk back over and sure enough the cashier knew what she was talking about. I walk back dejected at being THAT customer and as I return to line…)

    Cashier: “Sir, I can’t accept this. This is for [Unrelated Store].”

    Other Customer: “Oh… well, how about this?” *hands her a different card with a movie theater chain’s logo clearly on the front*

    Cashier: “No, I can’t take that either.”

    (This process repeats two or three more times before the gentleman pays and leaves.)

    Me: *as I walk up to the cashier again* “You know, I was just depressed about being THAT customer today. Now? I don’t feel quite so bad.”

    Cashier: “At least you can tell what store you’re in.”

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