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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!

    Some Requests Just Take The Cake

    | Champaign, IL, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month

    (I take a request on a phone call.)

    Me: “We can only make small round, large round, and small rectangle cakes, sir. We cannot make large rectangles.”

    Caller: “Okay, so is it possible for me to have a cake made by Sunday? Mother’s day?”

    Me: “We can have any cake ready for you by Mother’s day. Yes, sir!”

    Caller: “Any cake? I thought you just said that you can’t make large rectangles cakes.”

    Me: “We can’t, like I just said, sir.”

    Customer: “So, let me get this straight. You can make ANY cake except the large rectangle?”

    Me: *face-palm*

    Left Holding The Bag

    | QLD, Australia | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Theme Of The Month

    (Many of our customers bring their own bags for their purchases, so we always ask if they need a bag before we start putting their purchases into one. A customer walks up to the register.)

    Customer: “Just these today, please.”

    Me: “Sure. This is a popular range! I love it, too. Do you need a bag for these?”

    Customer: *sounding annoyed* “No, I said just these! I don’t want anything else!”

    Me: “Oh, sorry, I wasn’t trying to sell you anything. I meant something to carry them in: a free bag, or did you bring your own?”

    Customer: *sighing and rolling her eyes* “I said nothing else! Just these.”

    Me: “Okay, just checking. I thought you’d misheard me. It’s fantastic so many people these days are bringing their own to help save the environment.”

    Customer: “Yes…”

    Me: “There’s all sorts of ones that fold up so small now; it’s best to ask as they’re often hidden away. My friend has one that folds up into a strawberry key-ring.”

    Customer: “Okay…”

    (I finish scanning the items and process the payment. The customer stares blankly at me.)

    Me: “Um, you did say you wanted to put them in your bag?”

    Customer: “I don’t have a bag. Don’t you have one?”

    Me: “Sure. Sorry, I thought you said you had one. That’s what I was asking you about when you came up to the register.”

    Customer: “Oh, sorry, I wasn’t listening. I suppose you get that a lot…”

    Common Sense Isn’t In The Cards

    | USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (I work at a grocery store that has a club card for ‘extra’ savings. Two customers come up with a six-case of wine. I ring them up.)

    Me: “Ma’am, do you have a club card?”

    Customer #1: “What is this?! You are charging me too much! Fix it!”

    Me: “If you just swipe your club card, the price will drop. Do you have one?”

    Customer #1: “You are overcharging me! Give me my money!”

    Me: *calmly* “Do you have a club card?”

    Customer #1: “I said give me the correct price NOW!”

    Me: “Ma’am, you need to put in your club card number for the discount. Do you have—”

    Customer #2: “Listen, girl, just give us the correct price!” *begins screaming in unison with friend*

    Me: *being interrupted every other word* “I cannot give it to you without a club card. Would you like to sign up for one?”

    (Eventually, I beckon my manager over and end up using one of our spare cards to show them the discount. He smoothes things over, but not before one of them tells him that I should be more polite. He pulls me aside to ask what happened.)

    Me: “They wouldn’t let me even explain that they needed a club card for their discount.”

    Boss: “Well, next time, just swipe it. And remember, just because you and I have common sense doesn’t mean they do.”

    Very Slow To Register

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

    (I’m heading to the only open checkout lane of a supermarket. A man in his mid-thirties, visibly in a rush and carrying only a single carton of milk, gets there only a moment after a little old lady carrying a basket with only two items in it.)

    Old Lady: “Don’t worry, young man. I’ll be done very quickly.”

    Man: *fidgeting* “No problem. Take your time.”

    (The cashier rings up both items. The old lady whips out a coupon.)

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, but this coupon is for a different brand of this item.”

    Lady: “Oh, dear. Can you send somebody to switch it out for me?”

    (It’s a few minutes before a stock-boy shows up with the correct brand. The man is getting more and more antsy and frustrated as he watches the cashier void the previous item and ring up the new one.)

    Cashier: “That’ll be [new total].”

    Old Lady: “Oh, dear. I almost forgot. I have another coupon here.”

    (It’s a manufacturer’s coupon. It doesn’t go through and takes a manager to come and help the cashier ring it in. By now the man’s face is turning red and he’s practically gnawing on his wallet out of frustration from waiting.)

    Cashier: “I’m so sorry, sir. We’re almost done.”

    Man: “Yep, no problem.”

    Cashier: *to old lady* “Okay, the total is [newest total].”

    Old Lady: *looking through her purse* “Oh, dear…” (A moment later she produces a checkbook.)

    Old Lady: “Who do I make it out to?”

    Man: *screaming* “God d*** it!”

    (With that, he hurls the carton of milk at a wall, where it explodes and sends milk cascading all over the wall and the front of the store.  The man storms out leaving a stream of profanity in his wake. We all watch this in stunned silence. A few moments later the old lady pulls her hand out of her pocket.)

    Old Lady: “Oh, never mind. Here’s a $5 bill. Had it all along! Silly me…”

    Not Central To Their Understanding

    | CO, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Geography

    (I am from Central America but have lived in Colorado all my life. People usually ask what part of Mexico I’m from and I just have to give them a smile and let them know I am in fact not from Mexico but a small Central American country. I am helping a customer check out.)

    Customer: “Wow you have no accent even though you’re Mexican!”

    Me: “I’ve lived in Colorado all my life but I’m actually from a small Central American country.”

    Customer: “Oh! Maria, my maid, is from Central America. Do you know Maria!?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, there are many Maria’s from Central America. Where is she from?”

    Customer: “Maria! You must know Maria!! My maid! MARIA!”

    Me: “Well, I’m from…”

    Customer: “Nooo. Maria! Maria. Maria! From Central America! You KNOW her! Mmaarriiiaa!”

    (This went on for a few minutes. Obviously we never figured out who she was talking about even though she kept saying the name Maria longer and louder.)

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